Maybe it’s the physical and literal pedestal a DJ occupies. Maybe it’s the throng of girls staring up at him expectantly, poised occasionally against a makeshift barricade if the event warrants such precautions, arms all akimbo, hair in a post-coital swirl and skin glowing with the color given by one too many raspberry lemon drops. The DJ wears an expression that says “I hate you” and “community college.” Sometimes, especially if they’re European, he’s bouncing up and down with a feverish, hypnotic expression that means he’s lost in some self-contained vortex. It’s a duplicitous look typically found on strippers and other pay-for-play entertainers, an outward gaze that advertises seduction but inwardly is mulling over W-2 forms, poor career choices, the last episode of Glee.
For the scattered and horny straight male contingent of the club, guys who go back to work in the morning as junior media planners at trendy advertising agencies or online community managers, the entire charade is a little confusing. “What is that guy doing up there anyway? Where are the records, I thought DJs had records. Is this Jock Jams Volume Two? How come he’s allowed to smoke up there? He’s really not sweating in that leather jacket? Larry David was wrong – there are three kinds of people who wear sunglasses indoors: blind people, assholes AND disc jockeys. Why does he get free drinks, waiters don’t get free drinks, isn’t this guy just a glorified member of the wait staff? I thought it was his job to get me laid, not the other way around. How the fuck do I dance to dubstep?”
The DJ is eating it up. He’s pushing buttons, ordering drinks, getting phone numbers and rearranging images of his cat Frankie Knucklolz on his desktop while we silently add up the damage that awaits us when we close out our tab. We wonder how much longer we can extend the same two dance moves before anyone finds out we’re doing a thinly veiled 21st century rendering of a one-man waltz to ‘music’ that sounds more like a dial-up modem than a cutting-edge club soundtrack. We’ve sent three or four panicked text messages to our friend, but he never sees them because a pleasantly chubby Asian girl has taken a liking to him, and is plying him with drinks and strange compliments about his hair.
At some point we gaze into our girlfriend’s eyes. It was our idea to come here and she protested with ingenuity, promising to split a pint of our favorite but most disgusting flavor of Ben & Jerry’s and watch the new Katherine Heigl movie. We have grown to love Katherine Heigl movies. Our single friends will scowl with disdain when we reveal that we prefer 27 Dresses to anything Christopher Nolan has ever done. At first this was hyperbole, but then we saw Inception. Our girlfriend is wearing a most dramatic black dress that’s cut well above the knee and glistens even in the velvet glow of the club. She looks so hot. She’s dancing to music she hates, but you’d never know it. Someone tells her she looks like Mila Kunis. You look like a gutless teacher’s assistant on his night out. Holy shit, you are a gutless teacher’s assistant on his night out. How did you convince this beautiful thing to tolerate you for over three years? For the hour you guys spend together in the middle of a sweaty, hormonal dance floor, you can pretend you’ve just met, that you don’t even know each other’s names, that you’re taking her home tonight.
And when you move your two-year old son’s carseat to the trunk, and sit next to each other, roll down the windows and make out languorously and unhurried, you think back to the DJ, who’s unpacking his stuff, who’s going back to the hotel to sniff cocaine off a Hello Kitty vibrator with four gender ambiguous twenty-somethings, you’ll actually be grateful because you know in your heart of hearts, there’s no wife amongst the trollops.