D.C. Nights

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Not everyone had as wholesome Thanksgiving experience as our freshman columnist. Bwog nightlife correspondent Will Snider narrates the amalgamated stories of his visits home.

mapPicture it.  You’re back home on break and enjoying some leftover turkey when the telephone on the kitchen counter rings.  Your mother picks it up and hands it to you, a forgotten landline with a nearly forgotten voice on the other end: it’s Andy speaking in rapid fire, “Dude, my dad’s out of the country for the weekend.  Let’s get some beer and call some people.  I have some great weed.  It’s so good.  It’ll be so great.  We’re home.”   

You can’t believe it.  You’re sixteen years old again and back in high school.  You know what this night will be about: driving up and down Wisconsin Avenue, stopping at several hookah bars and an all-night McDonalds searching for friends.  And you’ll find them, but you might regret having made the effort.  Endless nights of Marlborough Reds, Natty Lite, and poorly rolled joints would make anyone miss 1020.   

Nightlife in Washington, D.C. is awful.  It’s depressingly awful.  For adults it’s all about the after work happy hour.  For the underage it’s the quest for an open house, which isn’t hard to find when most of your friends’ parents work for the IMF, so usually you’re set.  

This particular party boasts a desperate mix of high school kids and young college students, all pretending to not care about how warm the beer is.  You spot a few girls you used to like, and after the freshman fifteen you might actually have a chance.  But you’ve got a good buzz by now, and it doesn’t seem worth the effort.  They might start to ask you about college and life and how great things used to be.  Fuck that.     

Suddenly out of nowhere Valentino is on top of you, speaking in his incomprehensible, non-specific, and probably fake accent.  He is wearing sunglasses and a scarf and looks a bit too much like Audrey Hepburn for his own good.  

“Hello.  Hello.  Hello.  So good to see you.” 

He clearly doesn’t remember your name.   

“You are looking so good.” 

He used to get a lot of girls in high school by claiming to be the son of the Italian ambassador.  In reality his father is the head driver at the Romanian Embassy, and he’s on full scholarship to some fancy D.C. prep school.  He reeks of cigarettes and bad cologne.   

You politely shove him away and go for another warm beer.   

In the corner of the room is an old friend, a guy you don’t talk to very often anymore.  You approach him and offer a cigarette.  You sit outside and smoke and listen to him talk for the first time in a long time.    

“I’m done with ROTC, so what’s the fucking point?  What if I didn’t go back?  I have a plane flight tomorrow.  What if I purposely missed it?  No one would care.  No one at that school would bat an eye.” 

You tune out his complaints and start to think about Benny, a friend who recently dropped out of Vanderbilt to support his coke habit.  At least he actually did something about his predicament.  Construction pays well when you remember to show up for work.  

Once your buzz subsides you drive home along the empty Beltway.  At home you devour two slices of pumpkin pie, read a few pages of Franny and Zooey to make yourself feel intelligent again, and fall quickly asleep.  You can’t wait to return to the redeeming glamour of New York City, where even Natty Lite carries a hint of cool. 

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  1. DHI  

    Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you.

    I don't do any of that shit that you say "you" for, and I very much enjoyed my break in DC and seeing my friends and my hometown, as did other Columbia students also from DC.

    You're a fucking traitor and Marion Barry should beat the shit out of you for badmouthing your city on the basis of the failings of you and your friends, except that you are apparently a resident of Hyattseville.

    Maybe you appreciate your city more than this would lead one to believe. Maybe not. Maybe fuck yourself.

  2. Anonymous  


    This was more or less EXACTLY what break was like for me, save the names of the characters involved.


  3. mat

    He's right about DC nightlife. Although my (fancy prep) school has an informal get-together the Friday after Thanksgiving at The Big Hunt; at midnight, it was 100% kids from my school.

    And driving on the empty Beltway at night actually is kind of amazing.

  4. malcolm x  

    hated black people??

  5. The Crusader  

    You can make all the excuses you want, but the truth is that if you have an empty house and can't throw a decent party you have only yourself to blame. Don't tell me you can get into 1020 here but you can't buy decent booze at home. And don't tell me you don't know anyone who can roll a decent joint (or who owns a big ol' bowl) either.

    This is the point: everybody feels sort of weird about going home for break, regardless of where they're from or where they go to school. People who go to school in Bumfuck, Ohio feel weird about it. People change, they lose touch, things are sort of awkward. It's not that New York has magical powers of sophistication. Yeah, everything is open later here. But that doesn't make this city the end-all and be-all of human existence, reading Franny and Zooey doesn't make you intelligent, and using the second person doesn't make your experiences universal. If you don't like your friends from high school, I feel sorry for you, but leave DC out of it.

  6. Hmmm  

    Malcolm X hated everybody. But that's beside the point. DC's nightlife is not bad! It's obvious that you don't know where to go or require some sort of crazy club feel to make yourself feel/important/chic/blah blah blah. Congratulations that you make it to AmCaf and dance like a god damn fool part of the time. I'll take DC's plethora of pubs and fun hangouts (I'm not a dance club kind of guy)

  7. DC lover  

    I agree with other people that D.C.'s nightlife isn't that bad. For one thing, Georgetown is amazing.

  8. the recurring  

    problem here is "prep school." all praises for dcps.

  9. wirc  

    DC nightlife is not as good as New York's but comparing these is just silly. Adams Morgan / U Street is actually legitimate, and has its own legendary bars and food dives. Remember, you could always be in Ponca City, Oklahoma!

    And the parties thrown at my house were never shitty like this.

  10. friend of dc  

    alright, this has really saddend me. if you can't have fun in dc, your in some serious trouble, friends. even for those of you who want to get out of the old high school routine of chillin in nice houses with lots of space and cheap drinks, there are, as many people have testified, some great "posch" night spots in dc, it just takes effort to look them up and get on the train from hyattsville to go. props to big hunt (as someone already said), cafe citron, and the dupont scene, if you're looking for a a going out sort of night in dc.

  11. The Dink  

    Bwog, for god's sake stop these stupid posts about the pathetic breaks of people who don't know how to have fun. NO ONE CARES.

  12. anon  

    What I can't figure out is why people claim breaks are so awful. Just admit that there are some people you lost touch with, some people you intentionally broke contact with, and a significantly smaller portion of friends you still enjoy seeing. That'll end some awkwardness real fast, as soon as you stop trying to socialize with people that you probably never cared much about in the first place.

    Also, call me old fashioned, but shouldn't family be a big part of the holidays? Or am I the only person that genuinely enjoys being able to catch up with my parents? I suppose Will would blow some Marlboro smoke in my direction, take a swig of his natty, and tell me how awful he thinks I am.

  13. triumph  

    ...for me to poop on!

  14. dumb  

    and if you want that quasi glam eurotrash feel, there's always the platinum club

  15. columbia students  

    have so much anger. guys, not everything is a personal attack on you. good piece, btw, will

  16. Umm  

    I don't think a quarter-inch drill bit through my skull would make me miss 1020. I'd prefer the drillbit, hipster.

    Besides, like so many have said, if your friends can't throw a decent party in an open house, it's your friends (and, by extension, you) who suck, not the city. Although DC does suck, though this is only coincidence.

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