Prague Day 2 starts at a ripe 9pm, when I got a text from my good friend from LA, Cassy, with whom I had gone out the night before.
Cassy is really out here in Prague, getting mani-pedis – not speaking the language, but making it work for herself. Later she told me, it lasted an unnecessary three hours.
We meet at M1 Lounge – both excited and curious to see what hip-hop in Prague means. Cassie voted Jason Derulo while I figured it’d be more T-Pain. I was also genuinely curious to see what this bar would be like since it was the only hip-hop bar that my native-t0-Prague barber from earlier in the day knew of in Prague.
M1 Lounge is the kind of club where guys pay Kč 200 to get in and girls Kč 100. In other words, $9 for guys and $4 for girls. I thought this kind of club was phased out when gender equality came to the forefront. Needless to say, we walked in to find a Bachelorette crew in tight red dresses that we deemed “the Russian hotties.” They were blonde and beautiful, and everyone knew it – especially them as they danced on the top level near the DJ, while their other friends took photos. I was happy for them; I wanted them to have their moment. I wondered what made them chose Prague as their destination.
Cassie won the M1 challenge though. Swa-la-la-la by Jason Derulo came on first, and just when I gave in and started feeling the vodka tonic hit my bloodstream, they cut out Nick Minaj’s verse. Wrong move Prague, wrong move. After Walk It Out, Stanky Leg, and All I Do Is Win, Bottoms Up came on, and when they cut Nicki’s verse a-gain, I knew it was time to go. Time to go across the street to James Dean Bar. Typically, I’m skeptical about any place in a non-English speaking country that 1) has an English name, and 2) has American memorabilia plastered on the exterior windows, but when in Prague, do as the rowdy locals do, and end up near the live saxophonist in James Dean Bar.
Downstairs is where you’ll find the dancing, mainly the dancing to songs like Celebration or the YMCA, intermixed with beats you’d hear at an underground rave. My favorite part: the blond eastern European vogueing in the cage. That’s what I want Prague; I can hear the YMCA at my middle school pep rally. For 1AM in Prague, the turn-up level was not the turn-up level I was expecting. It was time for The Termix Turn-up Part Two.
I think some people have this idea that going to the club is something they “are too old for” or “are not into” but I think, as with anything, it’s a one-sided view with not much wiggle room. For me, going to the club is more than just getting drunk or dancing with whoever; it’s also where I have the most bizarre realizations. Take, for example, when It’s Raining Men came on. If you get close enough to anyone in a club in a non-English speaking country, you’ll hear that they’re just mumbling “Zz rena meh!” and not “It’s raining men!” They’re only mimicking the sounds they hear and the meaning, albeit It’s Raining Men, is completely lost. But when Beyonce’s emotional pop ballad comes on, and sings “Running, running, running, running, running, running, running, not running from my self no more.” that is extremely powerful… especially when you’re tipsy. Like, just picture me in the club totally fine, bopping around, and then getting super emotional, thinking I’m not running from myself no more. Were my fellow Czechies connecting to the lyrics like I was? Probably not (and probably for the best). Could my fellow Czechies anticipate the beat and “perform” to the lyrics, just as English speakers can? It’s something we as English speakers have the privilege of.
The same can be said when you walk into a bookstore in a non-English speaking country. Again, why I was thinking of this, while two-stepping on the dancefloor – I’ll never know. These are bookstores that have no business selling English books – they speak Italian in Italy, Dutch in the Netherlands, and Czech in Czech Republic. The fact that I’m still able to find such a specific book, like to learn German for example, with explanations in English is 100% a privilege I always took for granted. Imagine you’re born in a country like Czech Republic and go to Spain or Thailand. There are no books in that bookstore for your language, let alone a book so specific as a German Language Learning Guide for Czech Speakers.
And it didn’t just stop there. Maybe it was because I was slurring my words that I ended up becoming more sensitive to the power of language. I then thought about how we as English speakers are able to go to the movies literally anywhere in the world. The movies are almost always in English and subtitled in the local language.
Near the end of my philosophical realizations mid-dancefloor, I noticed a guy who looks deep into my eyes and yells “DAMON!?” His name was Ron, and he was from New York, traveling for a bit in Prague, and studying in Paris. He said he found our channel and said we were so stupid, and that’s why he loved it. When I’m abroad I miss this kind of humor, that would be seen as downright mean in other cultures. In New York, you could laugh with your best friend and lovingly say “I hate you so much.” Ron, I hate you!
Ron said he had to leave the other club because they played Single Ladies four times. He gave me a hug goodbye, and on his way out, Single Ladies came on. I laughed to myself.
It was 4am, and I was at Termix, so I did what you do at 4AM at Termix, and danced with one guy for an hour, whose name I still don’t even know because when he wrote it in my Notes, he wrote it in the Cyrllic alphabet. Vasil, I think it was.
I left the club a bit later, by myself, and lied in the same park I had spent the night before with the guy who ghosted me.
My night cost a max of $20, and I was out there truly feeling free.
Your life is happening right now y’all. Don’t forget to enjoy it.