Girls' Night Out Part.1

Girls' Night Out Part.1

Amina strides out of the New York subway car and quickly begins pacing towards the nearest exit in an attempt to reach it before everyone else. Dozens of New Yorkers funnel out of various subway cars, each with the same idea. The main platform is now saturated with people. In a few moments, they all converge at the staircase where everyone is huffing and puffing as a way to express their irritation with the human traffic. Similarly, Amina decides to feign annoyance in an attempt to fit in. Moments like this make her feel like a real New Yorker, despite the fact that it had taken her an extra 15 minutes than what Google had predicted to find the location of the subway. This is why Amina is now late for a night out with her old friend Tony. Amina has not seen Tony for about 6 months. She is excited to see him, though this excitement is partially due to the fact that they are going to an Afro-beats club and Amina had been starved of Afro-beat music since moving to America. Despite her debacle with finding the subway, Amina still arrives at the club well before Tony.

Tony arrives a couple of minutes after her. He is handsome, in a refined prep-school boy kind of way. He’s wearing a large, yet well-fitting, black puffer jacket which miraculously does not look awkward on his 6’5”, skinny frame. Apart from dressing like a prep boy, Tony has remained the same since high school - at least whenever he is around Amina. He’s a chameleon of sorts, which is probably why he blends in well with New York City. They talk for a few minutes as they wait for the rest of Tony’s friends to come and join them. As usual, the conversation revolves around where their high school peers are now and what’s been happening in college over the past semester. He updates her about his endeavours trying to court a girl who has been leading him on and Amina updates him on her own love life or, rather, lack thereof. A couple of moments later, Tony’s friends arrive and the group decides to head into the bar.

The bar, like most things in New York City today, falls into the "alternative" category. It has an upstairs café and a secret door that leads them downstairs to a club. At the bottom of the staircase, they meet a slim bouncer wearing an oversized hoodie. Amina observes his pale face gleaming from underneath the shade of his hood as he reaches out his hand from under his sleeve to demand 10 dollars for the cover charge. In light of being broke college students, they debate for a couple of seconds whether a few hours of dancing to Wizkid and Davido is really worth 10 dollars - ultimately deciding that it is. The club itself is a hole in the wall, in an endearing way. It’s a surprisingly popular place - the kind that hipsters come to ironically. The walls are a festive red with tables lining the entire back wall. It is filled with people, simultaneously chatting and texting in the way only millennials can. Across the dance floor, a group of men stand around the bar drinking and laughing loudly while a sole white woman with dreadlocks and a flowing skirt is swaying to 2000s RnB and Hip Hop.

Amina and her friends decide to warm up the dance floor; seeing as no one else in the bar was interested in doing so. After a couple of songs, the DJ decides that the night is sufficiently old enough for him to start playing some Afro-beats and reggae tone. This immediately brings more energy to the group. They take the dance floor by storm. Relatively, of course, since most people are either not dancing or doing a slow side step, the groups' clumsy moves look like a Beyoncé video in comparison. With each passing song, their dance circle grows louder and louder as Amina, Tony, and their friends give reaffirming whistles and hoots of laughter every time one of them goes to the centre of the circle to “bust” a move. Being the youngest, and most rumbustious people there, the group begins to receive some glances and whispers. Amina playfully swings her hips, her hands in the air. She hasn’t felt this alive in a long time. She had long ago sworn off clubbing because she discovered that more often than not clubs were full of creepy men and terrible music that she didn’t know how to dance to. However, Afro-beats were her favourite genre so she closes her eyes and twirls across the dance floor like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music. She then does her best Rihanna impression and attempts the gwara gwara dance. She even does a painfully clumsy salsa number with Tony who, unfortunately, was not blessed with much rhythm. All this begins to attract some more glances, half of which are in disdain, the other half in awe. Nonetheless, Amina doesn’t care, in fact, she’s loving the attention because it reaffirms her youthfulness and freedom.

A few twirls later, Amina notices from the corner of her eye a more sinister glance towards her direction. Unlike the rest of the bar, two men are standing adjacent to her, leaning on a wall and staring a little too intently at her group, specifically her. One of the men is wearing a red tracksuit and the other is wearing a black tracksuit with a white stripe down the sides of his sleeves. They don’t seem physically threatening. They’re both scrawny and around 5’5”. However, Amina feels her adrenaline begin to rush as her instincts kick in. She can’t discern why exactly she feels alarmed, nonetheless she decides to go with her gut and avoid eye contact. Amina continues dancing with the group, throwing her hips around as per the instructions of the song that’s currently playing. A few beats later, black tracksuit has swiftly made his way from the wall and is now grinding on her from behind. In a frenzy, Amina quickly turns around and says no thanks as if it were muscle memory. Black tracksuit seems unbothered by her reaction, almost as if she never said anything. Hence, Amina says no thanks again, this time a little louder, and firmer. However, black tracksuit takes this as a sign to try harder and grabs Amina’s waist in an attempt to pull her closer to him. She jolts away from his grasp, finally drawing the attention of Tony who promptly steps in and tells black tracksuit no, this time he listens and walks away. Amina thanks Tony and goes back to dancing, now swinging her hips less.

Girls Night Out Part.2

Girls Night Out Part.2

Dear Stuart Part.2: Harassment in Clubs

Dear Stuart Part.2: Harassment in Clubs