Is it possible to get burned out on, or overwhelmed by, simple human interaction? My recent nightlife apathy stems from equal parts unwillingness and utter lack of motivation to take on the potential hours-long task of getting from Point A (leggings and hot rollers) to Point B (prettified and in a reasonable parking space). As the great Peter Gibbons said, “It’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I just don’t care.” But I want to.
Living so close to the city’s most vibrant neighborhoods places me no more than 10 minutes away from countless inspired restaurants, populated bars, music venues, galleries, theaters and so on. And when I do manage to go out and explore these, I usually have a great time. It just requires a certain “getting over the hump,” and lately that hump has grown into a mountain. I wouldn’t say I have social anxiety, more than any other self-diagnosed peers of this neuroses-afflicted generation; sometimes I just don’t want to venture into the unknown or, more often, into what I think I know about a certain “scene.”
A much-needed life break recently presented itself in the form of a bachelorette party for my cousin’s fiancée.
One weekend in Nashville with a few family members, but mostly ladies I didn’t know, was just what the doctor ordered. While the weekend was full of genuinely fun times I would not have given a chance back at home, the best example was seeing the male stripper blockbuster, Magic Mike.
During this trip I partook in many activities outside my typical comfort zone, things I usually might even be embarrassed by. I drank a Bloody Mary midday at a Dave & Buster’s in a mall. I danced onstage at a honky tonk with a cover band performing “Sweet Caroline.” I even high-fived other bachelorette party crews decked out in plastic novelty penises (and I detest plastic novelty penises).
Somewhere between the day-drinking and, well, night-drinking was movie time. There we were: a group of women, complete with a bride-to-be, filling up a theater row on the opening night of Magic Mike — how much more stereotypical can we get here?
Despite my still-firm stance that real-life male exotic dancers are more humorous and depressing than sexy, the movie surprised me. First of all, it was actually a very decent film that also happened to feature butt cheek shots. It was entertaining, and not in a making fun kind of way. I suppose I initially didn’t expect to like it because, as a woman, I was expected to. But how ridiculous is that? Who cares if the movie is just a product marketed to women who can’t contain their love for six-pack abs? It doesn’t make me a stale, sex-starved housewife (although I did audibly “Woo!” once during the movie) — and even they deserve to have fun, too. In addition to mastering the body roll, I realized the unidentifiable thing making me drawing me away from “going out” wasn’t really other people, but what I think other people are thinking about. It’s exhausting and pointless.
We, as humans, like to group ourselves and others into convenient categories. And while sometimes these labels, stereotypes, might be accurate, abiding by stupid laws we enforce on ourselves is harmfully limiting. The only thing worse than acting a certain way to fit into conventions is not doing something you want to do purely because it seems too cliché.
And while many might not have a similar revelation whilst watching Joe Manganiello’s private parts take over on the big screen, I encourage you to find your own proverbial Magic Mike: your own gold-thonged, Ginuwine-blaring, pelvic-thrusting reason to stop worrying and enjoy what you want.
CONTACT JAC KERN: firstname.lastname@example.org or @jkern on Twitter