“Get yo bitch ass to Beauty Bar.”
That was the text message that I received from my friend and coworker Alex on Sunday night at 10:07 p.m. It’s not like I was really doing anything. I had just finished up an entire bottle of wine and was getting ready to go to bed, and the Chiefs were about to lose. Never having heard of Beauty Bar before, I texted her back.
“What’s at Beauty Bar?”
“Emo vs. Pop Punk night. $3 PBR. Free pizza. Come. Now.”
I wish I could tell you I didn’t go. I wish I could say that I ignored the text and went to bed drunk on Malbec. I wish I could say that I had the self control to hang my hat and recognize that it was a Sunday, and that I had work the next day. But I can’t.
You see, Alex and I are pretty close work friends. We’re not in the same department, but were the closest in age so we have a lot in common. I’ve met her boyfriend, she’s met a couple of my people-I’ve-taken-on-more-than-one-Bumble-date. So when she told me that it was Emo vs. Pop Punk night, I knew that this was something I didn’t want to miss. Within 5 minutes, I had changed out of my joggers and into some jeans, threw on a beanie, and ordered an Uber.
Right off the bat, I noticed that roughly 80% of the men in the establishment had beards, beanies, and flannels. The women were all wearing mostly black with low top Converse. There were more tattoos than I had ever seen. An angry and sexually frustrated teenager shout-singing about his friends blared over the PA system. I ordered a PBR and left my tab open, then went to meet up with Alex and her boyfriend Jack.
“Okay,” I shouted them as I walked up, “Fair warning, I drank an entire bottle of wine before I came here, so I might lose control very quickly.”
“That’s awesome! We pregamed too!” Alex shouted back.
“Oh…Oh I didn’t pregame. That’s what I was going to do no matter what.”
“That’s really sad, Charlie,” Jack yelled to me.
Just as we caught up a little bit, “MakeDamnSure” by Taking Back Sunday started playing. “Okay,” I thought to myself. “I remember this song, I can get into this.” Next on the list was “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World. Then, “First Date” by Blink 182. Then, as I was on my way to get another beer, “American Idiot” by Green Day played. Jack met me at the bar.
“Dude, this is kind of awesome,” I told him.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, I used to love this kind of music. This was what I would listen to when my parents told me I couldn’t wear clothes from Hot Topic at age 14. In retrospect, I trust and respect their judgment on that. But still. I just didn’t know people still rock out to this.”
It was at that point when “Alive With The Glory Of Love” by Say Anything came on and Jack and I took shots of well whiskey. Then, something amazing started to happen. Jack, Alex, and I all made our way over to the dance floor—which, frankly, was more of a mosh pit—and suddenly, we knew all the words to all the songs that they were playing. I mean all of them. New Found Glory deep cuts. Obscure bands from the early 2000s that only had one or two hits. An entire verse from “Rollin’” by Limp Bizkit. Everything.
People were flocking to us. Grown ass adults wearing skinny jeans and flannel wrapping arms around shoulders while leaning back and shouting the chorus to “Ocean Avenue.” We were jumping, head banging, fist pumping lives of the party. I can say with 100% honesty that it might have been the best night I’ve had in the last few months.
And that brings us to Monday morning. My alarm went off at 7:30 a.m. I felt like I had fallen down the stairs and also gotten punched in the face the night before. I had no memory of how I had gotten home or why I was naked or why I had a text from Alex saying that, “Our girl Anna wants you to meet her at Nick’s in Wicker Park sometime.” Needless to say, I was skipping my workout that morning. I hobbled to my shower and tried to pull myself together.
There are few things that I’m capable of doing when I’m hungover. My job is not one of them. Monday was a day where I booked a conference room for myself the whole day so that I could sit in absolute silence, contemplate my actions, and try to feel remorseful about it. But I couldn’t. For some reason or another, I didn’t feel bad about the night. I got to be a true emo kid for the first time in my life. I was surrounded by people who weren’t judging me, people who were actively requesting songs by All Time Low and Four Year Strong. Was it weird? Yeah. Holy shit, yeah. In my life, I’ve never seen so many people drunk as hell and screaming about hating their lives with smiles on their faces.
So I sat there, turned on “Deja Entendu” by Brand New, and stared at a blank Google Sheet for the next few hours. It was pure bliss..
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