Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Yes, this was actually on my bucket list

Laugh if you will, but on my list of things to do before I leave Miami was to actually hit the Miami club scene.  See, the thing is if you go visit New York or Chicago, people will tell you - oh, go visit this museum, go up this tall building and check out the view of the city, go eat this food here....  BUT.  If you visit Miami, people will tell you - oh, go to this lounge here, go get drinks at this spot here, go to this club after whatever event you're going to....  It's just what Miami is for.  Beaches and nightlife.  There is no interest in going to the "city." People don't go to the city at night or on the weekends.  After every work event here, everyone from Ryan's work hits up a club or a lounge of some sort. Drug reps and attending docs sponsor these kind of things. So really, when my friends were coming in town and I tried to ask people what to do, it was exactly what everyone told me - go get drinks here, go get drinks at this other place, blah, blah, blah. Well, I don't drink, but I do like a little excitement and I do like a little dance action.  And I did want to see what all these places in magazines where the celebrities were always spotted here were really like.

So I did.

And in my mind, it was go big, or go home.  So I thought of the one I'd seen cited as the celebrity hotspot the most - and the one where the Miami Heat went after winning the championship last year.  LIV, in the famed Fountainbleu Hotel.  For most people, this would not be a big deal, it would be their average weekend.  For two Mormon moms in a minivan who own no salacious-looking frocks, it was a little intimidating.

I started my research on getting in these places and was even more intimidated.  It could actually be possible we might not get in.  I started seeing comments of people online that hadn't gotten in.  I remembered a few years ago when I had this idea in my head before and asked a girl I knew about where to go. She told me that her friend was a club promoter and he could get us in.  Then she hesitated and asked, "Wait, are your friends hot?"  "Yes," I said, they're all good-looking. Then I realized the dilemma...wait, Mormon cute is waaaay different than Miami hot.  I don't think a bunch of girls in their cutest jeans and blazers is what they had in mind. And I had retreated the idea at the time.  Now I was facing it again, and remembered that her next statement had alluded to the fact that she'd been with groups before where not everyone got in.  That's right, it's like hot or not, in or out, right there at the club doorway.  That could be awkward. And that could be me, even wearing my Old Navy finest.

But in order to not chicken out, the plans were made that I would meet my friend inside the airport with cocktail dresses in hand.  Our best bet was to go dressy since we definitely wouldn't be going looking skanky or uber-exposed.  Her plane got in around 11pm - perfect since these places, to my surprise, don't even open until 11pm at the earliest. That's right, and they may close anywhere from 5am to noon the next day.  Wow.

So I went in to the airport ... to find my friend five months pregnant.  Surprise!  Getting back at me for all the surprises I've pulled with pregnancies, she took advantage of the length of time it's been since we've seen each other.  How exciting.  But... wait... did my already slim chance of getting into a club in Miami just vanish?  Does a 5-month pregnant lady totally kill your mojo??

Strategically placed clutch over the belly, I instructed, unsure, but clinging to hope.

And as designed, we went ahead with the plan, hit up the airport bathroom and came out looking as hot as we knew how.  And pregnantly knew how.

We made it to the parking lot outside the hotel.  We sat, trying to chicken out as we watched miniskirts and cleavage walk past our car.  But we finally told ourselves we had to make something of the fact that we were in Miami Beach in cocktail attire at 1am, and got out of the car.  Within 15 seconds we hear, "Dang, you ladies look gooood."  What?  Did that just happen? Did we seriously elicit that comment after just exiting our minivan and making sure there were no kid boogers clinging to us from the seats? That hasn't happened in like 15 years!  Woot!

Our confidence enhanced, we walked in and were greeted by two nice mid-western guys in town for a conference.  They told us of the hedge fund conference they were putting on, and pointed out the lead singer from Blues Traveler who was also there in the lobby. (They'd paid $50,000 to have them perform the first hour LIV was open to entertain their old hedge fund men who had apparently been miffed to have some "unknown" Cee-Lo Green perform the previous year.)  The guys wondered if they'd be able to get us in free with their conference, but came back dejected a few minutes later that not even they themselves could get back in anymore. :)  Once the club gets hopping in the later hours, apparently the selectiveness begins.  We saw a guy that worked there and asked him how much the cover charge was to get in to the club.  He said $40-60.  Hmm, sounded code for a floating charge depending on your level of hotness.  Well, we decided to press our luck and made our way to the roped off entrance with the large and unfriendly men in front.

No sooner had we got in line then we hear a, "Have you ladies been in yet?" from behind.  No, we reply. To which a nice Italian man responded by motioning us to follow him to the VIP line.  Yep, don't ask any questions and do what you're told.  Sweet.  In through the VIP line, free of charge. Perfect.

He took us in and ushered us over to the bar to buy us drinks.  At which point, upon inquiry Brooke requests a water.  Yep, water. In response to a head-shaking, did-I-just-hear-that-right? quizzical look, I burst out, "She's pregnant!" realizing, hey, this whole pregnant thing may actually come in handy.  He notices and excitedly acknowledges the growing belly, which hadn't been obvious before.  But then he turns to me, happy that I'll at least be able to drink with him, to which I give a somewhat sheepish grin and a "Diet Coke?"  Of course he's dying at this and trying to persuade me otherwise when he stops abruptly and says, "Are you married?"  Well, at least we've got those two factors out of the way in the first five minutes and after he'd gotten us in for free.  And at least he was impressed with me for looking decent after 4 kids.  We still had a nice chat, Brooke spoke some Italian with him, he took us out on the dance floor and then said, "Ok, I leave."  Man, could that have been better?  Got in free, didn't have to sell my soul to do it or pretend to do shots while tossing them out over my shoulder... and we didn't have to spend the whole night awkwardly hanging out with the guy. Besides I got a free Diet Coke that I'm sure was $10.  He even told us we could use his name and come in and spend money on his tab whenever we wanted.  Too bad I didn't actually catch his name....

Well, I can tell you, LIV did not disappoint.  As far as coolness, it was fantastic.  Best decor, lighting, cool effects, fun music.  Interactive, happy (ok, probably stoned) DJs and good music with a mix of house, some cool old stuff and new stuff - all remixed to be great dance music.  Confetti, glow sticks, smoke machines combined with cool lighting...you name it. Of course there was a lot of turning down offers to come drink with guys or join a table of dirty old men, but some nice Mexicans made room for us to come dance on the couches with them for a while, and after we had established ourselves firmly on the dance floor people seemed to get the idea we were just there to dance and we didn't have to keep rejecting offers nearly as much.  I'll tell you though, if you want a self-esteem boost, go hit up a club (make sure you have no males with you), and set yourself (in dim lighting) around a bunch of (drunk) men who want you to come party with them.  You'll feel like a hot commodity.


And wow, someone let the hedge fund manager out of the office. This guy was the nerdiest of nerds dancing up on the table endlessly in completely arrhythmic fashion. He actually looked ridiculously like an airport controller with the way he was dancing and those glow sticks in both hands....

He was one of the more entertaining characters of the evening, although they were many.

But really, it was so eye-opening to see that there is this whole other world that has been going on in Miami every night ... while I'm asleep!  I mean, this was a random Thursday night in February, and it was hopping out there and we didn't get in until 4am!  How do people live like this? How do people do this night after night? How do they all show up for work the next day?? How do they have such a large array of clothing that covers so little?!  I was hungover (as in just exhausted and couldn't catch up) for days.  What a strange subculture I never knew existed.

As a post-script, we actually even hit up two more clubs when our other friend got in town, both of which we got into, and neither of which we had to pay for (luckily I don't think it was a real busy time of year so there wasn't too much unnatural selection going on).  Neither of them surpassed the coolness of LIV though.  Just let me know if you see us in US Weekly anytime soon.