The delicate and subtle art of not being a whore

Long time followers of my antics know that I have done my time partying. Back in the hallowed days of ManRay, I used to hold “court” as my friends called it. I got there at doors and left at close, spending the intervening time dancing until my body vanished and there was nothing left to keep moving when I wasn’t poised and posed in my throne in the chill room. Even further back, Leigh and I used to go to concerts 5, 6, 7 days a week. The E-Bar, the Palladium, Lupo’s… we saw live music each and every night that we could. We pressed against barricades and stages, wearing bruises like tattoos. We stood on the edge of the circle, wrists crossed, waiting for the drop in the music to fairly fling us into the pit. These past few years, when I haven’t been on tour, I’ve been at endless arrays of shows, after parties, red carpets, nightclubs, and other Hollywood hoopla. I’m to the point where I don’t even want to go out anymore. I’d rather have a small dinner party with a few friends than set foot anywhere that would make me wear a wristband to be there.

But in all the time I’ve been out, I’ve never been into picking up guys while out. Don’t get me wrong – I’ll meet people and make friends. I’ve gotten to know a lot of good friends through a random conversation started at some event. I even met my longest-running boyfriend at a show. But I don’t find some rando and go home with them, no matter how cute. My parents raised me better than that, thank you. I just don’t find the thought of a one-night stand with some semi-anonymous stranger to be exciting. Some people do – more power to them. But it’s just not my thing and it never will be.

Let me take a step back and explain why all of this is on my mind. I went to PAX this weekend. Machinima covered the convention, which was completely incredible. But after the show was over, I generally had dinner with my coworkers then went back to my hotel to read. I stopped by the Banyan Branch party on Friday to meet some fellow Social Media Gaming experts and also went to our party. But I only stayed long enough to meet some of our amazing fans before calling it a night. As awesome as the PAX parties were, my whole mentality on going out has been overwhelmingly negative lately and I wasn’t looking to change that.

When Saturday rolled around, I wasn’t even planning on having dinner with my co-workers. I was supposed to catch up with my best friend, who just happened to be in town. But he was dragging his ass and taking forever after the con ended. I hadn’t eaten so I decided to say “fuck it” and just go out by myself. I was planing on grabbing some noms close to my hotel then maybe hitting Scott Pilgrim if I felt adventurous. As I was leaving, I ran into some of my co-workers who invited me to join them for dinner at Brooklyn. I despise eating alone and adore my coworkers so it was a fortuitous run-in. We had an excellent meal and some great hangs.

Afterwards, I tried to excuse myself back to the hotel as everyone else was going out to hit up the town. But my co-workers were having none of it. They talked me into going to “just one party.” We all thought it was walking distance to the hotel. I figured I could go by, hang out for a little bit, then go home and call it a night. But the party ended up a rather far cab ride away. Inwardly, I was groaning. I love my co-workers, I truly do. They are some of the best people I’ve ever worked with. I genuinely love spending time with them. But I was expecting the usual “after-con after party” where some terrible DJ pumps formless trance crap into air that reeks of spilled alcohol and unwashed nerd. I was picturing spending the rest of the night screaming to be heard over the terrible music, following around my co-workers like a gormless idiot. Since I don’t drink, I’m really particular about what sort of parties I enjoy. I don’t want to ruin anyone else’s good time so I try not to go to places I know I won’t enjoy myself.

Once we got in to the first party, I walked upstairs and found myself in the middle of a the performance by a local industrial band. No idea who they were but they actually weren’t bad. There were a bunch of local goth kids in their finest fishnet and corsets. There was even a fully stompy cyber punk guy with goggles and synthetic dread falls. Breathing deep the air that reeked not of nerd but of rock’n’roll’n’rage’n’release, I started to miss going out. I’ve ranted before about how going to shows in LA sucks because everyone stands around trying to show off how much they don’t care. But being there made me miss a good show where kids scream and dance and let out everything they have to the beat. I stood upstairs, hanging over the railing, wishing I hadn’t worn a plaid dress because I’d stick out like a sore thumb amidst the goth crowd, despite having nothing but absinthe and ichor in my veins.

However, industrial was not the scene for everyone else I was there with. So we left after a few songs to some invite-only party that ended up being across the street. I tried to protest that I didn’t have a pass so I could use the excuse to take a cab home and go to sleep. But Rebbecca pressed one into my hand before I could run away. I looked down at it and my entire night stopped. You know the edit in movies where you see the main character gasp then the camera zooms in super fast on whatever object just changed the course of the film? That happened to me in real life.

I’d know that Lasombra bitch’s face anywhere. I didn’t even get the side of the invite with the classic V:tM half face on it, which is infinitely more recognizable. No no no. It was her. Staring up at me. Smiling at me. Mocking me, almost, in her Lasombra way. I’d know her anywhere. I know where to find her even now. Look.

Written across her was the legend ‘The Succubus Club’ in a font I know as well as the picture.

“What is this?” I yelled.

“This. This flyer. What is this for?” I demanded.

“Is this where we are going?” I was shouting, waving it back in forth in the middle of the sidewalk like it was a leech I was trying to shake free.

“Do you know what this is? Do you know what this means?!?” Back and forth, back and forth went my hand while my voice climbed ever higher.

“It’s a pass for the party across the street. It means you can get in,” said Rebbecca, who didn’t seem the least bit phased by me going completely into hysterics. Neither was she phased when I jumped on her like a predatory cat that gave over-excited hugs instead of devouring prey. We all walked across to the club, with me letting out an unrelenting string of “EEEEEEEEEEEEEE” in excitement. A few more Machinima peoples joined up with us and together we went in.

Lo and behold, it was a goth club. A proper one, with chipped black paint and platforms for the go-go girls and EBM blasting until the cheap plastic-not-crystal chandeliers rattled. Here were the girls in fangs and nipple tape and nothing else. Here were the cyber punks, latex shining and mohawks kissing the low ceiling by the bar. Perched in the back were two distinguished gentlemen in neck-to-ankle Reverend’s coats with silver-tipped walking sticks, eyes aglow with disdain for the crowd of normals that just walked in.

Here was home.

The Los Angeles goth scene has long since fallen apart under the weight of OC scene kids self-pretension. I crave the by-gone days of Manray, now a hole in the ground, when I could go any night of the week and never dance to a song I didn’t love. I was overcome with a moment’s impulse to pull off my top since at least I was wearing a black bra but I know that wouldn’t cut it. I needed a corset and some rubber STAT to even think about passing muster. Plus, I wasn’t about to be that gauche in front of my coworkers.

They were a mix of mystified, amused, ill-at-ease, and totally at home. A few of them made jokes about how we were all in Inception and this was what being inside my head would be like. Most headed off to get drinks while I pushed to the dance floor. And again, I got that close-camera-zoom-in backhand. POW! Blazing down from the ceiling, the legend in lights on the floor.

My head was spinning. I had to go to the corner for a minute to breathe, to reach down and dig my nails into my Brujah tattoo. To mutter under my breath “A Monster I am lest a Monster I become”

And

“The First Tradition: thou shalt not reveal thy true nature to those not of the Blood”

And

“Thou shalt not Embrace Love”

And

“In the beginning, there was only Caine”

And

“Vengeance is best when the blood is still hot”

And

“Throw off the Elder’s shackles to the mind”

And

“Goddamnit, roll more tens.”

Thus grounded in unreality, I rejoined my group long enough to ditch my purse and go back to the dance floor. Not clad in the appropriate attire, the only thing I had to show I wasn’t a tourist was my dancing. I come from the Boston goth scene, at heart, and we have the best dancers in the States. I was of the House of ManRay, goddamnit, and I have black and bitter royal blood in my veins. So I did what I always do when given a good club and a good DJ. I closed my eyes.

When I dance, really dance, I don’t see anything. Like a proper goth, I go to clubs to be totally alone. I shoegaze or I stare at a point above everyone’s heads. I watch myself moving in the mirror. I shut my eyes and feel myself moving. I don’t talk to anyone. I don’t dance with anyone. Dancing with someone else means the same thing in every goth club in every city. It means “I will fuck you. Let’s go back to your coffin and you can nail me to the cross.”

Which brings me back to my original point of not fucking random dudes in nightclubs.

You see, this was a tourist night. The club was filled with people from PAX – average people who had never been to a goth club and were used to whatever protocols and codes of conduct happen in “normal people” nightclubs. They were talking to me while I danced – a cardinal sin. They were flinging water when they got excited. They were pulling me into circles to dance with them, big dopey grins on their faces that screamed of friendly invitation and that they didn’t know who Sisters of Mercy were. And at first, I did what is textbook standard for a goth club. As I was not willing to have sex with any of them, I coolly turned away and danced in a different direction. Anyone who tried more than once to engage my attention was growled at. Smiles were met with snarls.

But as the night went on, I calmed down a little. This was a night for the normals. The club had obviously been rented out for the party and, as the DJ began to seamlessly meld pop and hiphop in with the industrial tracks, I got over myself. I went back to my coworkers and started dancing with them instead of by myself in a corner. I stopped gnashing my teeth at anyone who tried to be friendly. I even started dancing with other people.

Which brings me to this boy. He was a proper goth kid, with black dreads and ripped black jeans poured on to his Jack Skellington legs. He was dancing by me and, having fully embraced my folly, I turned and danced with him. I could almost hear the thoughts of my non-spooky co-workers puzzling over this “goth mating dance” they were witnessing.

And it was. It was the usual “dance together, dance apart, spin back to back then face each other, intertwine arms then spin away, back together, leg over the hip, backbend, up, turn away, turn together, weave in, step out, touch, snarl, spin, step, sway, switch” that is the prelude to putting his nail in my coffin. We danced closer and he started doing that ‘holding the back of my neck, using it to pull me close and talk to me’ trick. He took my hand. He bit my neck. He had porcelain fangs and fake blood on his cheek. He told me he was a male alternative model and that the club had paid him to be there. He had wanted to go to PAX but couldn’t get a pass. He loved video games, thought I was ‘incredible’ for having a job that had anything to do with them. A waitress came by with syringes filled with cherry jello shots. He grabbed one and offered it to me. I declined as some hot girl in platform boots, a vinyl bikini, and a fishnet catsuit came over to interrupt. “I have to go and do some promo shots,” he said. “But I’ll be right back.”

I didn’t believe him but I wasn’t too bummed out. After all, I was dressed like a tourist. I wouldn’t have even danced with myself in the first place, were I him. I made some jokes with my co-workers about how I was going to “bang the vampire” then went back to dancing.

But he came back.

And to my chagrin, he was right back to dancing with me, taking me by the back of the neck to talk to me. You can see some of it in the club shots from Inside Gaming.

There was a part of me that was almost into it. He was cute, I’m single, and maybe it was time for me to stop being such a prude. I’m a tough girl, right? I’m a bitch. I’m hardcore and I’m rough around the edges and I’m the bad girl all the good guys want. Right?

Sure. Maybe. But I’m still not a slut. Not even a little. I am not even comfortable doing things the average person wouldn’t consider all that slutty, like hooking up with a really hot guy who was just my type and obviously interested. I just… can’t. Or won’t. At the end of the day, it’s the same thing. So when he leaned in and tried to kiss me, I did the quick-turn. I excused myself to the ladies room and was bitterly disappointed at how short the line was. I wanted to wait there for an hour and hope he’d go away. But when I came back, 20 minutes later, he was still there.

He took my hand again as I stepped onto the floor but I only squeezed it once before letting it go. “I don’t want to lead you on,” I said. “I’m not really looking to hook up with anyone tonight.”

Or ever.

“But I really like you. You’re hot. Are you sure you don’t want to leave? We can go right now if you want.” He smiled and his fangs caught the light, winking at me.

“Just to get coffee,” he said, after I declined. “Or wherever you want,” he added, after I declined again. His palms were sweaty in mine as he recaptured my hand yet again.

No, no, no. I shouldn’t have danced with you. My fault. I know the rules.

“We can go to my place. Or yours.”

No, we can’t.

“It could be just a one night thing, if you want.”

That’s the last thing I want.

I’m not a one-night stand girl. I’m not a random hookup girl. I’m not a “love ‘em and leave ‘em” girl. I’m a dance with them and leave them girl, I guess, because I left him and went back to my circle of co-workers, my friends, and hid out there for a bit until he left. I feel bad having done so but… c’est la vie.

At the end of the day, it’s enough to know I could have had him, if I had wanted to. My ego got an appropriate boost and my morals stayed intact.

I danced, staying past my “leave 10 minutes before last call” nightclub rule. I danced until everyone was so drunk that the safety of my purse was questionable and my batsense told me to leave before an amazing night for left turn onto Shitty Street. Then it was back to the hotel to fall into my bed, alone, smelling like an abattoir after dancing for 5 hours, I’m sure. As my eyes closed, I wondered if I would feel a pang of regret at leaving him behind. I wondered if there would be any moment of loneliness or wistfulness or even plain horniness.

What there was, all there was – and really, the only thing there ever would, can, or will be – was satisfaction.

So nail that your coffin.

19 Responses to “The delicate and subtle art of not being a whore”

  1. Glad you had fun! I’m the DJ, and I spent many years developing tabletop Vampire. I’m also one of the CCP devs working on the as-yet-unannounced project. I’m glad you enjoyed yourself without compromising your personal code.

  2. All of us at Machinima, and especially myself, were floored by how good you spun. You really did an incredible job of playing something that appealed to everyone and blending it all together. Hats off! And, as you could no doubt tell from the blog, I’m a huge V:tM and of course CCP fan. Can’t wait to see what the new project will be!

  3. Hey, another CCPer here. I wasn’t able to make it to PAX but I designed the invite. Your reaction to it was exactly what I was hoping for from those that remember. Your words are what any graphic designer would die for. I’m glad you had fun. It may be a bit late in the game, but as a huge VtM fan you should really try to make it down to New Orleans for the Grand Masquerade.

  4. Wow, all you good CCP folks are coming out of the woodwork! The flyer was amazing and it obviously changed the whole course of my night. I wish I had known about the Grand Masquerade earlier because I would love to go.

  5. Mr Gothic Seattle Says:

    Glad you had a good time at PAX and the succubus club on Saturday. I know the cute goth boy with the dreads.

    http://succubusclub.smugmug.com/The-Event/Succubus-Club-Sept-4th-2010/13621447_fuyfz#997037443_dZQDH

    He is one of my favorite goth models in the Seattle region, great to have at events.

    CCP Throws a great party

  6. Truly, it was an epic party. The music was great, the vibe was great, and yes, the boy was great too. I wish Seattle wasn’t quite so far away from LA because it is a club I’d love to go to again and again!

  7. Julzerator Says:

    We definitely could tell you were an old-school dancer from where I was perched on the second floor. I always go to the CCP/White Wolf events as they are always that top notch.

  8. Glad it showed. I wish I had some forewarning that there was going to be a CCP/WW event so I could have brought something appropriate. I didn’t even bother changing from PAX or refreshing my makeup since I wasn’t planning on being out long. C’est la vie!

    I wish I could make the Grand Masquerade. Checked it out online and it looks amaze! I hope whomever goes enjoys it!

  9. Brujah for life.

  10. This post was just awesome! I’ve put together more of these parties over the years than I can count and it was really rewarding to read this type of reaction from someone who obviously gets it. For what its worth I completely understand your reference to Manray in LA. I spent almost 10 years there. Sinamatic, Bar Sinister, Dungeon, The Basement all classics and most of them gone. I like to think that Justin and I try to bring a little bit of the best of the clubs our wild years have taken us. That’s the trick to making the World of Darkness come alive for just a few hours in random cities at strange times. That’s the magic of The Succubus Club, it takes us both back and forward. Both to what we know and love and yet into the fantasy world made real.

    Like Justin said, glad you had fun. These types of things really make our day. You and your crew will always have an invite when the vampires come back to town.

  11. I’m flattered at how many of you amazing CCP people are reading this. Are you just passing it around the office now? If you are familiar with the LA goth scene, you know how unhappy I am now that Dungeon is dead. The rest of the clubs have descended past mediocrity and into unbearableness. It’s a large part of why I gave up going out.

    You all certainly did an amazing job of not only bringing back the very best of my goth clubbing days but bringing a part of the World of Darkness to me that I’ve always wanted to embrace. Pun intended. I only wish I knew about the Grand Masquerade sooner or I would be there in a heartbeat. I suppose it will have to wait for another fortuitous night, when everything aligns just so.

  12. I very much wish I could have attended PAX, and specifically this party. Justin has gotten better as a DJ every time I’ve heard him spin over the years. DragonCon being in my own back yard though, I had to go to that instead. Hearing stories like these about the party make me wonder if I made the right decision. Regardless, kudos to you for sticking to your morals!

    I second what Craig said — if there’s any way at all that you can possibly get to the Grand Masquerade, you should. There will be some information about their next project made public there for the first time ever. :)

  13. After all I heard about DragonCon, I was almost sad I was at PAX so it’s a fair trade. And thank you. At the end of the day, it’s not bravery or strength that makes me stick like glue to my morals. It’s sheer pigheadedness. I can’t be any other way than the way I am.

    I would love, love, love to but, alas, this has been a month for spending extravagance and I don’t think I’ll have enough ready cash to pull it together. But this isn’t the final year for the Masquerade or anything terrible like that, is it? I’ve wanted to go since they first one was announced when I was a kid.

  14. DragonCon was indeed pretty awesome. If only the two didn’t always overlap! As far as other Grand Masquerades, there is an ICC every year (big Vampire LARP conference), but this is the first ever event of this magnitude, which is being combined with ICC. There may be more such events later; Shane would have a better idea of that, and even he might not know yet. My gut tells me that this own’t be a yearly occurrence though.

    There are room shares available, but I’m assuming your biggest cost would be plane ticket down there.

  15. We should write to the heads of PAX and DragonCon and complain. Don’t force nerds to choose! There is room in our hearts for both cons! LET US BE FREEEEEEEEEE! Then add in a bunch of macros of William Wallace.

    The plane ticket would indeed be the biggest cost. My biggest concern, honestly, is not knowing anyone there. I’m a social butterfly and all but I like to know at least one person when I go somewhere new. Then you have someone that is obligated to have dinner with you and hold your purse while you pee. If I could figure out something with the plane and the room, I might say “fuck it” and go anyway and see what happens. If not, I may try and make next year’s con even if it’s not as epic.

  16. You=Total Cunt Says:

    Wow you sound like a fucking bitch.

  17. That’s because I am, Internet Troll. PS thanks for taking the time to create an account and comment. I get paid every time you do :D

  18. Mike Todd Says:

    And you, sir, sound like someone who wishes he could get laid by a fucking bitch, but would probably just end up making a jackass out of himself and earning her ire instead. Oh wait, that already happened…

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