Guest Essay: We Loved the Nightlife

Studio 54
UoGsjohns22, Flickr Commons

“We loved the nightlife” then. Now, not so much.

It was 2 a.m. I had fallen asleep with the TV on and I was awakened by the music of the Bee Gees. As I was trying to focus on the screen, I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw myself dancing at Studio 54, thirty years ago!

“Am I in some sort of time warp? Have I gone to Disco Hell?”

Now I start to recognize other people from the past dancing onscreen.

“Well if I am in Hell, at least I know a few people.”

There I am, smiling and being spun around by my dance partner. “Oh, there’s a closeup. It’s definitely me.”

Finally, a commercial kicks in from Time Life Music We Love the Nightlife CD collection and I realize this is actual footage they’re using from Studio 54!

That just confirms it. Today, you’d better have your game on, at all times, because you could end up in a commercial! Even your
disco days!

Having experienced the past in that bizarre way, a lot of memories began to flow back, especially of the Hamptons in the late ’70s and early ’80s.

There seems to be a lot of interest in that time period now. Why? I wonder.

Is it because there is so much pressure to be perfect when one accepts an invitation to an event or party or club?

How you look, what you say or do is caught on camera at all times and can be sent via the web, everywhere in just a keystroke!

From a female point of view, I believe women have it especially tough.

The outrageous scrutiny and absurd standards of weight and wrinkles have created so much anxiety! It puts a kibosh on going out and having fun!

When I was a model with Wilhelmina in the ’70s and ’80s, size 6 or size 8 was the norm. Today we’d be considered fat! How sad!

So, what about those Hampton parties back then compared to now?

Sure they were sophisticated and elegant. Of course the wealthy and the famous were there. The difference is, they didn’t seem so contrived. People seemed more relaxed.

The Huggy Bear All-White Tennis parties, the restaurant openings and the private parties were all glamorous and fun.

Best of all, you didn’t have to punish your feet in 6” heels.

One Hamptons party comes to mind.

A friend of mind had just purchased a 1965 partially–rusted Mustang to restore. Off we went to a party in East Hampton.

As we arrived, we saw a long drive leading up to a gorgeous house on the beach. Fabulous cars were parked along the way.

The valet suspiciously guided us to a spot between a Rolls–Royce and a Jaguar. We were laughing so hard; we could barely get out of the car.

When we entered the house, we were stunned by its ocean view. Beach breezes were wafting through beautiful rooms filled with beautiful people.

We had a wonderful time! No one cared if we had a wrinkle or what we drove.

In fact, at the end of the party, as our host was saying good-bye and saw our car, he laughed as much as we did.

It was a different time then. People wanted to engage you; they wanted to know what was going on in your life, not simply what designer you were wearing.

Most of all, we went out to have a genuine good time! I think we were a lot freer then.

I think we really did “love the nightlife.”

This essay was an entry in the 2012 Dan’s Papers Literary Prize for Nonfiction.

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