I’m covered in vodka, sweat, and the room feels like it’s spinning faster than a Hanukka dreidel.
Unsure of my whereabouts, I decide to reject the shot my friend is attempting to politely force down my throat and simply assess my situation. I’m at a late night gathering of some sort, a club to be more specific—that’s about all I know. Dimly lit by Gothic chandeliers, I see before me a big room.
There are numerous bars, loud music and a zombie-like crowd of people who are thirsty for alcoholic beverages and a good time. In my drunken stupor, I'm startled by the surrounding chaotic behavior--so much so that all this is beginning to become a bit overwhelming. So the room continues to spin, the music only gets better, and the couple next to me is still sucking on each other's faces—poor girl.
I can’t help but notice everyone is doing something. There are people dancing, people who think they are dancing, and the rest are either furthering their intoxication or trying to mingle. The scene is a crazy environment filled with crazy, impulsive behavior. You’re either finding instant attraction or giving out immediate rejection—how terrifying! So I guess I should be doing something, I just don’t know exactly what. I could approach a cute Israeli, but then again all the girls around me are definitely American talmidot* or olim*—and we all know they have their eyes on the Israelis. Full disclosure: I’m not Israeli.
I decide to pull a wild card and approach a cute Israeli at the nearest bar. Walking through the crowd my body moves while bumping shoulders. However, my eyes remain on her, and the closer I get I can’t help but notice she is aware of my clumsy arrival. Stumbling, I finally find myself next to her and we exchange eye contact and the infamous half-smile grin.
Foolishly, I open my mouth and make a sad attempt at introducing myself in Hebrew, mistake number one on my part. Both of us unsure exactly what I said she replies, “Ma? Ma nishma?*” What was I thinking?! Lo tov*.. what a fadicha* on my part, just sababa*. There is no way I can keep this conversation going, which has yet to even begin if I don’t switch to English.
“So, are you Israeli?” I reply. “Ke-ilu da*.. of course I'm Israeli,” she says with laughter on her face. “What was I thinking, we are in Israel aren’t we?” I ask.
The conversation at this point comes to an awkward halt, apparently my witty question didn’t need an answer and with no response I could tell I was losing her attention.
With little hope left, I introduce myself for the second time, and yes, this time in English. We share small talk and she even lets me buy her a drink. Her name was Liat, 26 years old from Jerusalem. Her hair was a brownish red and her eyes had that captivating Middle Eastern look. Every time she would smile, the four freckles that spotted her nose would crinkle in the most adorable way.
I don’t remember much from that Saturday night except for Liat and the things she told me..
1: Apparently I was at SOLO Club in Tel Aviv.
2: Olim* love to get themselves very drunk.
3: Israeli women want to mingle, just not with me.
If you are new to Israel, here are some words that will make your everyday (or every-night) life much less embarrassing. Speak like an Israeli, and someone might actually believe you are one.
- talmida - Student (of female gender)
- olim - New immigrants to Israel
- ma nishma? - What's up?
- lo tov - Just... not good
- fadicha - Embarrassment
- sababa - Cool/awesome/okay
- ke-ilu-duh! - Like, obviously!
Fact of the week:
Many Israeli nightclubs change their names on a regular basis.
Why? Club-goers say it's so customers don't get bored going to the same venues each year, but they they are probably too drunk to remember anyway.
If you come to Israel for a yearly visit, and you don't recognize any of the venues, don't fret. You are bound to see some friendly faces. What's in a name, anyway?
For those interested:
SOLO Club is a business where the work never stops, literally. The venue is owned by ten collaborators, who work seven days a week to maintain the beauty of this venue, the beauty that we, Tel Avivians, drown in alcohol every night. So check it out.
Location: Yehuda Halevi 46, Tel Aviv, Israel
Hours of operation: Seven days a week, 21:00-05:00
Peak season: Winter (November – May)
Age: 25+, 20+ during off-peak season (May – November)
Thomas Groenings Jr. is an intern at Joy Records, a Tel Aviv-based record label holding regular events all throughout the Holy Land. JOY specializes in progressive house, electronic, techno and trance, representing artists that perform in Israel, as well as all over the globe. A growing company, JOY is always looking for young and promising artists to work with, including producers, remixers, DJs, bands, and anyone else who loves to make electronic dance music, operating internationally as a record label and electronic distributor.
Check out the Joy Records Facebook page.