My Wedding Wednesday experience at 10 Below

I can hear the bells.

Well don’t you hear them chime?

What’s that? You just hear loud wedding reception music and shout-talking from over-enthusiastic dancers? You must be at 10 Below’s infamous Wedding Wednesday extravaganza, where the dress code is sequins or Vineyard Vines and the music is cheesy and awesome.

Before this week, I’d never been.

Let’s just say that it was an experience.

8:38 p.m. All right, let’s be honest: I’m a little bit scared. I haven’t yet graced 10 Below with my presence in my yearlong stint as a 21-year-old, and I’ve heard… things.

Earlier, I took a casual poll to see what I might be in for on this evening of debauchery, and some of the more memorable responses were:

  • “Loss of dignity.”
  • “A night of classic music and raunchy dancing followed up by sloppy sex.”
  • “It’s like a basement party. A lot of groping.”

So that sounds promising. And by promising I mean horrifying.

I have the sequins. I have the over-the-knee Steve Madden boots that I am secretly-not-so-secretly terrified of getting ruined via some epic sloppy stumble from another person that results in a lot of sour-smelling liquid being on my person. But this is 10 Below. I have to dress the part.

9:30 p.m. Headed over to my Wedding Wednesday sensei’s house soon to begin my potentially scarring experience tonight. He’s a tried-and-true Wedding Wednesdays vet, so hopefully he can guide me through this experience in a somewhat graceful fashion.

10:10 p.m. Sensei is drinking Natty Light and his roommate is blasting “Thrift Shop” at a volume that says, “I know it’s Wednesday, but I’m pretending that it’s Saturday.” Weird.

10:21 p.m. Apparently 10 Below isn’t poppin’ until 11 or 11:30 p.m. when people leave FieldHouse after getting their fill of Wednesday night penny pitchers. And so we wait.

10:24 p.m. Sensei’s roommate has been ironing his button-down for at least 15 minutes. The puff sounds his aerosol spray can of starch are making is almost louder than the music in their apartment. He just asked if Sensei wants to go half and half on a pants press. Where am I? What is this?

10:30 p.m. Sensei concedes that he’s not nearly drunk enough to go to 10 Below. He knowingly informs me that everyone there is blacked out. I say that not everyone is blacked out; I will be sober. He says, “What, are you just going to sit there and watch?”

“Yup.”

10:46 p.m. Discussion concerning the “Beer before liquor…” saying.

“It doesn’t apply to us,” Sensei’s roommate says. “We’re, like, trained.”

Oh, college.

11:19 p.m. Headed to 10 Below. A quick prayer to Emma Stone that I survive this night.

11:24 p.m. You’re just going to want to bypass Harpo’s down to the creepy alley on the side of it. Yeah, the one that looks like it’s a nice set up for sketchy drug deals.

Sensei knows the bouncer checking IDs, of course, and therefore he doesn’t check any of our IDs (even though I’ve never met him).

The guy taking cover ($5), however, doesn’t know Sensei, apparently, because he just pressured Sensei into paying for my cover as well by asking pointedly, “Is this just for you?”

Take note, men. You’ll pay for the girl-who-is-not-your-girlfriend here whether you like it or not.

11:26 p.m. We enter. What is that smell? Is it supposed to smell like this? It smells like cats. I hate cats.

Now playing: “Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield

11:28 p.m. Apparently sequins are out and Macklemore-inspired fur vests are in. Who knew?

It's a bar. It's made of ice. It's an ice bar. Whoa. Photo by Teresa Klassen.

11:36 p.m. Sensei and his roommate beelined for the closest bar — the ice bar, which is actually, you know, ice for a bar — but they seem all but ignored by the bartender. $1 wells seem to amend their angst.

Meanwhile, I am being repeatedly shoved by a man who doesn’t seem aware of my presence behind him.

11:43 p.m. “Let me show you the place.” Oh Sensei, you’re too kind.

We move into the second room, which has two more bars that are much less crowded. It is very cave-like in that is dark, damp and has low ceilings. In fact, a lot of people are touching the ceilings. I remember my first beer.

Now playing: A decent mash-up of “U Can’t Touch This” by MC Hammer and “Super Freak” by Rick James

12 a.m. Casual mingling in the cave room. Be prepared to be jostled. Sensei acknowledges that he is no longer “too sober for this.”

12:03 a.m. Sometimes you just have to give your friend a lap dance on top of a booth in a dark bar, apparently. Because that’s what is happening about seven feet away from me.

Now playing: “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” by Pat Benatar

12:12 a.m. All sing-alongs, all the time.

Now playing: “Hurts So Good” by John Mellencamp

12:18 a.m. Fur vest solo dance time. I wonder if she knows her friends are taking video. Awkward.

Now playing: “Around the World” by Daft Punk

12:27 a.m. My lack of dancing, which I see no problem with, has been deemed unacceptable. I am unceremoniously pulled through the crowd of drunk dancing people.

Now playing: “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-a-Lot

12:38 a.m. Why are you so sweaty?

Now playing: “You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC

12:47 a.m. That awkward moment when a guy comes up to the guy you’re dancing with, tells him you’re his girlfriend (“Sorry dude”), and intercepts you for his own dance purposes.

Did that really just happen?

Does that happen a lot?

It was weird for everyone.

12:52 a.m. I spy with my little eye… at least four and a half sloppy makeout sessions. I think this is my cue to leave.

1:03 a.m. If you’re going to yell at me and my friend in Spanish, guys outside 10 Below, I’ll ask that you conjugate your verbs correctly. Better luck next time. Adios.

1:15 a.m. Made it to my well lit, high ceiling, dry home. But honestly, I actually had fun tonight. Sure, some things were awkward and it really was too dark in there, but if you want to dance at a place where no one is paying attention to how you’re dancing or judging you (except the blog girl, of course, who is judging everyone), this would be the place to do it.

I am a little confused that I didn’t hear “Cupid Shuffle” or “YMCA,” though.