how to chill in the big city after dark. as an Introvert.

this is for my anti-social, “paranoid af”, homies out there. they want to have fun too.

ah, Chicago.

5 minutes from the expressway, 20 minutes by uber or a good hour on public transportation from my place is the city that brings stillness to these very wandering eyes.

let's not get shit twisted though, it’s all pretty lights and shiny shit unless you live there. taxes are gross and daytime on a blurry Tuesday isn’t as glamorous.

but in a different eye, an eye that has never been outside her comfort zone because of what everyone has told her to do and be within the ‘safe zone’, it is a wonderland of mischief.

raised as a suburban girl from my mom that was born and raised on the south side, she always told me about the dangers of the city, the problems, the evil.

she would warn me how the city would eat you alive and force me to play their dirty games because, I, a mere lamb, was too naive to say no and run away from the big bad wolves.

well, I've hung out with these “wolves ”and they're friendlier than the sheep I know back home.

now, don’t get me wrong, my mum’s ideas isn’t complete fantasy..

bums and homeless people fill the streets asking for a smoke and some of those weak coins that are sleeping in your coat pocket.

strange members on the train staring at others begging for a conversation and a taste of food (after this one man gave an amazing speech on the bus one afternoon, I gave him all 12 of my chicken wings I just bought at a local pub that me and sister go to).

others hide in corners to freak you out at all times of the day, trying to take you off course and pull you into their dimmed world.

but I figured out if you just keep your head up and be wary while you give to some and talk to a few, you will be fine. the universe will notice and keep you safe.

in the daytime, its fast-paced and busy.

the streets are full of blurry girls in their high heels clicking to the nearest office building.

guys striding past you in their freshest suits, their muted colors blend into the muggy buses they pass just to catch their meeting at the nearby Starbucks.

festivals happening in your left ear as you turn to your right to see kids in a single file line headed straight to the museum you see plaster on every pamphlet under your foot as you spot a bride’s crisp, white dress crossing the street to the public gazebo, her husband for life holding her white train of fabric.

but at night, something clicks.

all those people turn off.

and another form of rush begins.

the city becomes alive. a new breed of people come out from the alleys of those office buildings.

the real coffee shops open up as soon as Starbucks closes its doors.

those restaurants you saw with its chairs upside down are now illuminating the evening with laughter and dimmed fairy lights hanging over love birds and the college roommates.

the smell of rich sauces and juices linger over to your right nostril as you spot men in the finest of suits, cling to their women wrapped in their fur coats and red bottoms as they shimmy to the exclusive side of the street.

the pubs open their doors and welcome you with beer right out of the tap, pizza spots with its five stars right on the windows, packed with everyone and those damn food carts with the bomb ass tacos hidden at the darkest corner.

you want to watch all 5 games and stuff pizza down your throat?

you got it.

you need churros and the sweetest blueberry margarita while looking out at every window right across the street? here you go.

all you need is a lounge area that looks like a cowboy resting spot but its blasting 80’s house music? boom, baby.

the city’s got you.

and Chicago's my city.

I know damn near every creek and cranny and when to get some great food at the wrong hours.

wasn’t always like this though. as a budding ambivert (an even mix of someone that like being with people and being alone.) I used to be terrified of nighttime Chicago. I was okay with daytime city life but nighttime? you had me fucked up. ..

I was a stressful mess till I got out of my own head and actually had fun. it took more than one trip but either way, I can hop on the next blue line train and chill at Wicker Park an be out and about till the clubs close.

this is where the learning begins. as 20 somethings, we gotta experience life somehow, someway.

to give our kids something to tell the other snot nose kids on how fucking lit we were. (yea, Nancy, your daughter was right, Jimmy's mother did twerk on this lawyer’s junk and made him rethink life. that shit did happen.)

why not have me assist you in the right direction?

you can thank me later when your not the girl next to you in the stall puking her life away or the guy that wanted to go home hours ago but his homeboys insisted they find the “hottest” club with the “baddest bitches.”

here are my 8 good tips in having a cool time in the city, whether you're a veteran at it or fresh of the boat.

  1. ) drink at your own pace. (please.)
  • Always shave water by your fucking side. You last so much longer. Every sip of alcohol you drink, wash it with 2 sips of water. Thank me later. You can be cool doing it. It's not a crime to be hydrated. Especially with the sugary cocktails. The combination of the sugar and the alcohol dry you out quicker than you think and the sugar tricks you to thinking the alcohol is good when you are actually sipping more shit than usual. Have a cup before the first and after the last. You’ll still be tipsy but the impact won’t be terrible, trust me.
  • you don't drink? cool! bars have juice and shit! go to Resturants that have non-alcoholic drinks. don’t let the crew pressure you to do things you don’t do. there are plenty of places you can find and drink other stuff, worse case, cling to that water and get high on the vibe of the room. (that works just as good as being tipsy on tequila.)
  • Eat before you drink(ideally on a full stomach). Something thick and full of carbs usually helps with the absorption of the liquor. If not that, something greasy or fried does help some. it usually helps me.

2. ) your vibe determines your night.

  • If you feel shitty, your gonna have a shitty night. Feeling insecure? The wrong people will definitely show up and make the night worse. It doesn’t take much to fuck up a vibe. What you bring to the universal table Is what you get served, It's all a mindset. From your mind, your body will reciprocate and then everyone else will as well. Good and bad.
  • If you are on your own, take in a breathe and exhale. Be wary of your surroundings of course but relax. Just think positive and positive will happen. The moment you think bad shit will start, it will in a heartbeat.

3.) the nightlife isn't that bad, depends on where your at and why.

  • Do that research. You want a certain atmosphere to surround yourself by? google it. bing it. something. Don’t be scared! The only way you will get what you want you is to do some sort of research. Think about it, when you want a certain kind of takeout for lunch or a certain type of partner, you do research. end of story. Unless you’re gonna go to every bar and pizza joint in one night, start small.
  • Go where it’s good and safety is close by. Whatever safety means to you, (you know the streets nearby, you aware of the cities and surrounding suburbs. police are hot on the block at all times, houses of your parents or friends are nearby) make sure that is on the agenda. Some of it can be abandoned once you get used to it but in reality, how much fun are you really having if you’re worried about where you are and if you might make it home safe? Top 2 rules in my book, know where you at and have safe spots nearby. Shit happens.

4.) go with good people, people you trust.

  • You will be surprised at how many times you can go somewhere with each person or group and it’s a different vibe or something different happens with each time. Choose your “night city” group wisely especially since it is at night. Some people just bring bad juju without them even knowing but you can sense that shit (you can, trust). Pay attention. The last thing you need is to have a shitty time because everyone got drunk and your you friend won’t stop talking about her boyfriend's dick problems.
  • If you’re by yourself and you’re relying on the people around you, be careful who you pick up and roll with. Maybe you’re a jazz nightclub kinda person or barely lit old fashioned pub vibe. Stick to what you like. That’s the only way you’ll be guaranteed a good time.

5). take. it. slow.

  • If you ain't vibing with the night. It's cool to leave! We are adults now and if you think you gotta stick with the crew at all times even if you having a shitty time, that is the opposite of self-care, dudes. I rather you be a punk than being pissed off for years cause of that one Saturday night you had that was shitty as fuck.
  • if you're on your own, maybe hit up 1 or 2 bars and do something else. plan to go to a concert and next time try out that dance club right after. you do not have to exhaust yourself so soon.

6). check the budget, the city ain’t cheap.

  • Watch what you are spending, its really easy to fall off when you're having a good time, especially in the city. if you can’t have that last drink cause its damn near 12 bucks over what you need to keep, unless your homies are paying for it, don’t fucking do it. Seriously. Act drunk or something. (same goes for treating everyone. you know your pockets.) don’t risk life because people want you to, that isn’t cool. Fuck them. Make sure you have enough to get back home or have a plan in the event everyone might split up the pay or something. Shit happens because of money and safety. Don’t get caught.
  • Don’t let money rule you but be a responsible human and know what's in your piggy bank. You don’t have to let the world know but make sure you have a limit. Some of us are here for a long time, not always a good time. Unless you’re the latter, get your shit together.

7). do.you. (don’t like the nightlife? it's cool. 10'o clock is cool.)

  • Hey, you know your body and brain better than most people (probably not your parents, let them tell it.) if it's getting too late for you need to go home, do you! Once again, we are all adults. I know peer pressure is still strong but if you gotta work in the morning or have obligations to take care of, do what you need to do. Maybe 2 in the morning is stupid to you and your favorite spot closes at 11. Its fine to good home early after a swell time. You set the rules for you. if you're in a group, try to make sure everyone will get home safe and let them know but even still, do what makes you comfortable.

8).live a little (counterproductive but that’s life for you.)

  • you need a small remember to go live and do new things too! Don’t be so pressed about every dollar you spend that you don’t try a new kind of taco you never heard of, that might change your life. Don’t be so ready to go home at 11 on the dot that you miss a golden opportunity to get into a underground concert. We all have to responsible of ourselves but don’t be so responsible that you are more of an irritation then fun and chill. Trust me, I’ve been that person. I JUST learned how to calm the hell down. Do something you never tried before and always wanted to, that’s one way to start. I went to my first nightclub and actually danced the night away (well, till it closed..) and it was amazing! If it doesn’t go well, it's not the end of the world. At aleasdt you can say you tried it. And sometimes that’s what differentiates your life from being dull to being eclectic.

well, that’s my five cents of the hour.

let me know your tips for hanging in the big city for the not so “party animal”. I’m always looking for new ways to enjoy my old hometown.

-sade (like the singer)