By Donnell Gavin
BEIJING, China, 1:34 p.m. — Clubs in China are more carefully guarded than the Olympic events, and only slightly less guarded than the President (the obvious difference being the presence of guns to protect El Presidente, whereas the clubs just have belligerent teenagers with night sticks). When we arrived at China Doll (apparently the upscale-iest club in Beijing), we had already logged and hour or so at the bar across the street because the drinks at China Doll were apparently expensive, hard to obtain, etc etc. The place across the street was called “A Little High” (that was the English name — apparently you can only register Chinese names with the government, so the English names of things tend to be slightly bizarre/probably not a direct translation of the Chinese). My male friend had squeezed into a female friend’s loafers and she was wearing his flip flops (on the assumption, probably correct, that girls in flip flops would have less trouble than guys in flip flops, though I can’t imagine what the verdict would be on men somewhat conspicuously wearing women’s shoes). Then everyone yelled in Chinese about who was going to be let in, then the 19 year old guard got very fiesty and there was more yelling, then we were crammed into an elevator based on apparently eligibility for admittance and also on weight (the elevator would stop if it had more than X number of people). Then we got inside and nearly everyone was white and only like 10% of people were particularly dressed up and then Brendan Hansen’s manager licked my ear and I was confirmed in my general assessment that clubs everywhere are weird and gross.
So I guess the moral of the story is that even if you are one of the most famous athletes in the world, the best you can do is end up at clubs with people like me and my friend in women’s shoes. (Realistically, this is more an example of how small the American community in China is, rather than how sad the post-medal celebrations are. At least I hope).