This article originally appeared on VICE Canada.
Whenever I go to a club, I always find myself staring at the old man at the back of the room lurking in the shadows and trying to dance to whatever obnoxious song the DJ is playing. I don't know why, but I can't seem to tear my eyes away. I especially feel so embarrassed for all the 50 year old dudes trying to hit on 20 year olds. In my opinion, watching these guys trying to pick up women is more entertaining than actually being at a club. Or maybe I'm just not drunk enough when I go out.
But then I realize how judgemental I'm being. Why can't older people go to clubs or bars? There really shouldn't be anything wrong with the older and wiser dressing up, having a few drinks, and going to a place with shitty music where they can hang out with drunk young adults. Maybe we are their entertainment. Besides, no one really knows how old is too old to go out. I just don't understand how going out can get any better if it's not that great right now as a young person. If I'm tired of bumping into sweaty people and trying to avoid getting a drink spilled on me, how do these older folks feel? They're around the same age as my parents and I really don't want to be thinking about my parents when I go out. All my parents like to do on the weekend is take naps, so I have no idea why anyone else their age would actually want to leave the house and stay out till 1 or 2 AM.
Clubs and bars are no doubt the place to go if you want to meet someone (but definitely not the place to go to meet that special someone). But I don't know anyone who goes out to these places just for pure enjoyment and not try to pick someone up. It's hard for people in their 20s to meet someone; I can't even imagine what it must be like for someone in their 40s or 50s.
So, in the interest of journalism, I went to trendy nightclub in Toronto to chat with the olds about what it's like to still party with the young.
John, 55; *Frank, 47; Tony, 45
What brings you guys out here tonight?
John: We're here because we're stupid and we have nothing else to spend our money on.
What do you guys do for a living?
John: We are all plumbers. We're all brothers and we are all plumbers.
So why are you guys actually out here tonight?
John: He's married, well depending on the day. And Frank over here is divorced.
Frank: I just got divorced.
Tony: Both of them are plumbers. I actually strip.
You're a stripper? [rolls eyes]
Tony: Ya I am. Don't judge me. My wife actually doesn't know.
John: His wife is around here somewhere, she doesn't know.
Do you do that as a side job?
Tony: It's professional.
Frank: Let's walk over here a little more I think *Regina might hear you.
Tony: Oh shit. That's my wife.
Frank: We are also here because it's our friend's birthday. We don't ever go out clubbing, we usually just do backyard barbecues.
So let's be real. Are you guys here to pick up women?
John: No, it's actually my friend's birthday .. but if some women were interested then I'd tell them to go for Frank here, he'd help them out.
Tony: Shit, I think my wife is right there.
How long have you been stripping for?
Tony: Three years.
Why doesn't your wife know?
Tony: She's a jealous person.
How did you start stripping?
Tony: It started out pretty ugly. But I'm very professional. Shit, Sandra is right there, OK no more.
How's your night going?
Well as of now I'm waiting to use the bathroom. I'm from out of town and I'm meeting up with friends. This place was their recommendation, it's pretty nice. I'm just having some drinks and hanging out.
Where are you from?
Do you go out to clubs or bars often?
I usually go to pubs in London, but to a club like where I'm at now, not at all.
How do you like this club compared to the pubs?
This is a little too fancy for me. I like going to places where I'm a lot more comfortable.
Are you single?
No, I'm married. My husband is currently at home with our kids. I'm here with my male gay friend and we are going to a gay bar after this. Me and my husband have been married for nearly 20 years and we totally trust each other when we go out, I don't even look at any of the other guys.
Yannis, 44; Greg, 45
What are you guys up to tonight?
Yannis: We're just having some cocktails.
Greg: It's actually his birthday.
Happy birthday, how old are you turning?
Yannis: Aha... I'm older than you.
How do you guys know each other?
Greg: We both went to university together. We were roommates in our first year. I was forced to go into engineering and he studied political science. I'm an engineer and he works for [a major bank].
How often do you guys go out to clubs?
Greg: Not that often. Once in awhile to clubs with the younger people, like the 20 somethings. But we don't go anywhere where the oldest person in the room is like 25.
Why were you hesitant to share your age?
Greg: When I was younger I used to think 45 was old, but now I think it's the perfect age. Back then I couldn't wait to be 30 and now I'm almost 50.
Did going out become more or less fun for you as you got older?
Yannis: I think you go through life cycles. Like some people will get married and have kids and they won't be here, or they might be here. But we are both single. We didn't have all this online stuff and dating apps. For all the younger guys in my office it seems like it's a lot easier to date. But they seem to be dating a lot and meeting a lot of people, but nothing seems to last.
Greg: They always seem to think that there's something better out there because they can just swipe. We prefer to meet people in person the old fashioned way and use actual language skills. But I heard that people are meeting now on Instagram. I guess you just have to post a nice picture of yourself and wait for everyone to say how good you look. But I've never direct messaged in my life.
Yannis: I have no idea what that is.
So are you guys out tonight to meet someone?
Greg: Well you never really go out to not meet someone right? So yes we are. My goal is to take my friend out and meet some girls. I think it's human nature to want to go out and meet someone in that way.
How does it feel to go out and be around people that are a lot younger?
Yannis: It doesn't bother me. That guy looks like he's in his 60s so I guess we aren't the oldest ones?
What brings you out here tonight?
Rufus: My friends were going out and they asked me to join them. They go out a few times a month.
Are you having fun?
Yeah, this is nice I guess.
How often do you go out?
Not at all, I don't go out. I'm too old for clubs, I'm not a clubber.
What age do you think is too old?
So why do you think you're too old?
I'm just not a clubber. I mean I used to go out, but now I go out very rarely. I think the only reason that it's majority 20- to 30-year-olds that go out is because they have more energy to get up the next day.
Are you married?
No, I'm single.
Were you in a relationship before?
Yes, for 14 years. We were married, and we had three kids.
If you don't mind me asking, how did it end?
She passed away.
I'm sorry to hear that. Are you interested in meeting anyone new?
Yes, actually. There's lots of ways to meet people; it doesn't always have to be at clubs. I'm also on the internet.
Do you prefer meeting people over the internet or in person?
Probably in person. I think being with someone is always a priority. I think it's just natural to want to be with someone.
*Names have been changed to protect anonymity.
Follow Alanna Rizza on Twitter.