The Half-full Perspective on the Fully Empty Club

“Come ti chiami?” I asked the bartender.

“Danilo,” he smiled.

“Danilo?” I repeated.

“Sì,” he confirmed.

“So it’s Danilo?” I asked again to be sure that he was sure. “Not Daniele?” I questioned just to verify that this guy was not my guy.




I was hanging out with my high school friend/Italy buddy on the long weekend, and while Italy reminiscing, we recalled the Monday night in Tropea that we went to the discoteca. It was the only club in that little Calabrese resort town; and not being a fan of resort-dominated vacation spots or their nightlife, I didn’t have high hopes for it. But, my friend wanted to go and I’m a down-for-anything kind of girl. Plus, how bad could it be post-wine?

It was empty.

Upon arrival, my friend and I were the only people there other than the staff. We crossed our fingers that a crowd would pick up. About 12 other people showed. We could have left, but realistically, where were we going to go? If we walked outside, we’d sooner bump into farmland than civilization. So, we made note to remember to steal toilet paper from the club washrooms before the end of the night (toiletries were nearly as hard to come by in Tropea as Wi-Fi), and started downing drinks.

As many awesome clubbing memories as I have from my day (I feel so old saying “my day,” but then again, I feel so old every time I walk past Peter St on route to the Sky Dome or ACC), I have of course entered my fair share of dead clubs. There are two ways to deal with the situation: ditch it for a better club (the preferred option) or make the best of it (when leaving isn’t an option, as in the cases of birthdays, friend obligations, and Tropea). I guess you could also sulk for a few hours, but why? When you are one of little more than a dozen club patrons, the staff will treat you like royalty. Use it to your advantage.

That Monday night in Tropea, all our drinks were free and all the DJ played was house by my request. I put song names alongside “per favore?” and a smile, and suddenly I was jumping and spinning on the empty dance floor to Rather Be. Because of the Instagrammed video evidence, one of my girlfriends thinks I’m the cutest dancer ever. I assure you that I am more accurately the worst dancer ever, but my dancing got everyone else dancing – all 12 of them. My friend and I had more fun that night than when we returned the next and the place actually drew a crowd.




“Danilo! How’s your night going?” I asked the bartender during my second evening at Tropea’s only club.

“It’s good! How was your night last night?” he asked.

“Good!” I told him. “I had so much fun!”

“Your friend said it was not so good when he got home,” Danilo laughed.

“That’s because my friend couldn’t handle the absinthe you gave us,” I smirked. “I had no problem.”

“I knew you wouldn’t,” he said. “When I told you I had no sambuca but I had absinthe, you said you like absinthe and to give you a shot.” (I believe my exact words were, “Oh! I hear absinthe fucks you up. Let’s do that!”)

Remembering my favourite drink from the night before, Danilo made me an amaretto sour.

“Danilo, quanto costa?” I pointed at the glass as he handed it to me.

“Niente!” he exclaimed.

“Oh! Grazie!” I smiled, raising my glass in his direction.

He turned to the cashiers, saying in Italian what loosely translated in English to: “This is Maria. She doesn’t pay.”


About the Author

Maria Bellissimo was the protagonist of a sad, boring life until she turned her story into a happiness experiment. She chronicles her search for happiness on her supremely awesome and appropriately named blog, The Happiness Experiment, which she hopes will inspire others to launch their own happiness experiments. Follow her adventures on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.