If there’s one place in Vancouver that good girls go to die it’s the Roxy Cabaret on Granville Street.
Situated between a greasy late-night poutine stop and an 18+ arcade, the Roxy is a staple of the Granville strip — close enough to the centre of the city to be considered a hot spot, but dirty enough to be considered a dive.
Home to Z-list celebrities, popular athletes, 18-year-olds with their sister’s IDs and the most eclectic crowd of men aged 19-90, the Roxy boasts anything but class and one hell of a good time. Of course, anything but class and one hell of a good time fell out of my repertoire about five years ago. You can only kill the good girl inside you so many times before you literally start to feel your soul slipping away.
However, when your little brother’s country band kicks off their cross-country tour at the place and you only live seven minutes away, there’s a pull that can’t be denied.
“Let’s go to the Roxy!” I said. “I’ll drive.”
I remember the night I retired from the Roxy. My heels were pinching my feet and no matter how many Budweisers I drank I just couldn’t get there. You know where — that place where your feet stop hurting and the music starts to sound good and you make friends with the person who stepped on your toes and the bartender gives you free tequila for good measure. You get to that heavenly place where you actually start to have fun in a sea of drunken wolves and let your inhibitions slip away.
I never reached that place that night. Instead I said, “I’m too old for this,” and left my friends dancing with strangers as I hailed a cab in the street. I hung my jersey up in the arena of clubbing, if you will.
But when I got the invitation, I was called.
It was time to return, I thought. I was ready.
So I went — and I ordered, for the first time in my own personal history, a water from the bartender.
The smell of the carpet and the dim red lights and the high of a bunch of people out for a good time made me thirsty. Thirsty for those days when we would wear heels with more length than our skirts, when we would sip gin and 7-Up outside the 7-11 to avoid buying those first drinks, thirsty for that place I was telling you about.
It is so easy, in moments like this, to want to return to the place that once felt like home. I wanted nothing more than to take off the kimono I was wearing that kind-of resembled pajamas and let my “you’re not wearing that out of the house young lady,” shirt show. I wanted to feel 19 and careless and flirt with the bartender for a free Jack Daniels shot. I wanted to convince myself that the ship had not sailed — that I could be like Trevor Linden and retire, but still work for the team.
My phone buzzed and I went outside to hand my other brother his ticket to the show.
“Hey little lady!” I hear a familiar voice grumble as I watch, in surprise, my 60-year-old dad enter the bar.
And as I sat there with my minister father, hollering at the band and sipping my water, I realized I am in no danger of withdrawing my retirement, I’m just on board for the occasional alumni game.
It is a myth that we need to let go of the past to enjoy the present. The important thing is that we’re less beat up every time we visit it than we were the time before. And if this particular alumni game was any indication, the good girl remained entirely in one piece.
— Andria Parker is a 20-something blogger from Kamloops