Medjool sticks out in the Mission like an oasis in the desert. Hip, but not filled with hipsters. Crowded and sweaty, and yet it manages not to smell like urine. It has a nice roof, but SF tends toward arctic extremes at night so enjoying the view requires one to be very brave or very drunk.
There was plenty of both of the above Saturday night, the publicized “international” music night. The place was filled with douchebags, and pretty soon it was apparent why. The type of music they consider international was just enough on the ethnic side to make the crowd feel adventurous and exotic, but just enough on the white American side to feel familiar and comforting.
It’s 1999 and Carlos Santana has just made his big return with an album finally tailored to the masses. He mixes his soulful Latin guitar style with white American pop vocals. Rob Thomas singing “Smooth” made us feel like we were a part of the browner crowd while giving us something to identify with. Likewise with Dave Matthews, Everlast and the racially ambiguous Eagle-Eye Cherry. However, normally we did not like to listen to this music in front of actual Latin people, because deep down we realized they would expose us for the posers we were.
This is what Medjool’s “international” night is like. Except you are surrounded by people as white as, or whiter, than you, who are dancing badly to embarrassing music and reminding you with every second that this is exactly what you look like. It makes you want to leave before you are seen by anybody not white.
To worsen the white factor, 9 out of 10 dudes are douchebags of the frat boy or former frat boy variety. They are all dressed exactly the same, with exactly the same hair, and utilizing exactly the same dance moves. But the most characteristic quality of the frat boy douchebag is how he treats his woman. He alternately gropes her and ignores her. Up on the roof, there were several heaters set up. In general, the men congregated in circles around these while their women huddled in the cold outside the circle, suffering because they are wearing the sort of minimal clothing that their boyfriends require to show them off in.
What I do find comforting about the Medjool experience is that for two days afterward, when asked how Medjool was, I responded with some variation of, “Douchebaggery abounds” or, “Sooo many douchebags.” And everyone nodded enthusiastically–there was no doubt what could be meant by this answer.