I Went to a Taylor Swift Rave

Surprisingly, hearing the Reputation album played in a club full of Taylor Swift lovers wasn’t the only stand-out highlight of my Saturday night.

The rave was a last-minute event by one of the coolest clubs in the coolest part of town. The tickets went live on Friday morning, almost exactly at the same time I put my phone on do not disturb, headphones in, and cranked out six problem sets for international trade. Henceforth, I did not see the calls and texts from my friends telling me to buy a spot on the list. Since I wasn’t on the club list, it was up in the air if I’d even get into the club at all. So when I arrived in the underground tunnel at 10pm Saturday night, I was there to wait in line and pray to our Lord Savior, Taylor Swift.

Although my friends all had spots on the list, we were able to stay together until the club opened. They still were not guaranteed a spot in the club but had more of a priority entrance than me. However, when the bouncers started opening up the club, we had to separate. Although that left me alone in the underground, heavily graffitied tunnel full of skateboarders way cooler than I… being stranded led to the most exquisite masterpiece of a new Limited Edition Madrid Experience.

So there I was, standing alone on the drab and raining evening when I caught eyes with a group of three boys walking towards the line. They were all wearing outrageously cool outfits (one of which was wearing a pink and blue fur coat that reached all the way to the ground) and all intoxicated simply by their love for Taylor Swift. Before I could admire their outfits from afar any longer, they were in front of me, complimenting my own clothes. I obviously returned the compliment and proceeded to pull out my camera to photograph them. The moment I asked, “puedo tomar una foto?” they fell head over heels for the little American girl. It was the start of a beautiful friendship.

I told them I was alone for the time being because I was not on the list, and they laughed joyously at my slow Spanish and thick American accent. However when it kicked in that I would be waiting alone for however long it took to completely open the club, they were absolutely appalled. They promptly adopted me as one of their own.

“The girls, gays, and the they’s – we all gotta stick together.”

Agreed, Alejandro.

I was expecting that this would mean they would cut the line and wait with me, but they didn’t come here to wait in lines. These three boys I had just met and instantaneously became friends with were also friends with the DJ, which meant I was also friends with the DJ, by proximity. So they pulled me out of the ticket line, and paraded me up to the doors where they talked to the bouncer, we all paid $10 instead of $24 for a ticket and were the very first people in the building.

We walked in on the DJ playing “Delicate” with absolutely nobody else on the dance floor, and the doors not yet even open to those with the highest priority. I texted my friends that I was inside, and to let me know when they got in. What I received in return was a lot of, “what the fuck”s.

“I have to check my coat!” I told them. It was raining and freezing cold in Madrid that day, but I could already tell the small club would be very hot.

Once again, they had other plans. “You can’t pay 5 euros to check your coat! We will put it behind the DJ stand!”

And just like that, they had ushered my coat off and hung it up behind the DJ, who in turn asked what my favorite Taylor Swift song was. I could definitely get used to this celebrity treatment. (It seems important to note here that the DJ was in fact a straight man, and also very, very attractive.)

Before other people began flooding in, we had the entire dance floor to ourselves with a personal Dj playing all our favorite songs. Not yet having alcohol inhibit our brains, it was nothing but pure joy that allowed us to move on that dance floor. A feeling that can only be related to dancing around your living room with best friends during a sleepover.

In between songs, I came to the realization that only an hour earlier I was waiting in line and had come to the conclusion in my mind that I would not mind if I were to be turned around at the club entrance. I had two midterms Monday morning and did not want to sleep in late Sunday because I had lots of studying to do. Now looking back, I don’t even want to think about the experience I would miss if I had decided to stay home and study. A decision my 17-year-old self would have made in a heartbeat – putting school over everything else. But I have no hard feelings towards her and those decisions because those choices she made allowed me to be where I am right now.

Twenty minutes later after the club had filled up a substantial amount, my friends got in and found me in a big group of people. These boys were not just friendly with me, but also with anyone else who could recite Taylor’s lyrics like it was an Olympic sport.

We split up a bit more during the night as I was reacquainted with more and more of my friends, but we continued to find each other periodically throughout the night to grab hands, jump up and down, and sing the lyrics to whatever Taylor Swift song was playing – we knew them all.

Eventually, it was nearing 4am, which is generally the cap for Naia, Alaska, Aubrey, and me since none of us want to sleep until evening the next day. 

“I have to get my coat,” I told them, and assuming I had also checked my coat in the same place they did, they said we could all go together.

“No, no, my coat isn’t at the check. I’ll be right back.”

They proceeded to watch me make my way up to the very front, bypass the barricade hug the DJ hug me goodbye, then pick up my coat from the rack. That was when they realized the enormity of my new Limited Edition Madrid Experience. Since we live in far different parts of town though, tonight would not be the night to tell it, so I began my walk home as they tried to hail a taxi.

The walk back to my house is 20 minutes, but I live in the city center so there are still a good amount of people out and about at any given time. The more odd the hours though, the more you have to worry about the occasional thief. Sevyn was once walking home and someone just grabbed her phone out of her hand and sprinted away. There’s generally no violence, but there are a lot of pickpocketers.

Even though Naia thought I was crazy for wanting to walk home, it’s one of my favorite things to do. The club is so hot and stuffy and as soon as you walk out those front doors it’s the complete opposite. Clean and crisp air, a slight breeze, and the ability to move around without bumping into five different people. 

I also tend to have the best existential thoughts when I’m walking home at four in the morning. I’m walking in a big city, looking up at the tall buildings that are still glowing with life, notice the other young people stumbling on the sidewalks or kissing in the middle of the street and the only thing running through my mind is, I made it.

The exhaustion of being out so late calms down my brain. The certain part of my consciousness that is always running in circles, telling me that I need to check more items off my to-do list, to study more, to email more people – it’s completely turned off. All that I’m left with are my internal thoughts, no longer muddied by external factors. And tonight, I’m thinking again about 17-year-old Calihan (someone I come back to all too often).

If you were to show a clip of me taking this walk home to myself as a senior in high school, she wouldn’t believe I was truly the same girl. At that age, I didn’t think I would ever be able to move away from my parent’s home or even get to partake in college, much less in Madrid.

Yet here I am, living in Spain as a junior with only nine classes left to graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in economics, art studio, and Spanish.

I was once dead, but now I am so fully alive. And that makes me feel absolutely invincible.

Yours truly,



One response to “I Went to a Taylor Swift Rave”

  1. […] Madrid clubs are so For the Girls! They respect house music, everyone is wearing an impeccable outfit that you can steal inspiration from, and everyone is always looking for more people to sing and dance with. The frat boys are too cool to sing and dance. though. They must instead linger in the back of the room, leaning one shoulder against the wall and suspiciously sipping their expired beer with one hand while the other hand rests strategically in their pocket. As I stood in the dark room that spelt like beer and musk and I realized that they didn’t move the furniture out out this room they simply didn’t have any in the first place and You Belong With Me (not Taylor’s Version) played over the speakers, I found myself dreadfully longing for Alejandro. […]


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