Necto or Rick’s? With all possible respect and affection for the SFF-auction-winning group that last year accompanied me on my inaugural-and-final excursion to Rick’s, the answer has to be Necto, at least on Friday nights. Sure, it’s too loud there, but the floor was perceptibly cleaner. And Necto has a venerable history that Rick’s, despite its shout-out/homage to Casablanca, lacks.

But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. Last spring’s SFF auction contained the following item:

Life is full of choices: Necto, the self-described “hottest nightclub in Ann Arbor,” or Rick’s, the home of the sharkbowl? Dean Sarah Zearfoss buying you a drink, or Dean Evan Caminker buying you a drink? There’s no bad choice here, because these deans will buy you drinks at these bars. Yes, the Battle of the Deans is back, and yes, the Deans will buy you drinks once again. These two items will be auctioned off simultaneously in a head-to-head competition to see which Dean you’d rather hit the dance floor with. Dean Zearfoss (item #19) will pay for cover and a round of drinks for 10 at Necto Nightclub on a Friday night (yes, a Friday night), and Dean Caminker (item #20) will pay for cover and a round of drinks for 10 at Rick’s on a Saturday night (yes, he’s going back). Some things to consider: Dean Caminker had so much fun at Rick’s, he’s ready to go back. Dean Zearfoss has never been to Necto (and has no idea what Fridays are like). Rick’s on Saturday night has sharkbowls … Necto on Friday night has a theme … In case it wasn’t clear, this is Deans, with you, at a nightclub, buying you drinks. Who will win the Battle of the Deans? Whoever wins, we think it’s obvious that we all win. Your shoes must grace the dance floor by February 2012. Due to scheduling difficulties, redemption may not be possible before the conclusion of Winter Term 2011.

And last Friday was pay-up time for me. (I am told that the winning bidders on Dean Caminker’s item are actually not Rick’s aficionados, and that there has been a renegotiation to a tamer spot. Insert graphic and unmentionable derogatory word here, but be assured that its utterance is borne of my own bitter envy at Caminker’s savvy powers of renegotiation. Would that I had the wherewithal for renegotiation. To, say, my house. Where I could wear my slippers. And go to sleep by 10.)

I was instructed by the winning bidders that the only appropriate attire for Necto is animal print. Surprisingly, I do not own any animal print attire. But in the week preceding the Necto event, I was engaged in recruiting travel with my counterparts from Penn and Chicago, both far more adept at shopping than I. An unexpectedly early arrival in Princeton unlocked an hour of unscheduled shopping time, more than enough for them to identify and bully me into buying an animal print sheath. Necto task one: check.

Now, Necto task two: the Lawrence Street home of the soiree’s organizers. I arrived completely timely, which is the Midwestern way, and my hosts were ready with an array of drinks, including PBR. I forewent the PBR, because I am, to be frank, too high-end for that, opting instead for The Arnold Spalmegranate. Delicious.

Necto task three: after choosing my libation, I was introduced to the concept of the Drinking Game. To the best of my recollection, despite an adult life that has not been devoid of alcohol consumption, I have never actually played a drinking game. The concept sort of confounds me. I repeatedly attempted to ascertain from the people nearest me that they knew they had free will, and could drink, or not, at their preference. They were frankly pitying; I was clearly missing the point. Let me now be honest: I faked my way through the drinking game, a complicated venture that involved drawing cards and performing different tasks for each card. I very much enjoyed watching everyone else be serious rule-followers, though. I actually feel I learned a lot—but it was all in the dug-out. Not for sharing.

I was also introduced, at Lawrence Street, to Jell-O shots—yet another item of which I was deprived during what I am starting to recognize may have been an indifferent undergraduate education. A late-joining party member offered these up as a treat, leftovers from the Notre Dame game. Which, I should observe, occurred multiple weeks in the past. Perhaps fresh Jell-O shots are tastier. In any event, note to others who have been similarly deprived: Jell-O shots are to be quickly swallowed, not chewed. I strongly encourage you not to chew.

And then it was time to move to Necto task four: actual Necto!!!!


Is it just me, or is this crew completely adorable? Doubtless, part of our happiness stems from the fact that at least one of us didn’t realize that she was about to imminently lose her hearing for 36 or so hours. (Seriously, kids: if you talked to me at Necto, I almost certainly have no flipping clue what you said. But I meant every word of my response.) It’s hard to identify with certainty my favorite part of the evening, but it may have been when the Alabamian 1L asked me if I knew how to swing dance. I do not. But I told him that anyone could competently dance Necto style, since no one appeared to be paying any attention. It was a very un-judging vibe.

But Necto, as I mentioned previously, has a venerable history. While it now specializes in music that I do not recognize, it used to be home to multiple appearances by bands like the Patti Smith Group, back when it was known as Chances Are, and then Second Chance, and then the Nectarine Ballroom. Patti Smith, I know. Bob Seger, also a devotee of previous Necto incarnations, I know. (And I knew that Seger’s Mainstreet was about Ann Arbor before the New York Times said as much. Weirdly, there appears to be some lively interwebs dispute about whether the song refers to Main Street, Ann Street, or Fourth Avenue. I’m going with Main Street.) The music at Necto, I did not really know. But I can jump up and down as well as the next guy, and that appears to have been all that was required.

I can hardly wait to see what, in a fit of community spirit, I auction up next year.

-Dean Z. Senior Assistant Dean for Admissions, Financial Aid, and Career Planning