One morning last year I was on a Rio bus with my then-girlfriend and we passed by a place that looked like a nightclub and she commented on how she had so many good memories of that place. Curious, and knowing she wasn’t the nightclub type, I asked what she meant. Apparently, a few years before I met her she frequented clubs and went out in the “night” (a Brazilianized word that indicates where people go to have fun at night) a lot more often, yet her fond memories were not of going to that club at nighttime, nor as an adult. Now, both curious and confused, I inquired further and that’s how I came to learn about the matinê.
The matinê, aka baladinha (or, “little nightclub”) is just that, a nightclub, but for teens. It happens during the afternoon and evening in venues that usually open up for adults after the matinê comes to a close. Everything else, aside from the lack of a bar with alcoholic drinks, is similar to a regular club for the over-18 crowd. The kids even have a pre-clubbing routine where they get anywhere from tipsy to drunk before they go in, as it helps them loosen up, be open to hooking up with others and surely to dance. These teen clubs can often be a young Brazilian’s first foray into the world of the ‘ficada’ (see my previous article on ‘ficar’), as the example (in PT) below shows.
Personally, I’m not much of a club person so this option, if it were available to me in the US, wouldn’t have piqued my interest. In fact, aside from the school-sponsored part, I see similarities between the matinê and a high school dance. Being that I lived right next to my school, my friends and I would have a few beers before heading over to the dance, only to end up spending most of the time sitting on the bleachers. Even on nights when there was more dancing than sitting, no one else was making out or going there in order to make out. The matinê, on the other hand, seems to have this as main theme. I mean, what can be expected of a place where kids pretend to be adults, where there’s no parents, hormonal clients (and the female side is dressed provocatively) and music made for “shakin’ what your momma gave you”.
I mentioned my unenthusiastic view of the baladinha to a female friend from the US and the response was, “how is it much different from a house party?” She might have a point there. The house party was the high school dance, sans chaperones. Most times, parents wouldn’t have any idea where their kids were and at least with the baladinha it’s the parents who drop their kids off at the club and pick them up afterwards.
Which do you think is better?