In the spring of 1991, I was living in Hollywood and had gone out on a Friday night with some friends from my apartment complex, one of whom was a model and was very connected in the L.A. club scene. We ended up at Tramps in the basement of the Beverly Center and got whisked right in thanks to my friend Jody’s connections.
After about a half hour or so, one of my friends told the group “Don’t stare, but that’s Prince over there in the corner booth.” As subtly as I could, I glanced across the way to see a diminutive man in sunglasses and a huge turned-up white collar surveying the scene as his leggy, beautiful date sat looking bored beside him.
Jody acted unimpressed and cool about the whole thing while the rest of us were geeking out that we were so close to greatness. I pulled her on the dance floor to work out my nervous energy, and a few minutes later the DJ began to play a medley of Prince tunes. I turned around to see Prince standing right beside me on the dance floor, dwarfed by the statuesque brunette he’d brought. For about ten minutes (but seemed like an eternity), I was dancing next to my musical hero. I was giddy, but held it together.
After Prince had taken his seat in his booth again, I noticed that most of the floor had cleared until it was just myself and my friend dancing to Prince’s music, while he watched. I’d never felt so self-conscious in my life, but yet so alive. Stepping off the floor, we were approached by one of the Purple One’s entourage. “Prince wanted to let you guys know he enjoyed watching you dance,” he told us, then moved swiftly back to the corner. I was shaking.
Later, after we had decided to call it a night and head home, we stood at the coat check waiting as his phalanx of bodyguards approached and passed us on their way out to the limo. As Prince passed us, he turned his head and gave a slight smile and a nod.
By the time we got home and headed to the hot tub to wind down, we had all managed to level out but my friend Jody, who’d been too cool for school earlier, was suddenly babbling like a teenager on Red Bull to anyone who’d listen. I just sat back and enjoyed the moment.
I will always have that night and that memory. Thank you, Prince. #RIP