Is clubbing really that cool?

Image credit: entitee

Clubbing is something everyone seems to do, and everyone seems to enjoy. But how many of us are pretending? I remember being told when I was seventeen that clubbing was “the best thing ever”. Yes, it was exciting at first, a massive party anyone could go to. But soon the novelty wore off and it just seemed like an incredibly boring, time-consuming and expensive activity. And this was in Brighton, a place supposedly famous for its clubbing scene. I just didn’t get what all the fuss was about. And asking other people has revealed that many feel the same way.

It’s nearly midnight. Your eyes are heavy with sleep. Drink has made your lips dry and your tongue limp, no longer able to articulate words. You’ve been queuing for ages in the bitterly cold night air. You’re not wearing much, because you know of the unbearable heat and cloakroom queue inside. You shiver as a breeze blows; air thick with alcohol hits your defenceless nostrils. Finally, your time comes - you hand over another £5, your hand is stamped and the doors are opened. Then the ‘fun’ begins.

The room is dark and overcrowded. A pungent stench lingers like a fog in the heavy cologne- and perfume-filled air. A stench of sweat, spilt drinks, saliva and semen. As music pounds your eardrums, your friends signal to move further in. You slide past sweaty backs, squelching your way to the centre. Arms of overenthusiastic dancers are flung in front of your face. Towering heels tread on your toes. Overly adventurous hands make a grab for your bottom, their owners invisible in the crowd. The music lacks substance but you shimmy and sway with a fake smile plastered on your face. You sing along to songs whose lyrics you don’t believe. Songs you feel you should like because everyone else seems to.

Maybe your eyes meet those of a swaying stranger across the room, making you feel noticed, deemed attractive - despite the sweat sticking your hair to your scalp. But, too keen, they’re coming in for the kill. As attractive as their drink-stained t-shirt is, you politely decline. But they can’t hear you over the music and you’re slurring your words, having drunk yourself into a stupor in your boredom. You turn back to your friends; even though you’ve come with them, you’ve barely been able to say a word to them. It all seems like a waste of time.

Just when you want to leave, your jam comes on, and you come alive like a figurine wound up and released. Though there is not enough room to pull the shapes a song like that deserves, with your friends surrounding you and WKD-fuelled blood pumping through your body, you feel euphoric. It’s moments like this that you remember, that make you think clubbing is great. But really you’re just with your friends, listening to a song you like, without a care in the world. You don’t need to go clubbing for that.

At the end of the night you return home, exhausted, your bank balance severely depleted, and over three hours of your life spent doing something you didn’t even really enjoy. What seems like moments later, you’re awoken by the sound of an alarm. Your head fuzzy and spinning with disjointed memories, you drag yourself to lectures and force your eyes to stay open as your hunch over your work. You spend the rest of the day piecing together fragments of the night, scrubbing the stains from your favourite t-shirt and vowing to everyone you speak to that you’ll never, ever go clubbing again. But one way or another you’ll find yourself in that ominous queue once more.

It seems strange that in a place where time is as precious as pearls, we choose to waste it clubbing so often. That’s not to say that clubbing is never fun. In good company, with good music, it can be. It’s a sort of escape and free from the judgment of day. Rather, it’s to say that there are other, maybe more enjoyable, ways you could spend your evenings: checking out a cocktail bar, participating in a poetry slam or going to a gig. You needn’t pretend any more that you think clubbing is cool.

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