There’s something endearing about glaring lights, sticky floors, overpriced drinks, and music that leaves your ears ringing. Clubbing is back! Are you a first-timer, slightly confused about what to expect? Or are you a club lover, itching to get back on the dance floor? Regardless of your stance, if you’re looking for some dos and don’ts, accompanied by vaguely satirical anecdotal experiences, you’ve come to the right place.
“I don’t feel like going out,”, “I’m going to have a quiet one in tonight,”, “I’ll just have one drink,” — all phrases I’ve said before a big night out. After a year and a half of being stuck indoors, actually getting dressed up, going out, and interacting with other people can seem exhausting, despite being an incredibly exciting prospect. Regardless of how unmotivated I initially feel, excitement surpasses exhaustion as soon as I arrive at pre-drinks. Although – one time, I got too excited at the potential prospect of heading out, and stacked it on a Tube escalator before I even reached the club.
Clubbing is a very unique and fun experience, but it can also be very overwhelming. My biggest piece of advice would be to wear something that you feel comfortable and confident in. There are a lot of perceived ideas regarding how to dress for a night out, and about how much you’re meant to drink, and about how late to stay out… the list goes on. Ultimately, all these variables are entirely up to you, so you shouldn’t feel pressured to behave or dress in a certain way to appease others. It’s all about you! Sometimes I wear make-up and heels; other times I’ll be in a crop top and trainers. (It’s worth double-checking the venue as some places have specific dress codes.)
It can sometimes feel as though you have to ‘pull’ on a night out in order for it to be successful — this simply isn’t the case. If you want to, you absolutely can – as long as everything is consensual. But equally, if you just want to have a dance with your friends, then that’s exactly what you should do.
Recently, I visited a bar in Harrogate, and a man in the queue started trying to convince me that my glasses were fake, despite the fact that I’ve been a glasses-wearer since I was seven. He was adamant and relentless, to the extent that he even removed my glasses from my face to attempt to prove his point. Needless to say, I decided to relocate to a different part of the queue. It does make for a pretty strange night-out story. I’m not sure who told him that gaslighting was an effective form of flirting, but I definitely missed the memo. As a result of situations like these, my second piece of advice would be to always go out in a group. Not only is it a lot of fun to go out with a big group of friends, but if something happens that you’re not comfortable with, for any reason, you have people around you that you know and who can help and support you. It’s really important to be vigilant, as unfortunately you can never predict exactly what people will be like in clubs, particularly if you live in a big city. Going clubbing on student nights can help with this, but it’s always worth being careful. Never leave your drink unattended (even take it with you to the toilet) and always watch the bartender make your drink, especially if someone offers to buy it for you. These may seem like excessive precautions, but it’s definitely worth taking the ‘better safe than sorry’ approach, as spiking is a very real occurrence.
The best nights out are the ones where you’re feeling comfortable, confident, and excited, surrounded by a group of friends to hype you up and have fun with (followed by cheesy chips at the end of the night, of course). But equally, if you go clubbing and realise that it’s not for you, that’s absolutely fine. I love clubbing, but I’d honestly burn out if I went out six nights a week. I know I’d rather go to the pub or have a quiet night in sometimes, and that’s completely acceptable. It’s all about finding a balance and figuring out what you need, so get out there — you never know until you try!