I love clubbing. I love getting dressed up, spending an obscene amount of time on my hair and nails, dancing to songs I’m only a huge fan of after a couple of drinks, and choosing regretful takeaway food for the walk home. However, there’s something about being in a darkened space with a lot of alcohol sloshing around inside you that seems to bring out the worst in people.
I worked in a nightclub for five months in my second year of university, bartending and hanging up people’s coats. I needed the money and mistakenly believed that I could cope with the unsociable hours whilst still keeping on top of my university work. During that time I was not only crabby and pale with exhaustion, but largely put off the clubbing experience.
Drunk people are not the best customers. Moments of hilarity are outweighed by the sexist comments, the name-calling when they decide to change their drink order and not tell you, and the moment when there’s a massive queue and the person you’re serving has forgotten what they want. I remember being screamed at by a girl in my Romantic and Victorian Poetry seminar because I told her the price for two coats in the cloakroom. It’s not okay to be rude, just because you’ve got a few vodkas and cranberry under your belt.
The management aren’t much better. The high turnover of staff means that the people in charge view their employees as worryingly dispensable. And to listen to them, apparently blonde hair and large breasts guarantee that you’ll be better at making Jagerbombs...
We, the clubbers, the patrons, the customers, have a responsibility to keep it together. After the hundredth night of watching girls flashing their knickers, dribbling vomit down their dresses and wailing in drunken hysterics because the boy they liked kissed someone else, I was forced to question my own behaviour when clubbing. There is a bargain to be struck here, and if patrons uphold their end, then nightclub management and employees have a duty to treat their customers with a degree of respect. I would advise any person considering working in a club to earn extra cash to get clued up on your rights as an employee, working at night.
I still go clubbing with friends, but not as often as I used to, partly because as a postgraduate there is less time to spare and also because I am always mindful of my time bartending. I have to remind myself that the act of being at a nightclub does not mean that bouncers and doormen have the right to treat you however they like. They exist to make sure the night runs safely and smoothly, not to unleash random violence on patrons or make leery comments to your chest while you queue for entry. Oh, and when you’re out clubbing, please be nice to the person serving you your drinks!