Wednesday, September 19, 2012

An Upstart Crow Says "God Save the Queen(s)"

“My muffin-top is all that,
whole-grain, low fat.
I know you want a piece of that,
but I just wanna dance!”
-Jenna Maroney (Played by Jane Krakowski), 30 Rock

I’d like to take this time to talk to you a little bit about nightlife. Being in the UK has been an adjustment in many ways. One of the more fun of these is that here I’m legally able to drink. Given that I’m here with fourteen other people of roughly the same age and we all have a three-day school week, I’ve ended up taking advantage of this cultural difference on a fairly regular basis.

Before I go any further, let this be a disclaimer that I’ve still been here a short time and that all of the conclusions I’m about to draw are based on an admittedly limited experience. That being said:

I’m here with a group of theatre students. Therefore, it shouldn’t be surprising that the majority of the guys are gay. As a result, I’ve been along to a couple of… drinking establishments inclined towards a homosexual clientele. Now, in the states, that sentence, to most people conjures an image like this:

You have no idea how difficult it is to Google Image Search "gay club" and find a picture that isn't porn.
And that was what I was prepared for. Not looking forward to, but prepared for. And at both the gay nightclub and the gay pub we went to I was very surprised.

Are You Sure This Is a Gay Pub?

One of our professors suggested it, calling it a “rainbow pub.” When we went inside and had a pint, the only difference between it and literally every other pub I’ve been in since arriving is that it was slightly cleaner, slightly better lit, and the patrons were, on average, slightly younger. I’m still convinced that it’s just a regular old pub. Maybe a good number of gay people happen to go there, but my impression was if that’s the case, it’s strictly coincidental.

That was just a precursor to the gay club, however, which was likewise confusing. Not as much, mind, it was, indeed, very clearly marketed as a club for a primarily gay crowd. But, if you go inside and look around, yeah there are more men on the floor than you’d see in a heterosexual establishment, and yeah there is quite a bit more Rihanna and Katy Perry on the playlist, but compared to some of the theatre department’s off-campus parties back in the States, the place was a Sunday school as far as I saw. Also, I’m not entirely sure why there were a bunch television monitors all throughout the club playing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Now, granted, as a straight guy I didn’t exactly seek out the illicit side of this establishment, so I’m not going to discount the possibility that there was an all-male orgy happening just outside of my line of sight, but for the most part people just seemed interested in dancing.

And I think that’s the cool part. As a guy, when you go out, there is a certain expectation that you will at least think about attempting to hook up with a girl, but at a gay club, where every girl is either a lesbian or firmly in the entourage of her gay friend(s), the pressure is off. You can just have a drink or two and just dance, which is a nice change of pace.

Plus there was no cover charge on that particular night, so that was nice.

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