I do sometimes understand why people say I’m not really a girl. In fact, I quite often say it myself, usually when people wonder at my choice of footwear or my disinterest in Jo Malone scented candles and other things Cosmo suggests I should be spending my salary on. Feminism has a long way to go etc etc, but anyway, I’m not a total klutz. I have a reasonable interest in make-up (you kind of have to, if your face suddenly remembers that you got off way too lightly when you were a teenager, and forces you to ditch your 3-for-2 Boots Basics for some high-tech acne combat jiggery-pokery) and since I work in the City, I can’t walk around looking like I slept under London Bridge, much as I might like the extra hour in the morning. That said, there is one thing that fills me with genuine dread, and that is the promise of A Girly Night Out.
I usually get ready for A Girly Night Out with a certain degree of enthusiasm. I like the dressing up at home bit, usually to music and with some form of tipple involved. I like having my make-up done by someone other than me and The Hoff is usually happy enough to let me borrow the contents of her wardrobe. If only you didn’t have to Leave The Flat. Because A Girly Night Out entails dancing and cocktails with elaborate decorative elements, the venue of choice is less likely to be found in or near my beloved Hammersmith & Fulham and thus involves a long-ish journey on public transport, on which the consumption of alcoholic beverages is frowned upon. So not only do I have to tolerate forty minutes of touristy hilariousness on the 94 bus from Notting Hill Gate onwards, I also have to endure this sober. And then you reach your destination – just in time to realise that you are in Piccadilly Circus on a Saturday Night. During the Olympic Games.
I shall refrain from a hearty rant about the many idiocies of tourists in London, a) because I can still remember being one and b) I don’t want to waste an opportunity for a future blog post. Suffice to say that the club we finally ended up queuing for was basically a list of all the reasons why I don’t go to clubs. It had everything: The sparsely-clad bar girls who wouldn’t have looked out of place in a strip club, the inventively be-T-Shirted posse of stag do lads who attempted to put their arms around our waists within five minutes of introducing themselves, the Primark-uniformed European teenagers, the omnipresent smell of sick, a menu that on which the cheapest drink was a 250ml bottle of nondescript Dutch lager for a fiver and Rhianna on infinity loop. Within ten minutes I was plummeted in an abyss of depression I hadn’t seen the likes of since my then boyfriend of three years dumped me on an international call to Russia, and I slumped down at a table by the dance floor, trying to hide from the girls how much fun I was still not having and sending pitiful messages to Soldier Boy.
But! Hope was near, although I wasn’t to know it. Whilst I was re-reading my Twitter feed about how much everyone was in love with Jessica Ennis, someone else was also having a shit time, except she was much better at faking it – or maybe she had merely been drinking for much longer than myself. Either way, Laura, a girl I used to work with, finally came to my rescue, and suggested a pub in Aldgate that was free to get in and played 60s music on Saturdays. Together, we managed to extricate The Hoff, who was already set on enjoying herself, and set off towards Liverpool Street. After a bit of a trek we found The Bell – and it had all the true markings of a great party. A dingy pub, great obscure music that I had never heard of, the clientele a healthy mix of hipsters, people like us and plain old-fashioned weirdos who were all having an absolute BALL, and the best thing, no one looked at me weirdly for dancing without my shoes on or tried to talk to me at all.
Now all I have to do is wait until all the other girls forgive me for ditching them yet again.