Last night we went for a night out in Manchester to celebrate a friend’s birthday. We went for some brilliant cocktails at The Alchemist (mine came bubbling with dry ice and changed colour!) and had a fantastic meal at Australasia. All very well suited to two couples in their late 30s/40s. Then, having consumed a number of cocktails and one or two glasses (and by glasses I mean bottles!) of wine, we thought it would be a good idea to go find an establishment in which to carry on drinking.
On the advice of the very friendly (and I might add a lot younger waitress), we joined the queue for her first recommended venue. Once we made it past the bouncers who, for some reason, didn’t feel the need to ask us for ID despite asking everyone else, we promptly decided that the music was way too loud and the floors too sticky and so left to join the queue for her second recommendation.
This was better, with a live band playing at a less painful volume, and enough space for us to find table to perch at and dance around. The music was pretty good, the atmosphere fun and everyone looked to be having a good time.
I do enjoy having a good dance and have been known to drag various friends and unsuspecting work colleagues to a club. And, despite my advancing years, I have never felt too old to be doing such things. But last night, for the first time ever, I did feel too old.
I’m not sure if it was the clothes the young girls were wearing (or, more accurately, not wearing). Or the fact that, although we knew the songs they played, we knew the original version – not the latest club mix that meant you’d be left hanging mid-lyric as you belted out the chorus. There’s also the knowledge that most of the people in the club weren’t even born when the song was released for the third time, let alone the first!
Maybe it was seeing the age-old mating rituals that occur in clubs, remembering it was fun at the time (well, some of the time!) but certainly glad those days are long over. Or, perhaps it was watching a young girl being chatted up by a very much older man at the end of the night and being worried her friends had left without her (luckily they hadn’t as I was very close to dragging her away myself in the embarrassing mum kind of way).
And maybe that was the thing that really got me – seeing all these young girls half-dressed and drunkenly throwing themselves at whichever young (or even old) man was left untaken at the end of the night – in the knowledge that it could be my own daughter in not that many more years time.
How I will ever let her out of the house to go clubbing when she’s older I don’t know. Even though that makes me a complete hypocrite, given that I was off out clubbing at 16. Were we as bad as they are today? We did get drunk, our skirts were quite short and it was pretty much all about boys. But I honestly don’t think we were quite as bad as some of the things I saw last night. Or maybe we were and I’m just seeing it differently, being older and a mum now. And so perhaps I shouldn’t worry too much when the time comes for Sophie to do the same – my friends and I all survived reasonably unscathed. But it still worries me.
I guess all I can do is try and teach Sophie how to look out for herself and her friends, to know her limits and to make the right decisions. How? I’m not sure yet but hopefully I’ll figure it out in the next eight years or so!
And despite feeling my age last night, I am sure my own clubbing days aren’t over. I just think perhaps I need to stick to clubs that cater to an older crowd! Anyone up for a 90s night?!