Wednesday

Review: Solo nightlife

Mikal writes...

The freeing anonymity of Life in the City has attracted countless small town big thinkers, homosexuals, and American university students on study abroad programmes to drink heavily (but responsibly) from its cup. Fed up with the crushing provincialism (big thinkers), ritual faggot stone-pelting (homosexuals) and archaic drinking laws (American university students), these groups and a host of others head to the nearest major conurbation, hoping for new experiences. But who do they hang out with once they get there?

The bloke you share your over-priced flat above a chip shop with has a girlfriend he humps every night. Everyone at work is 35 years old plus and lives in Reading. Your foreign language night class is full of women fresh off the charter flight from Faliraki, eager to expand their Greek vocabulary beyond "harder", "faster" and "wrong hole" in order to communicate with new-found loves. All conventional sources of platonic companionship have failed. You have no other choice but to go out alone.

But why does it feel so wrong? Bars, pubs, clubs, lounges and 24 hour kebab shops - don’t these institutions exist to provide a space where urban warriors let down their guard, take off their armour, and actually talk to each other? Everything is conducive to interaction: liquor, dim lighting, uncomfortable furniture. And yet, the irony is that nothing is more isolating and socially counter-productive than going out on your own. Arriving by yourself immediately marks you as some kind of social leper, but engaging in conversation with others is only ever interpreted as desperately seeking a shag. You can’t win.

Solo nightlife: You dont make friends going out - you make friends first, and then you go out with them. If you dont have a handy pool of acquaintances to begin with, you're fucked, and not in the way you had hoped. 3 out of 10.