Meat Market: A gay bar experience

According to every smart-arse, it’s all downhill when you reach your mid-twenties. Apparently things start to appear differently to you and you start to prefer sipping tea, watching ‘the X Factor’ on a Saturday night, as opposed to hitting the town. Did I believe them? Not at all. Consider myself proved wrong.

A few weeks ago, I turned 26. BAM! Just like that! Last I checked I was 21 and fresh-faced, before I found the joy of chain-smoking and coffee-binges at midnight (I’m so rock and roll that it hurts). Every year when it starts to get closer to my birthday, I talk the talk and tell everyone that I will organise some big event and celebrate the night taking shots of vodka through the eyeball and twerking it out until the wee hours of the morning. Obviously, I don’t really mean it. I’m clever enough to say it early so that people will forget that I had even mentioned it in the first place. I told my friend that I was going to spend my birthday weekend with her in London and that we could mill around the city by day and party hard by night. Not once did I think that I was actually going to attend a nightclub. That is, until I found myself waiting in a que to get into the busiest, most popular gay bar in England.


Yes, yes, it was my idea that we go to Soho for a couple of drinks, which turned into more than a couple of drinks, which then led to us sitting in a burger joint, flirting with the hot Latino waiter for free shots of whiskey (my friend had vodka). I just wanted to see if I still had it, or rather if I still wanted that lifestyle.

It is worth pointing out that at the time of me and my friend (who is female) sitting down for our meal, we were both ever so slightly under the influence of alcohol, and were both convinced that the hot Latino waiter wanted us. She was convinced that he wanted her, and I was convinced that he wanted me (For the record, she’s totally wrong).

Fuelled with burgers and whiskey in our bellies, we trundled off to the gay bar. Upon arriving, I deposited my beloved satchel to the cloakroom and headed to the bar. A couple of tequila shots later and I was way on my way to becoming merry. The music was just what I wanted to hear; Britney Spears, Céline Dion, Christina Aguilera, Beyoncé and the Spice Girls drew me to the dance floor like a mermaid to a ship, and I shook my money maker like there was no tomorrow! Everything was going great, but then, something happened: I opened my eyes.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, the room became packed. We went to the bar, which was surrounded by what looked like a Ken Doll convention. After fighting our way through the plastic and the fake tan, we finally got to give the barman our order. He couldn’t hear us, we couldn’t hear him, and my sobriety was creeping back like a headache on speed. We went outside to intake some much needed nicotine. Dissimilar to a couple of hours previously, the nicely spaced smoking area had become a compact, messy cattle-market, moist with side-glances when somebody new dared to enter the area. Claiming our places in the newly formed sardine can, I looked around. All of a sudden, I went from feeling like a Cockatoo in Chanel to a Puffin in Primark. Everyone (and I mean everyone) that I looked at, looked like they’d walked straight off the catwalk. Fashionably low-cut vest tops revealing bronzed, buff bodies, skinny jeans and whiter than white high-tops seemed to be the uniform of the night. Then there was me, dressed in my black meggings, t-shirt and trilby, sweating from behind the ears, holding onto the fence, swaying and no doubt smelling like cigarettes and tequila. Moreover, everyone looked so damn young!!

Half of the guys that night were hand in hand (or tongue on tongue) with a partner, to the point where I actually googled if it was couple’s night, and the other half were too hostile looking to approach. Almost diva-like, similar to Mariah Carey used to be, before she started to be the face of free online games.

We threw ourselves back into the crowd and fought through to get back into the club. We walked on to the dance floor (I was completely sober at this point), forced our hips to shake a bit, before giving each other the look of “let’s just go”. I went to get in line to retrieve my satchel from the cloakroom when Justin Bieber’s slightly shorter twin barged past me to get to the front of the que.

No, bitch. Not today.


After removing Bieber’s doppelgänger from my grill, the lovely man in the cloakroom shed a cheeky smile and handed me my bag, after complimenting it, which I was grateful for, but really, he had hold of my baby for too long. A quick stop off at a late night supermarket to buy some pasta and a night-bus journey home that took forever (I do not travel on buses. If you know me, you know this well) and we had finally reached our destination! I thought that it must have been about 5am, as I was so tired. It was 2am.

In the end, me and my friend cooked the pasta and ate it, whilst putting the world to rights over another bottle of prosecco. This led to her going to bed and me Facetiming my friend in China, who dared me to drink nearly half a bottle of tequila. The last thing I remember is waking up in the morning.

It turns out that I don’t need to spend a fortune to have a good time anymore. Don’t get me wrong: I loved dancing to the music and shotting tequila, and I really enjoyed being with my friend in that atmosphere when the clock struck 12 and I turned 26 to the sounds of Queen Bey and Xtina, but it’s not something I shall be doing again in a rush.

Call me old fashioned, call me boring, old before my time or a hermit, but these days, all I need are my friends and a bottle of tequila!

Click here for the next instalment

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