29 Apr 2013

Men, Music, Money and Made-Up Menstruation

So I recently spent, or rather endured, one of three clubbing experience in Paris.  I've been to the odd bar which has had a dance floor but Mix Club is the first place (apart from the awful boat party and Halloween disco) that I consider to be a proper club.

We arrived in a pack of six - three girls, three boys - assuming that the girls would get free entry because, let's face it, girls in Paris always get free entry.  But apparently not this time.  We paid a whopping €15 entry fee each, having shown our IDs to the rather hefty bouncers at the door.  I was already starting to regret my decision.

Once inside, we walked down the staircase onto the main floor, dotted with sweaty, scantily-clad individuals doing their sexy moves to horrendous European music.  The joys.  I was about to walk through the second entrance before I was pushed away by a bouncer who told me I had to put my bag and blazer in the cloakroom.  Perhaps I'd find this understandable if I were attempting to carry a large suitcase brimming with illegal drugs onto the dance floor, but quite the contrary - it was a little handbag which contained the usual suspects: phone, wallet, lipgloss, keys...nothing out of the ordinary.  Still, the man was adamant that I check my bag in.  I told him I didn't want to but this was irrelevant: he wasn't listening.  I got pretty frustrated so I went off on a rant and said in French "firstly, this jacket has no pockets so I'm hardly hiding anything.  Secondly: you expect a menstruating woman to leave her handbag in the cloakroom? Is this some sort of joke?"  Yes, I threw the word "menstruation" at a French bouncer because any politically correct person would smile and let me through without question.  Most men are wimps when it comes to periods so I thought he'd freak out and let me slip through.  He tried not to look awkward as I repeated "menstruation" about five times to prove the gravity of my point.  (nb: I was lying, but naively thought that making up an excuse about periods might work.  He's clearly never had a girlfriend.)

I was adamant that it was all a scam to turn us into penniless paupers.  They charged me €6 to use the obligatory cloakroom and to say I was infuriated would be an understatement.  I didn't have any money left in my purse to buy alcohol to desensitize myself from the emotional trauma.  I noticed that even those not carrying bags were also being ripped-off; forced to remove their jackets and pay the cloakroom fee.  I saw one guy having an argument with the bouncer after he told him to remove his waist-coat.  Apparently we're only allowed one layer of clothing; guess I'll be going braless then.  Netherless, I waltzed on through with my blazer firmly on before he could grab me and throw me back into the queue.  I saw him do a double take as he noticed me but just as he was about to open his mouth, he got distracted by some rather "chesty" women trying to complain left, right and centre.  Either way, I'd have told him I had a contagious skin disease and that I'd take him to court if he didn't let me keep it on.  Of course I soon took it off in front of him and smirked evilly at him as if to say "ha! gotcha!"

When I arrived at the bar I did my best girl-next-door impression and asked the bartender for a glass of water.  "That'll be €8" he replied.  €8?  €8?  You're telling me that after paying €21 for entry and the cloakroom that you have the cheek to charge €8 for a glass of water?  I complained that I had a headache and that I couldn't afford it.   Water is a right after all, not a luxury.  Aren't their laws about this?  He scowled and said "here's a cup then, and go get your water from the toilets".  "But can I drink the water in there?" I stammered, aghast.  He shrugged and served the next customer.  So I took my plastic cup, went to the bathroom and filled it up from the tap.  I downed a few glasses and it seemed OK.  Five minutes later I felt like retching over the toilet.

I danced with my friends despite not feeling so great (had to get a slither of my money's worth at any rate), but after two hours of being in the club I'd really had enough "fun" for one evening.   Looking around me I saw girls with microscopic shorts which could definitely have passed as underwear.  Short, greasy men who could have passed as convicts were grinding up to them.  Some of the girls were enjoying it, but I saw one girl slap a man before screaming "get off me!"  He then followed her off the stage and into the darkness.  I also noticed plenty of girls wearing tops with so many slits and cut-outs that there was more skin than material on show.  I didn't really see the point of this "fashion statement" but it seemed to be infectious. 

After collecting my belongings, I left with my friend Hannah and we went in hunt for a night bus. This was the second time I've ever been on a night bus and I wasn't thrilled about the prospect but it was either that or walk home.  I was not going to pay for a taxi after the amount of money I'd already had to part with that evening.  After teetering around in my humungous heels and failing to find a bus map which made any sense, I was on the verge of giving up and camping out in the bus shelter.  Various drunken morons had come up to me to ask if I wanted to join them but I told them to "jog on" in the politest way possible.

But all was not lost because I soon caught sight of an info booth with a friendly man sitting behind it. Thank God - someone who knows what they're talking about!  The man pointed over to the bus stop I'd need to wait at and told me to take the N12.  After waiting approximately 15-20mins, the bus arrived and I hopped on.  I asked the driver if the bus went to Dupleix but he said that I'd have to change at Chatelet.  This wasn't ideal but what was the alternative?  When I got to Chatelet I found another information booth and asked to be pointed in the right direction.  The man pointed to a bus stop and told me to get on the N12.  But I was just on the N12?  I soon found out that I'd originally been put on an N12 going in the wrong direction, and no-one had told me.

Whilst waiting at the second bus stop, I was accosted by a drunkard who was speaking to me in gibberish.  I shrugged and said "I'm English, and I don't understand the bus timetable so if you want my help...I can't give you any".  Another man waiting at the bus stop proved to be more helpful and told me the bus didn't stop at Dupleix (my stop) but how I should get off at Charles Michel which wasn't too far away.  I smiled and thanked him.  The drunkard then started making suggestive remarks about how me and this French guy would be getting on and off the bus at the same time.  He repeated it about four times until the other man said "je suis gay" and then walked away angrily, leaving the drunk man all to me. He was starting to get on my nerves so I said "look, I don't see why me taking the same bus as this other person is so interesting to you.  Your life must be so dull if this is all you have to think or talk about".  He paused and said "you're right" and then he shut up.

There was never a greater feeling than when I finally reached my front door and slammed it shut behind me.  I was safe.  And certain that I was never going clubbing in Paris, ever again.

Watch this space.