The Gender Gap: Nightclubs

Nightclubs have a unique kind of currency. It isn’t sex. It isn’t alcohol. Nor is it the expensive white powder that decorates the toilet seats.

Instead, it comes in the form of hot girls: models, actresses, singers, girls caked in makeup, girls with fit bodies, girls who once appeared in the background during an episode of Made in Chelsea.

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Whilst it would be erroneous to argue that a nightclub’s ultimate raison d’être was anything but stone cold cash, their whole precept, it seems, would crumble in the absence of the HG currency. High range nightclubs flourish on a notion of catering to the elite: ‘the hottest night in London’, ‘one of London’s most exclusive clubs’, ‘sophisticated debauchery’.

Everyone is buying into one pretence or another: in the same way as girls want to look more attractive, young men dress to look older and wealthier, wealthy businessmen buy champagne-laden tables in order to try and look younger, more party-loving and desirable. But to justify these pretensions, customers expect a cornucopia of beautiful girls. What else would drive this culture? What else would make it exclusive in the first place?

The entrance policies work accordingly. Entry charges are reduced or obsolete for girls, sometimes qualified by a ‘girls free before 11’ policy. Most people have a vague understanding of how this works. Girls- particularly the most attractive ones- will generate profit by their very attendance, because men are expected to buy them drinks; not the other way around. Why is this? Does this presuppose an unspoken sense of debt? Is the awkward inequality justified by a sense that women will later ‘put out’ to justify expenses rendered? Perhaps. Perhaps not. But this is the mentality underlying the club culture. So bring the girls in first. They will pay their way by their coquettishness, at the very least.

When does this concept fail? It’s well-known that promoters get commission for every individual that enters the club. It is less well-known, of course, that at some London clubs, if a girl is deemed too unattractive or overweight to earn their ‘profit’, then this commission is held back. As the rumour goes, girls’ names may be marked with a ‘U’ (‘Ugly’) or ‘F’ (‘Fat’) on the guestlist, if this is the case. In other circumstances, girls might be instantly rejected. These cut-throat measures are taken in a warped world where supermodels and Hollister employees rule the roost.

So, if women form a currency as long as they are attractive enough to ‘earn their keep’, what does this say about us if we don’t? The phrase that springs to mind is one I remember being tossed about by boys I knew when I was 14. ‘Wastegash’. At the time, I remember it being insulting in a way that appalled me. There seemed to be some insidious, larger threat behind it. It is only now that I am old enough to understand why this is.

‘Gash’ in itself is a derogatory term. Its modern usage has yet to enter the Oxford English Dictionary, but we all know what it is. It is the term for the female genitalia, summoning a rather graphic visual parallel between a deep, bloody cut and an opening in a woman’s body. Quite charmingly, this notion was then developed to be synonymous with ‘women plural’. So when this is made into a compound word with the term ‘waste’ (‘any materials unused and rejected as worthless or unwanted’), the implication is that women’s being is worthless; a redundant form of would-be commodity. Ponder how sickening this is, for a moment.

There would be some consolation if this concept was reserved to 14 year old boys, whilst their bubbling testosterone competes with their still-developing sense of humanity. There would be, if not for the fact that it is exactly the same precept employed by nightclubs, where a women’s value is almost singularly calculated by their attractiveness.

Let’s bear in mind that the average nightclub plays its music at 100dB. Wit, humour and kindness, virtues which might recommend women elsewhere, become more irrelevant than ever in an environment where dancing and hand gestures inevitably replace conversation. And such qualities are certainly not factored in at the door. Not that it is any different for men; their position in this whole charade is not much better. Few male students or young working men have the kind of money necessary to attract drunk women in their swarms, like flies to a honeypot, the way that an older businessman boasting a table might do. Nor is the entrance policy much easier unless they walk with enough ‘bitches’ on their arm to supply a Snoop Dogg video (forgive me, Snoop Lion.) But the difference lies in how they are valued. Not having enough currency to satisfy a club is one thing. Being the currency is another. 

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Follow me on Twitter @ChezSpecter

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