Day #2.5: Pucker Up! (waaaay too long post, read ayor)

I was anticipating dinner after a long stretch with nothing but the left over chips from the airplane to sustain me. After a good afternoon nap, I awoke ready to peek out at London and figure what would be in store. Before that, a shower. A shower always washes the stench of travel off. The smell of airplane food, old cigarettes, and sweet perfume. I feel weak and sore after long plane rides from sitting too long and atrophying. I think… well I would likely die quickly if anything ever happened to me. I am not built to withstand these conditions.
My hostel, the Astor Museum in Bloomsbury is quaint and inviting. I am in room 45, a four bed mixed gender room at the very top of a set of small windy stairs, ones that I will surely fall down if I am too drunk. The bathroom is down the hall, but not by much and I am pleased. There are four levels beyond this with more rooms, most much larger than mine and then there is the common area and kitchen. After my shower, in hopes of finding a pleasant gluten/dairy free meal I head down to the commons to ask some questions.
I am stopped by Abby, the girl I met at the reception desk. “Nicole, are you coming to the pub crawl? You are right on time!” I was not anticipating a pub crawl, I was anticipating a satisfying meal that would stop my stomach from eating itself.
“Yes, I’m going,” and I hand over 10 pounds and await my wrist band and stand in line with other younger, more restless hostelers awaiting a night of booze and debauchery.
I try to introduce myself to a few girls, but I am not up for the occassion because I am sick and tired. Yes, literally both of these things, with a runny nose and a light fever. I am also not socially lubed up yet. It is hard if not impossible for me to sustain a conversation with new people under these conditions, so I decide that in order to actually have fun with these people I am going to have to risk staying sick for longer and drink up.
The walk began with awkward silence, the way any walk with lots of random strangers tends to start, but Peter, a guy from Zurich decides to ask me my name and I think perhaps I should give him a fake one and don’t because the hostel staff already know my name. This is a good decision, because later we go on round-abouts of everyones names so as not to forget anyone and not forget the evening. Peter is nice, but shy and easily maleable. I can tell from the beginning he is to be avoided and when we arrive at our first pub, I make my way over to Abby and her visiting friend Rachel from Brooklyn. A drinking game begins as we enter, a game I am unwilling to play because I am jet lagged, sick, and black. Okay… black isn’t a good excuse, but I’m making it one. I drink a glass of wine and after half a glass am struck with the feeling that tonight’s both going to be a good night and a very bad night.
At each bar we get one free shot. It is almost madness having a group of 24 hostelers sidle up to the bar looking for free shots and feeling very entitled. My first shot is of Pucker. Have I even had said drink since I was 21? Likely not, but perhaps being almost 30 in London is the same thing as 21 in America and I drink it like a champion. I am now one large grin. We are onto our second pub.
A new drinking game ensues when we reach Slug and Lettuce, which mainly consists of holding your drink in your left hand the entirety of the night and the poor hapless fool that gets caught with it in their right has to drink. I was a hapless fool many times over and as the end of the second bar approached was quite ready to throw in the towel.
“Let’s get food!” Rachel said as we exited the bar on our way to a club. My stomach flipped with excitement. I was ready. It didn’t get readier than this, my eyes darted about looking for my next slaughter. “Groop peektcha” said Benjamine our french guide. The second bar had made most of us become fast friends as Journey came on and Abby told us a rip roaring story of the Hamptons and seeing the best cover band of Journey that actually was Journey. Fast friends, taking pictures, led us to the next site and Rachel and I foodless on the streets of London.
As we entered the club we circled the bar for our third shot of the night, more Pucker. More pictures were taken and the bad dancing began. I love dancing because dancing with people makes short friendships easy and manageable, no talking, just gestures and smiles. It’s all hip movement and darting eyes. Sexy Back came on and the girls wandered to the floor where we danced and were watched and tugged at by varieties of men. Note: When avoiding men, always dance in a group of three or more girls. Do the three girl triangle in order to keep men out. Stare directly at each other and make absolutely no eye contact with outside parties. The men may attempt to dance with you, but will soon feel the force-field of woman power and dance themselves into a stupor over some other unlucky lady. Avoid two girls at all costs, because unless you’re actively looking for a threesome, the two girl combo only leads to lusty fantasies about you two and him in some skeeeeezy hotel. End Note
The final club came and there was still no food and I had finally given up hopes of ever seeing it and downed a gin and tonic instead along with what? My final free shot of the night. You do not give up free or should I say “complimentary.” Here is where I made the mistake of going downstairs alone to check out the scene. I love dancing and will do so whenever I can, but forgot to follow the rules. It was pretty clear seconds in that I was in danger or dancing with hot weirdo, creepy dude, other random guy, and that dude that wants to make out one second after you start dancing without even asking your name. These are all true, these all did happen. Luckily my girls streamed through the crowd and became my little angels. Last guy on the list was very persistent and even with no’s from me aaaaaand my girls continued to follow me around. “Just get to know me, you’ll like me.” Well, thus far I didn’t and so lied, “I’m sorry, I have a boyfriend back home.” “Oh.” Finally he walked away.
What I learned from this night. Yes, London is super fun and there are great clubs with great music. No, I cannot go out and party by myself. In America I’ve always felt relatively safe and haven’t really had to worry about guys following me about. Since I don’t know my surroundings very well, I am going to stick with at least one other girl at all times. I also learned that, I won’t be drinking Pucker again and will leave that to the 21 yo’s, I would say you should do the same.
London is great so far, but I’ve only experienced one night of it. Tonight, I write this blog and go to sleep awaiting a fun filled day of more sun, more people, more discoveries and more ideas about what to blog about. So goes Day 2.5.

One thought on “Day #2.5: Pucker Up! (waaaay too long post, read ayor)

  1. At a certain point the two- or three-girl thing isn't going to work. It normally doesn't work over there to ignore the guy and hope that he goes away, no matter how many girls there are. Ignoring them seems to have the opposite effect. You're gonna have to say "go away," or something to that effect. And you saw how THAT worked! Later (in other countries) they will want to "practice their English . . . ." Sounds like you're having a great time!!

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