Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Boogie wonderland

Early last school year, shortly after I met Marianne and had asked her to describe the city of Aberdeen to me, she told me it was made up entirely of clubs and pubs. Now, having spent the past 12 months getting to know her, I understand that Marianne is prone to exaggeration. This particular observation, however, was hardly an overstatement.

The day after arriving in Aberdeen, Marianne took me on a walking tour of Aberdeen. She's spent a few summers in the past as a tour guide in Edinburgh, so showing a newcomer around was no challenge for her. Especially when most of the narration consisted of, "There's a club...there's another one, that's a good one...that's a vodka bar, that means they just sell different mixed drinks with vodka in them...no, I'm not kidding...oh, there's another vodka bar right next to it...there's a church that's been converted into a dance club...no, I'm not kidding again...there's a bar with a really good dance floor...there's a church...there's a vodka bar right next to it...I think that's a bank...no, it's a pub..."

There are, in fact, so many clubs in Aberdeen that they're not allowed to build anymore. To cope with this, they've started converting old churches into dance clubs. Some of them even seem to be retaining the religious themes, which is kind of appalling and kind of too funny for words.

I've been out dancing every night since coming here. Since the drinking age is lower, it's actually legal for college-aged kids to enjoy the nightlife. It consistently floors me that American young adults are totally excluded from going out and having a drink or a good place to dance, because it's not like people between the ages of 18 and 21 have proven themselves unable to handle either of those things. It's American kids who end up going to underground parties and learn to equate "drinking" with "getting wasted." Gah.

Oh, and paying a cover to get into a club? Virtually unheard of here. ROCK ON.

Clubbing being taken seriously as a young adult pasttime has only one drawback, as I experienced my very first outing: you have to dress up a bit if you expect to be let in on a busy night. I was rejected three times for wearing tennis shoes ("trainers" over here), rather discouraging but almost understandable when I saw how nice the guys looked inside the first club that let me in. (Yeah, just the guys -- girls already get dressed up nice to go out dancing.)

Also, straight guys can dance here. They dance together when girls aren't paying attention to them. It's hot. So very hot.

Last night, Marianne and I went on a mission to aquaint ourselves with the Gays of Aberdeen, or at least where they like to hang out. Apparently there are only a few exclusively gay clubs, but they are pretty nice. Probably nicer when there are actually people in them. (It was Sunday night.) We made friends with a gay bartender who lamented the state of gay nightlife in Aberdeen, telling us how the former big gay club burned down. It was rebuilt, but never attained its former glory.

Again, there's so much more to say, but I'm hogging Rosie's internet. I'll be back as soon as I can with details about how I got the room that overlooks the courtyard and Marianne got the room that overlooks a cemetery.


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