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Rite of passage?

On the new year’s eve, I was walking with some friends around the party blocks along Queen street west, near my house. It was an hour or so before midnight but people were already drunk, yelling and acting funny, but nothing unusual. I’m used to this since I live just outside the nightclub zone.

Around the block were a couple of high-end night clubs. As we approached, we couldn’t but feel the difference in the clientele. A limousine drew in front of us and three young guys jumped out with bottles of liquor in their hands. They looked like teenagers, or perhaps in their very early 20’s. They discarded their bottles of liquor in the backyard of a house because there were some police cars ahead.

As I walked further, I saw four girls getting out of a taxi. They were drenched with makeup, wore shiny tight skirts and high heels. All of them were obviously drunk. Bunch of guys yelled cat calls at them from the window of another taxi. Some verbal exchanges ensued.

Then there were lots of police cars (which was what piqued our curiosity in the first place) at the corner. They had cordoned off the area and were expelling patrons from a nightclub. I felt really really old because everyone around me seemed to be barely legal teenagers or in their very early 20s. They were all obviously loaded and very fancily dressed. Why were they being expelled from the nightclub? Overcrowding? Alcohol poisoning? Drugs? Assault? No idea but anything could have happened in there.

The young bunch was drunk and wild. There was lot of kissing, groping, fondling, hands inside pants and what I would describe as “bedroom behaviour” going on. And for a reason, all the girls appeared drunk beyond control, and the guys appeared sober. Something was unbalanced.

I usually strive to deconstruct gender and dismiss notions of “a man’s job” v/s “a woman’s job.” Hence, incidents like this bother me. Why are girls expected to dress in minimal clothing, wear makeup, uncomfortable shoes, etc. while guys can dress conservatively? Clearly, stereotypical gender roles were at play here – a girl must act as a girl and a guy must act as a guy. Who defined that?

It left me with more questions than answers. What was so cool about this? Is it necessary to stoop so low to get sex? Does makeup really make you look pretty? Do you feel like a “guy” if you are leading a drunk girl to you car? But in a society that labels a girl a “slut” and a guy a “champ”, such things are inevitable, isn’t it? Sad.

Just before we left the scene, we saw a girl in a terrible state. She was barely able to walk in her point heel shoes and I bet she was cold too. She had a cellphone in her hand and was screaming “mom! mom!” while desperately holding on to something so she wouldn’t fall. We were about to help when someone came running to her.

Thankfully only a small portion of the population is involved in this gender-stereotyped nightclub culture. All this made me realise how immature and un-sustainable this “rite of passage” to adulthood was. Or maybe I am just getting old and I see reality differently.

Published inSocial Commentary


  1. Mandar Mandar

    Perhaps that is how it is supposed to be, in there.
    Perhaps you haven’t got accustomed to culture as yet!
    Perhaps most of you is still a conservative Indian?

    • Thanks for the comment Mandar,

      However, as you read above, my objection is to the gender and sexual stereotyping that I saw, not to the nightlife itself. That doesn’t make me much of a conservative, does it?

      • Mandar Mandar

        The last line gives different impression … at least I felt so. When a story ends …, it’s lasting impression that counts!

        • Ah, yes, thanks for pointing it out. To make it align with rest of the post, I inserted a word in the last paragraph.

  2. Amod Amod

    Read it almost 4 times (twice on mobile)…but could make out what were u addressing and the story is about…. in nutshell it was a complete bouncer since i m very much poor in understanding english writings….Neways i really appreciate ur writing skills…

    • Amod Amod

      couldn’t *

  3. Prax Prax

    Another great post !
    I think it is all about that uncomfortable age,and point of life when people will do almost anything to fit in.

    • I agree. Fear and insecurity of being left out…

  4. Gautami Gautami

    I guess it is abt being cool . Everyone is just interested in looking cool.(I have seen kids who can’t even speak their mothertounge. Someone of them r just ashamed of it. English is the cool language(we r forgetting that language is just a medium of communication). Being a maharashtrian, I love Marathi.
    The same logic applies to the girls u saw that night(they were just following some stupid fashion trends, high heels and wearing tons of makeup. Just to fall in cool group.

    • True, when you are in that age group, it all looks good. But I guess I’m getting old and it seems worthless now 😀

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