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Nightclubs are dying. Here are 8 things we certainly won't miss.

When I was - ahem - younger, Saturday nights used to mean one thing. 

Get out the Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs, prepare to be cold (because no jacket will spoil this outfit, sorry Mum), and gather ‘round the ‘goon bag’ because tonight we’re going clubbing

While I’m no longer sure anyone promises to “carve up the d-floor”, nightclubbing has firmly remained an Australian rite of passage. Turn 18, prepare to line up for a night of drinks and dance moves that you will be sure to regret tomorrow. 

But hold the wet p***y shot! Because the world seems to be moving on.  

Yep, more than a quarter of Australian nightclubs have closed their doors in recent years, part of a larger global trend, reports the ABC

Covid lockdowns, rising running costs, an ever-increasing cost of living, and a trend that’s seeing young people opt for the bar over the club are some of the key drivers of the change. 

Watch: Nightclubs in decline. Article continues after video.


Video via ABC.

Is the nightclub dying?

Perhaps. 

If so, this is most certainly what we won’t miss…

1. The getting ready routine.

I’m pleased to report I've definitely re-written this process over the years. 

But back ‘then’ - circa 2008 - I was in my early 20s, and white legs were a social sin (seems like the rest of my body didn't matter?). 

I had been banned from applying tan in the bathroom - or anywhere inside the house - after once leaving what resembled a muddy murder scene. Henceforth, I was forced sans-pants to apply my bronze glow (read: orange hue) in the backyard.

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But first, one must have been freshly waxed (the blessing of laser was yet to arrive). 

Hair was always straightened. Dead straight. 

And outfit options were discussed between friends on Messenger (LOL). Usually from Wednesday onwards.

2. The cheap 'pre's'

Pre-drinks - or 'pre's' - were essential, because, like, it was outrageous to spend $10 per drink… at the club. 

One must have been suitably tipsy before entering, and on a uni student budget, that usually meant meeting with your mates beforehand and pitching together for boxed wine AKA - the 'goon bag’ - and some juice and fizz to make it semi-drinkable. Let’s call it punch! How bougee!

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Not really. 

If you were actually bougee, you’d drink Passion Pop.

3. The queue - and the cover charge. 

Remember shivering in a long line before a thuggish stern-faced bouncer? He, almighty one, was bestowed with the power of granting the privilege of entry.

(Like, settle down, Paul, you’ll let everyone enter. You’re just on a power trip and drawing it out to feign exclusivity and create buzz and attract people that are dumb enough to stand in the line. Like me.)

And yay! We made it in (of course we did!), and you don’t even mind paying the $20 cover charge. 

For what exactly? I’m not sure, but it certainly wasn’t for keeping the den nightclub clean, because… 

4. The sticky floors… and… The Bathrooms. 

You could be the first person through those doors, and the floors will be sticky. Always. Perpetually imbued with the spilt drinks, shards of broken glass that end up embedded into the sole of your shoe, and the sweat of those who dance upon it. 

As for the bathrooms, well, put your hand up how many times you’ve seen things you wish you could unsee, or heard things you wish you could unhear… Like, when bestie mixed her drinks, and good Lord, hold her hair back. Quick.

5. The men. 

Urgh. Do we really have to talk about them? I’d really prefer to block out the large cesspool of unremarkables we've encountered. 

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But I know, some girls were lucky enough to meet their “one” at a club. 

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They were clearly going to a different club than me...

Because there was always that creepy guy on the edge of the dancefloor that stared at you. Constantly.

The guy that shocked you when you thought your friend was dancing behind you, but you turned around, and no, it’s him. And he’s very close. 

The guy that told you, you’ve got "good boobs". 

And I’ve never met a woman that hasn’t been groped in a nightclub…

That's just not f*****g okay. 

6. Yet, the 'Pash and Dash' was a thing.

Found a guy who didn’t repulse you? (Or, could it have been the vodka goggles?)

Were they worthy of a quick snog, and then… see ya later, mate? 

That’s the pash and dash. 

Often overheard in the ladies' bathroom:

Q. “Did you pick up?”

A. [Proudly] “Yep, had three pash and dashes!”

But sometimes there was more pash - less dash.

Like, that couple dry-humping in the corner.

And the guy who wanted your phone number. 

“Sure. My number is [insert fake digits].”

Huh-ha! Easy getaway! 

Or.

The vodka sunrise had taken hold, and you stupidly gave your actual number, and three days later… Who the hell is Chris, and why is he messaging me?

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7. The proof photos.

Cast your mind back to a time before your phone could do this revolutionary thing: take photos. 

Crazy. 

Yet, we still found a way to capture moments. 

We bought little silver or pink digital cameras and squished them into our clutch bags to take photos of ourselves posing with pursed lips. 

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We thought we were hot. 

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We looked like ducks.

This is where the selfie began, kids. And usually it meant half of someone's head was cut out of the frame. But you’d still post it on Facebook, and tag and comment anyway. 

So, it seemed really “cool” when clubs started using ‘professional’ photographers to take photos for their Facebook too. Except, you’d be waiting excitedly until Wednesday when they’d release the pics, and then realise you actually looked worse than being partially headless.

You were either a clammy beetroot, or channelling Casper vibes because Maybelline Dream Matte Mouse was just was not created for the flash of a camera.

And this; this, was in fact probably the absolute worst photo of you, now out there for all to see. 

8. The Maccas run. 

After casually dropping at least $150 on the night, dancing like you’re on the set of a Beyonce music video, and losing your voice from screaming at each other just to be heard, it’s time to go. 

You entered the club looking like a goddess, but now, at 2am, you. Are not. 

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You’re sticky from sweat (is it even yours?), your make-up has melted away and you smell like an ashtray. Your hair is somehow fluffy and limp all at once, and you’ve had one too many quick f*** shots.

So, hobbling out the door with blistered feet from heels that were too high, there is just one more logical stop to make. 

Maccas. Hot chips. Or kebabs. 

You’ll pay for that tomorrow too. 

So, is the party over?

At 34, while there is a lot that I am definitely happy to bid farewell to from the nightclubbing years, gee, we had some fun too. 

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Drink cards for evvvverybody!

Often it was before we even got to the nightclub: Listening to music and getting ready with girlfriends, doing each other’s hair and makeup, planning outfits, singing together in the backseats of taxis, the next day debrief. 

And that feeling, on the dance floor with your friends, when your favourite song comes on. Especially those RnB classics…

It was the camaraderie of the ladies' bathroom too. 

There was always the girl who’d compliment you at the mirror, or tell you that she loved your lipstick, and the girl you met in the line for the loo with whom you’d share a laugh. We’d all fix each other’s shoulder straps, or let her know there was toilet paper stuck to her shoe, or say a nice word to the girl who’s crying, or help her devise a plan to get out of a situation with a seedy guy.

The sisterhood. 

That was the best part of the clubbing experience.

But nowadays, I’m content with dinner, or a wine at a quiet bar. 

Or better still; a hot shower, cuppa, and PJs by 9pm. 

Saturday nights now mean something different. And that’s okay too. 

Keen to read more from Rebecca Davis? You can find her articles here, or follow her on Instagram.

Feature Image: Mark Angelo Sampan/Pexels/Supplied/Mamamia.

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