My London clubbing experiences have ranged from the decadent (sashaying across The Box's illustrious stage — and then falling off — in a ribboned Alexander Wang gown to celebrate my 25th birthday), to the cringeworthy (my 21-year-old self thought the bottle sparklers in Maddox defined glamour), to the downright divey (Mother Bar/333 circa 2008...need I say more?). And, I don't think I'm the only one who has ambled optimistically and unwittingly into Infernos and snogged someone called Simon whose signature dance move is an air punch. We've all made that mistake once. Okay, twice.
They say familiarity breeds contempt. I'd say what breeds contempt is living with someone who drinks milk straight from the carton, has loud sex in the early hours of a Tuesday morning, and abides by the saying "If it's yellow, let it mellow" (trust me, nothing is harder to scrub off than hours-old piss residue). I could write a whole feature on flatsharing, a necessity when you're young, and living in London on 16K.
It's not just the tube that suffers signal failures. A guy I'd been seeing who asked me if I wanted kids on our second date subsequently claimed he had no idea why I assumed he wanted a relationship. This brings me to the much-talked-about topic of Tinder, which is where I met said commitment-phobe. It's hard to meet men in London, especially if, like me, you suffer from Bitchy Resting Face. Of course, there is the "get drunk enough to make eyes at someone in a bar or club" tactic, but this has never proved particularly fruitful. The last man I met this way turned out to be a 34-year-old father of two whose married mate tried to pull my friend.
Anyone who has lived in London for any length of time knows never to go shopping on Oxford Street. On a Saturday. Especially when it's raining, unless you have a desire to get your eye poked out by a tourist's umbrella. It's far better to get up early, but let's face it, with hangovers getting worse as we push 30, that rarely happens. So, I like to resort to a little thing called online shopping, the guilt of which can be washed away with a few glasses of wine. That's how you do guilt-free shopping, kids! Of course, then you're soberly reminded of how much you spent when the package shows up. But, on the other hand, there’s the GLEE of receiving a package, and how HOT you look in your purchase, and the NEWNESS, oh, the newness. And, failing all of that, there’s always more wine to dull the self-loathing.
Let's hear it for London's 20-somethings! We spent most of this decade climbing the corporate ladder while in a semi-permanent state of hangover, and I, for one, am proud of us. By your late 20s, you've probably received a couple of promotions. You aren't on the breadline anymore. And, all the while having to deal with weird office rules (one time, non-white mugs were banished from my work kitchen and there was outrage), learn weird and useless corporate jargon (I'd never had a "breakout meeting" or "reached out" to someone before entering the world of 9 to 5), and inappropriate office crushes (I once pulled the cable from my computer so I could elicit a visit from the alright-looking IT boy). My experience so far has taught me what's not appropriate in the workplace: saying the F word, wearing leather shorts, and consuming a pack of Minstrels without sharing them. Actually, scratch that. I'm freelance, so I can do all of these things with no shame. Fuck yeah.
At the age of 27, I can say that it's my select group of awesome friends who make down days in the city bearable. Collectively, we've weathered years of underpaid jobs, dated approximately 67% of London's finest wankers, and spent too much money on bags/booze/takeaway coffees while bemoaning the fact we'll never be able to buy a house — and, come out the other side relatively unscathed and marginally better paid. I met one of my most treasured pals when we were both interning in the fashion cupboard of a magazine, desk-less and disproportionately eager. Now, she's a big-shot journalist who can talk about South East Asian political systems and why the latest Tinder boy hasn't called with equal aplomb.