This article first appeared in The Oxford Student on 22 January 2015.
Many an Oxford student has made a fool of themselves in a nightclub. This is as it should be. Indeed, one can’t help feeling that the nightclub experience would be immeasurably improved if fewer people insisted on maintaining a certain level of dignity, and simply basked in the beautiful hedonism and debauchery that is the proper nightclub experience. The poor lost souls who hover at the edges of the dance floor, refusing to actually engage in any physical activity, lest their precious self-regard be tarnished, resemble no-one so much as Mr Darcy, and at least he was played by Colin Firth. No, to truly enjoy an evening at a nightclub, one must cast aside one’s dignity as one might a restrictive garment; clubbing is far too important to be taken seriously.
However, the abandonment of one’s dignity does not equal the abandonment of one’s manners. The release of inhibitions which constitutes correct clubbing procedure does not exempt you from the normal standards of politeness; one should always treat one’s fellow revellers, as well as the club staff, with respect, not least because negatively impacting the enjoyment of others is the opposite of what we might call the clubbing ethos.
Nor are you exempt from that essential British institution, queuing. In Freshers week I witnessed the rather unfortunate spectacle of a bouncer very patiently explaining to one young man that his Entz-rep purchased ticket did not give him the right to automatically jump the queue of approximately 1,000 people that had formed outside that most reputable of establishments, Wahoo. This young man apparently had yet to realise that there is little overlap between the type of club where one’s status as an Oxonian grants one special queue-jumping privileges and the type of club where one can dance energetically to the music of Jason Derulo.
One must be courteous when dancing; try and leave everyone else room to flail about as ineptly as you. Respect personal space as much as possible. Beyond that, embrace the beat. Surrender to the rhythm. Put your hands in the air.