How to stay safe in clubs
Before you guys come at me, when I say “Jeffrey Dahmer-ed”, I’m referring to being spiked and lured back for some shady activity; I’m not referring to homicide. And whether you want to talk about it or not, party substance use is a very common thing in some subcultures, especially in clubs.
As a teen, my first experience stepping into an underground club was sheer culture shock. But once I got a taste of the edge and risquéness, I was hooked. I lost myself to chasing the adrenaline highs that came with it.
To be clear, most clubs are a liberating space with diverse people having wholesome fun. But it’s also where you have the grimiest vices lurking—substances, repressed sexual desires and shady characters.
For some context: I was raving every other week with my straight friends at predominantly ‘normie’ clubs such as F Club, Zouk, and Cherry. I was still coming to terms with my reality after breaking up with my ex girlfriend. I guess I just spiralled into the deepest pits of the opposite ends of the spectrum: alcohol, unprotected sex and blackout nights.
That’s when I realised the importance of knowing what you’re doing and doing it safely. Here are some tips to practice if it’s your virgin experience in an underground club or party.
Go With A Group
Going with a group could be your life-saver. I can’t recall the countless times I came so close to making bad choices impulsively. Luckily, my friends would slap some sense into me each time. I vividly remember the time this older man had me seated on his table at a pool party, feeding me bottles of champagne the whole night. He was egging me on with his group of friends. As much as I don’t cave into pressure, I did not hold back during the instance.
And this is why you need some friends to keep you in check. Even the most self-aware people make impulsive decisions when their sobriety is compromised.
I don’t know if he slipped something into my drink but I felt so sedated and groggy that I ended up slipping and falling backwards into the pool. I remember waking up on a couch with my friends sitting around me. Although they were laughing at the fact that I fell while dancing to Britney, imagine how things would have turned out if I was alone.
Apparently, he had lured me down to the carpark while I was tipsy, and tried convincing me to enter his Porsche. Thankfully, my girlfriends stopped him. I’m not saying anyone that hits on you is a creep but it’s always good to safeguard yourself.
At the very least, make sure you’re making a conscious decision. Being overly sedated and alone opens you up to whole world of dangers. We simply don’t make the best decisions when we have that much alcohol in our system.
Hydrate And Eat
The worst advice I used to give clubbers was “Don’t drink water or eat. This is so that the high will hit you more.”
I was so obsessed with the adrenaline that I advocated compromising safety just for temporal indulgence. Exploring underground club scenes is fine. But once you’ve made it your lifestyle, it does play heavily into your inner hedonist. When you’re in that headspace, your every decision leads towards pleasure.
That was exactly what gave Dahmer his edge over his victims. Most of them sensed something off about him yet they were entranced by his charm. They were willing to risk their safety for a glimmer of hope of a post-club adventure. It’s the whole notion that the night never ends.
Having water consistently and some bar snacks does sober you up, so you’re at least not fully blacked out. Bars don’t provide you water and they’re not visible. Besides, you’re not allowed to carry in any fluids. This is why most people let it slip their minds.
One trick I’ve learnt to set hourly alarms for me and my friends to head to the bar for a glass of iced water. Dehydration from being in tight spaces could land you unconscious too. In dark spaces, you can’t just pass out and hope that a kind stranger will look after you. Trust no one. Look after yourself and keep your body healthy.
Pre-Planning Is Key
If you’ve set your mind on raving through the whole night at an unfamiliar and secluded club, you have to plan beforehand.
Set timings for yourself, and commit to it. Let your best friend or partner know, and make sure you stay accountable. This is especially important if you’re overseas. Most people take this for granted and assume that “they’ll be okay”. I think we need to be able to put our egos aside and accept that it does not hurt to have a few safety precautions.
A phone call from a friend, or a pop-up reminder to head home at 6am, could have been the turning point for some of the victims Dahmer targeted. We’re only human, which is why we need to set these checkpoints for ourselves. Once you’re in the zone and thriving on the adrenaline rush, you lose all sense of time and reality.
These markers are rude awakenings to disrupt the trance and remind you of the need to still be objective. In a way, it’s a grounding system. Besides, with how advanced technology is now, there’s really no excuse to not set these precautions up. An Apple Watch, SOS calls, and the “Find My Friends” app are just some of the optimised platforms you can use.
Guide to staying safe in clubs
Clubbing is a rite of passage for most people. Although it’s a fun experience, it can also be dangerous if you don’t exercise caution. Hopefully, these tips will help you make an informed decision when you decide to club for the first time.
Do you have an interesting clubbing experience? Let us know below!