I love a good nature programme. Watching different species interact on Blue Planet, Natural World or Wildlife on One is simply exhilarating.
But I’ve always felt that there’s one habitat Sir Richard Attenborough and his fellow naturalists haven’t examined yet. Rather than wait any longer, I’ve decided to do my own wildlife-watching documentary (in the form of a blog, naturellement) in this as yet unexplored region. So join me, if you will, observing two of the many life forms that inhabit your local nightclub.
Pick any generic nightclub in any generic town, and you’re bound to find loads of interesting species. For the purposes of this study, I’m going to focus on the sub-genus Slavius Impoveridus (underpaid employees), from which come the two species I find most interesting. Let’s start by finding somewhere nice to sit, from where we can observe Species #1: Bandida Vendida Alcoholica, the Tequila Bandit.
Slender and statuesque, Tequila Bandit is a wonder to behold at work. Clothed (to use that word very loosely) in black, bottles dangling from the leather holsters slung across each shoulder, Tequila Bandit stalks the room like an alcohol-dispensing Lara Croft, the total absence of goose bumps on her shapely legs a glowing testimony to how well the club’s central heating works (or how full it is – take your pick). You’ll never see a finer example of misplaced infatuation emptying a man’s pockets than you will when Tequila Bandit is in her element.
But as much as we’d like to sit and admire Tequila Bandit, we have to move on to the next species in our study. For this, we leave the salubrious décor of the bar area and head for the conveniences.
In bygone times, you could tell how classy such an establishment was – or thought it was – by whatever euphemism for the male and female gender they’d have displayed on the toilet doors (if you ever find yourself in a club that has a ‘Dudes’ room and a ‘Broads’ room, watch your back – and catch the first time machine home). But today, club toilets have something else to designate the club’s imagined classiness. Walk into the Gents just after midnight and you will find the second species we’re here to study. No fake Latin names could ever do this species justice, so I’ll just call him Toilet Man.
Armed with an arsenal of perfumes and hand lotions, Toilet Man stands strategically positioned between you and the automatic hand dryers (which by this time usually aren’t working anyway). This Guardian of the Disposable Paper Towels brandishes his handwash dispenser with the same cool demeanour with which Tequila Bandit handles her bottles – but with exactly the opposite effect. A glass ashtray made redundant by the smoking ban now serves a new purpose: as a begging bowl.
This has got to be the club manager’s punishment job for the guy who’s last to turn up for work, or who lost £10 the last time he helped cash up the tills. And anyway, the whole notion of tipping in club toilets is just plain wrong. Nightclubs’ drinks are overpriced as it is; now they expect us to pay wee tax as well? The day I need help washing my hands after I’ve ‘been’, I’ll know I’m the wrong age to be in a nightclub in the first place.
You’ve got to feel for Toilet Man, though – or at least give him a dose of tough love. TM, me ol’ mucka, you seriously need to reappraise your life. You know that yours is not a job worth having when the Wandsworth Hand Dryer Company can’t even be arsed to invent a Toilet Robot to replace you. If there’s a training course you can take to get to Hand Stamper level, take it – keeping your eyes on the ultimate prize: the Cashmere Coat of Bouncer. Just remember: no Toilet Man has ever pulled a Tequila Bandit.