At a nightlife spot where the music is blasting and everyone is standing, if you look around, you’ll see that most people aren’t enjoying themselves.
The “alpha” males
Check out that group of tall, strong guys. They have their bro-ish moment taking their shots and roaring at a hilarious joke. But watch closely and you’ll see they spend most of their time scanning the room for the next girl to approach. When they do, they usually are rejected. They put on a brave face, but you can see how disappointed they are. If they do start a conversation with that girl, you can sense the desperation in their gaze, wanting to hold onto this connection. They are praying that this is the 1 out of 5 nights that will make the other 4 worth it.
Good looking women
Check out that group of gorgeous women. They twirl around in their flattering dresses, reveling in their beauty and the attention it brings them. They cluster together, giggling, waiting for the approach of a strange man that will validate the hours of work they put into looking so perfect. But two seconds after they are approached, they are often disgusted or offended. It’s never Johnny Depp or Brad Pitt that approaches them, but some arrogant, obnoxious man that thinks he is funny and has a right to get in her pants. She feels assaulted, invaded, and has to wait for her friends to come rescue her from this slimy creature.
The lawyers and bankers
Check out the well-dressed professionals. They cannot escape their jobs even in their couple hours of down time. They’ve been working so hard, for so many years, and are just seeking a connection. They would rather be home with a loved one if only they had one. They hope that tonight is the night they meet this person, but they know it isn’t. They’ve been out too many times to kid themselves that romance can be found in this hellhole. No, this is just the escape, the release, from an otherwise long and empty workday, and you can see, they are relieved. This is certainly the best part of their day.
The average folk
Look at all the average people. They are there with their friends, whom they love. The comfort of good old friends makes them more at home, but they can’t enjoy each other’s company. They just yell at each other about the mundane things that can be heard in this ruckus. Between the sips of beer and cocktails, in the gaps of the conversations, you can see them watching the outgoing guys, the beautiful women, and the successful professionals. If only they could be like them, then they would also be having fun. You can see them sulking, wishing they were something they are not, maybe even wondering why it is that they keep repeating this cycle. So they drink because that helps the pain go away. At least, they are with friends, and you can see, they do appreciate that. But they all wish there wasn’t this need or pretense for getting hammered. As friends, they’d be having much more fun somewhere else.
Check out that loner in the corner. They were definitely dragged along by a group of friends who still tell themselves they like these places. They came along because they hoped tonight might be different. It’s not. So in their half-drunk state, they just watch the crowd. They see adult men and women, steadily losing control of their minds and bodies. They see the few who drank too much. They are falling over, maybe puking. Their faces express the reduced state they are in: completely lost. They express their deepest and darkest emotions: anger, rage, confusion, helplessness, loneliness and heart-wrenching sadness. But their friends are there for them. At least, they now have something meaningful to do in helping their sick friend, and they have an excuse to leave this place.
As they leave, the loner turns their gaze to continue watching the desperate hunt for a sexual partner, and the inevitable loneliness that all but a few leave with. They watch those few, brand new couples, and see how imperfect even their pairing is. The sex will be awful tonight, but both will tell the story as though it was amazing, and it will justify the next weekend of madness. The loner won’t be back for a while. They are an outcast in this society. They do not belong. They know this, but somehow they feel better, and less alone, knowing that everyone around them feels the exact same way.
Ironically, now, that you know you aren’t the only one who despises clubs, you might feel much better next time you go to one. :)
This post was originally posted as an answer on Quora. Check it out: Joschka Tryba’s answer to: “What are some things many people pretend to like but don’t actually enjoy.?”