Just in case anyone would like to know what it’s like being a woman on a night out, this is an account of last Saturday night out in a bar in Wellington. I’d suggest it’s not an uncommon experience for a lot of women, and one that most women might think when reading that’s not that bad, which kind of sums up how ingrained certain behaviours are in society as I’d hazard a guess most women have had much worse behaviour towards them. I wonder how many men have this kind of experience on a night out?
Sat at a table with my friend to the side of the room, we’re chatting while having a drink. We put some music on the jukebox and when one of our songs came on, we got up to have a boogie. Right next to our table. You know the type of night; out to have fun, a few drinks and a good old dance. We weren’t really interested in chatting to anyone else; we don’t see each other that often so it was a chance to catch up and have a laugh.
A group of men came into the bar, perhaps about 6 of them in total. Probably about my age, maybe a bit younger.
One of them came over to me.
“You look wonderful.” I glance down at my checked shirt, jeans and boots topped off with a cowboy hat. Err, thanks. I’m in no way ‘dressed up’. Not that it matters, but just to set the scene.
“My friend is single. You should come and talk to him. I’m married. I just have to tell you you look wonderful though. Come talk to my single friend! He’s shy, you have to come over to talk to him. Come on come on come on.”
“No thanks, I’m not interested, just here having a girls night.”
“Come on. You come and talk to him. He won’t come over, you have to go to him. Come on, come and cheer him up. He needs cheering up.”
“No I’m OK.”
He disappears off. Another one of them comes over (not the single friend, he was just doing his own thing quite happily), dancing about with big wide eyes and a baseball cap.
“Come dance with me?”
“No I’m OK, but thanks though.” Ever polite.
“I’m alright here thanks, just dancing with my friend.”
“Come on, let’s go to the dancefloor” He grabs my hand and starts pulling.
I pull it back. “No thanks.”
His face looks like I’ve offended him, and he disappears off.
Man number 1 comes back over. Holds up his wedding ring. “I’m married!” he exclaims, like an achievement. “So I’m OK. I’m not trying to hit on you, you know.”
“I know, you already said you were married. I never said you were trying to hit on me. I’m just here having a night out with my friend.”
A bit later on, same man, sidles over: “I look at you and you’re like everything I would ever want.”
“Errr.” I try to ignore him and carry on dancing. He leans in and tells me I look wonderful again, for what seems like the 10th time that night. “Come and join us.”
“No thank you, really, I am OK here.”
Man number 2 comes back over.
“Come and dance with us.”
“No.” I stop dancing and go sit back down. Not that I want to, but it seems the easiest way to stop the conversation.
5 minutes later, they’re back again.
Grabbing my arm and pulling me over.
“No thank you, I’m happy here, we’re just having our own evening thanks very much.”
“Come onnnnnn”, arm on my waist now.
“No.” I remove the arm.
I went back to dancing. Man number 2 comes up behind me and squeezes my arse. I spin round. “NO! Don’t do that.”
He pulls a face like a small child that’s been told off and looks massively offended.
All this is repeated several times, with both of us. At this point I’m thinking seriously do fuck the fuck off now. I don’t actually say this of course, because I’m far too polite. We just keep repeating versions of “No thank you, please just leave us alone to do our own thing.”
Eventually, after man number 1 started getting aggy with my friend’s boyfriend who’d joined us a bit later on, asking him “do I intimidate you” and continuing to encroach our space, my friend went and mentioned it to the bar staff, and the security team came over and asked him to leave.
This is as well as a random guy pissing around and trying to knock my hat off while I’m trying to put a song on the jukebox, another guy pretending to lasso me on the dancefloor and then looking offended when I don’t want to join in and telling me I’m no fun.
Look. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to chat to someone, but there’s no need to be a dick about it, and if someone says they’re not interested, please respect that.
Big up to a guy called George though, who I got chatting to in the hostel when I got back who was quite the opposite, and apologised on behalf of all men. No need, it’s not all men, but thanks for being one that’s not a dick.