By: Michael Boyle
Cover picture: worldofbetsafe.com
Last weekend I went to catch up with a Scottish friend over a few pints. It was very pleasant and there was no shortage of laughter. But then it got sinister. My friend is a hairdresser, you see, which you’d think was no big deal. But he is a hairdresser to a lot of celebrities who stop by Dubai and is currently working on a Hollywood movie set. This has given him some sort of VIP status, which was demonstrated by him getting the two of us into the VIP section of a club on Friday night.
The club was great. The music was good, the crowd was living the dream and everyone was smiling and dancing. It wasn’t tense or frightening at all (even to the social anxiety sufferer writing this story). To be fair, I was already pretty smashed by the time we got there, but I still had my wits about me. After squeezing through the dance floor, the 7-foot-tall brick shit house guarding the red rope into VIP turned us loose among all these European kids spending daddy’s cash and it all went to shit.
There’s something inherently wrong about VIP areas in clubs. They work on the principle that the people inside are better than the ordinary people on the outside. It is no different from British town councils putting those spikes on the ground everywhere to prevent homeless people from getting too comfy. It is exclusion based on a class system that was invented by the people perpetrating it. I pride myself on being an ordinary person. Sure, I live a better life than many, but I have never in my life looked down on another person or excluded them because they have less than I do. I am, by all intents and purposes, a reasonably nice guy. But not those VIP monkeys - they are terrible.
After a waitress forewent the whole taking my order part and brought me a warm beer, the first thing I noticed is what everyone talked about. They didn’t talk about interesting things. They talked about themselves and what they have, neither of which were very attention-grabbing. I wanted to talk about the world and about people and fun shit that goes on around me. Instead I was stuck talking to a boring but deadly attractive gold-digger who had blagged her way in the same way as I had and spent the whole time going between different guys and flirting for drinks. The banter was bad, but it was the way they acted that really made me hate them.
The VIP area had a few staff members in it. There were a few waitresses and a guy whose only job seemed to be walking back and forth sweeping cigarette ends off the floor. But people kept dropping them! This guy would walk by and sweep up the cigarette ends and then some asshole would drop another one right behind him, despite the 2 ashtrays on every table. How can a human think so lowly of another human that they won’t even reach 2 feet over to the table to use the ashtray? It isn’t rocket science. You don’t need to be clever or strong to know how to use an ashtray!
And then there was the way they spoke to the waitresses. I was there for half an hour and didn’t hear a single ‘”please” or “thank you”. Manners cost nothing - seriously – it is free. I remember thinking that if I were one of the waitresses, I’d get fired on my first day because I don’t put up with people talking to me like I’m inferior. I’d probably end up going to prison for grievous bodily harm after 5 minutes in that dump. It made me so mad that the people I was surrounded by were so horrible. Their rich parents obviously sucked at parenting. I was raised to respect everyone. These brats were raised to think everyone else exists only to serve them.
I don’t know about the other tables, but the one I ended up at had a choice of drink that made me sick. They all had gin. Who the fuck drinks gin in a club? Elitist, snooty morons, that’s who. One of them came mincing over and asked if I’d like a gin and lemonade. “Gin and lemonade? Really? Fuck off and get me a beer” was my preferred response, but I didn’t want to get kicked out before my little social experiment was finished. I politely declined and asked for a beer, but suddenly a peculiar black drink that tasted like a mixture of gin and bubonic plague appeared in my hand. I took one sip, put it down and got the fuck out of there. The way they treated other humans, their stupid haircuts and their shitty conversation were bad enough, but that drink came very close to making me physically sick.
I jumped over the red, velvet rope, said my goodbyes to the bouncer who, ironically, had more character than the VIP monkeys, and ordered a whisky at the “ordinary people” bar. I struck up a conversation with 2 perfect strangers and within 2 minutes I had had a more meaningful conversation with them than I did in half an hour with the VIP crowd.
I learned on Friday that anyone who uses the VIP area in clubs is an asshole, but more importantly, I got reminded that money can’t buy a personality.