Picture your nightlife at Sewanee… You begin your evening by pregaming on tequila shots and cheap Yellow Tail, followed by waltzing into a frat a little before midnight with your friends. You proceed to bum drinks off various frat boys, swing dance until the party begins to die down, hit up the pub for some mozz sticks, and chase after Bacchus for a bit, until you are safely tucked into your bed around 2 am.
Before heading to Madrid, I was very content with this nightlife routine. Although a little repetitive, it is safe, easy, and fun.
Clubbing in a big, European city is a COMPLETE 180 from going out on the mountain.
Your evening in the city begins with the pregame a little before midnight, where you bar-hop to various venues promoting cheap drinks and tapas. Afterwards you leave the venues around 1 or 2 in the morning to head out to the clubs. When you get to the clubs, you will have an insane amount of fun dancing/humiliating yourself until the sun comes up, when you then end your night (morning?) by taking the 6 am metro home. You are then pretty much paralyzed the next day until mid-afternoon, when your host mother starts making fun of you and insists you drag your pathetic self from your bed at 4 pm.
Needless to say, the European party-girl lifestyle is NOT for the faint of heart. I am now in a place where it is no longer socially acceptable to dance on speakers and steal champagne bottles from frat lords, so I definitely had to adjust to this other element of culture shock. Here is a condensed list of differences between going out on the mountain and clubbing in Europe, inspired by the humiliating life experiences of yours truly… Enjoy friends :)
(Also… Can we talk about how mortifying it is Facebook searching through fratting photos from freshman year?? And I apparently have only one facial expression while intoxicated. Ugh, who am I)
1) You can’t go out in duck boots, fur bandeaus, camo, or old school rap gear
While I would say most Sewanee ladies do put in a decent effort to look cute while going out, I will admit that sometimes with bad weather/pure laziness I just throw a Barbour on over whatever I’m wearing, and yes, and grab my duck boots. And who doesn’t love theme paries, which give you an opportunity to look completely insane in a socially acceptable way? Unfortunately, I have yet to find such an occasion in Madrid where donning camo or neon leg warmers is appropriate in public.
Even “dressy” on a non-formal night at Sewanee is wayyyy more casual than European clubs. Many bouncers will not let you in if you do not adhere to their dress code, which usually consists of a tight dress or leggings/dark jeans/skirt with a nice top, and boots or heels. So pull those bodycon dresses out of the back of your closets and grab those frat heels, ladies, because you will need them.
2) You mean I have to pay/wait for this thing?!?!
At Sewanee your going out “charges” consist mainly of whatever alcohol you need, maybe your tab at Mi Casa, and that’s pretty much it. In Europe, club cover fees can be as high as €20 and drinks are generally between €8 and €10. While club promoters offering discounts and specials are literally everywhere (definitely look out for these guys!!!) it can still get crazy expensive (especially if you happen to get a little rowdy and buy excessive amounts of tequila shots… not that I would know about this or anything).
The whole waiting in line at ze clubs thing is also unlike Sewanee. Unfortunately you cannot just walk in and grace everyone with your presence, and you will have to wait in line with the rest of the plebeians. I know, life isn’t fair.
Although those mojitos… Worth every penny (or euro)
3) NO PUB
Self-explanatory… Madrid has tons of late-night food places, but sometimes a girl just wants a granger (and some love from the pub tiger, apparently).
4) No one knows how to swing dance
Lord help you if you try to teach a Spaniard how to “pretzel.”
5) Do NOT plan on any productivity the next day
After you finally make it home (after stumbling through the doorway, running into the sideboard, nearly breaking a lamp, cursing, and waking up your host mother), DO NOT make any plans before 5 pm for later that day. Unless you are a serious rally-er (I most definitely am not), you will most likely be out of commission and unable to do anything but watch Sex and the City reruns and mope about your pitiful condition for approximately 12 hours. Also, I really do not recommend going out if you have class the following day. Otherwise you may show up to your noon tour of the Palacio Real with your makeup and outfit from the previous evening, whilst feeling like death (again, not that I would have any knowledge of such an occurence…)
So while transitioning from a Frat Princess to a European Club-Hopper is definitely quite an interesting experience, y’all don’t need to worry. You will still be going out with your friends, white-girl dancing the night away, and having a blast, despite being away from Sewanee. Oh, and I still pregame on entire bottles of wine (except now I’m classy and drink from actual wine glasses… usually). Some things will never change.