I have, once again, bore witness to one of the greatest cultural phenomenons of the 21st century ladies and gentlemen…drunk men with Next Shirts and far too much confidence.
According to the wise words of a certain Mr All-Seeing and All-Knowing; the only way for one to get over a lost love is to get right back into the dating game again. I don’t agree with this, at all in fact; especially as I am still trying to roughly sellotape both my heart and sanity back together, despite taking in the pressures and excitement of a new job not to mention the twist of an estranged father popping up in the news of late (it never rains it pours)! But always willing to either prove wrong or be proven wrong (the first being an absolute top priority), I trotted off to the bright lights of Camden on Saturday night, in light of never previously being disappointed by the wall to wall bearded talent under one roof, most commonly known as The Electric Ballroom. I was complete with friend, a phone definitely NOT containing Mr Gally's number in one hand and gin and tonic in the other. This night, however, disappointed me. Instead of the usual sea of unkempt rock-star wannabes (I coined the phrase Serge-a-likes), my usual Indie-fested, slightly grubby-round-the-edges haunt had been invaded by Next-shirted vultures of all people! You know the types, they hang around in groups of 12 plus, they usually all know each other from work ( I can always hazard a guess at the Finance or IT industries) and consequently all seem to take 'fashion' tips from each other, I suspect, during convos by the water cooler. Make no mistake ladies, they are armed with one-liners and dangerous. No woman is safe, no matter how stand-offish, unimpressed or downright evil we look; I should know, I have consciously tried all three stages time and time again.
And so it was that we were descended upon by a group of typicals out on a‘stag party’ Superman underwear on show and all. No sooner had we entered the sardine can after queuing in the cold, settling into a good old catch up over an ice-cool drink, we were dragged into some kind of game involving press-ups and timing the 'stag' to see if he can get a girl's bra. And to think 95% of this group are single! It screams of a Chav Quilleute Tribe, all grown up and jacked up on a toxic mixture of heat, hair putty and MDMA. And for all the men reading this, it doesn't impress us! It's another pack in a long line of packs....packs that must be avoided at all costs for fear of losing all faith in our menfolk! Belle may have loved a bit of The Beast but I doubt that story would have had quite the happy ending if he had pulled out twenty of his best beastly friends trussed up in cheap fabric, trying to accomplish press-ups on a drink-and-God-only-knows-what-else-sodden floor!
Rules For Avoiding/Infiltrating And Destroying The Pack.
1) Never stare directly into their eyes, a glance in their general direction counts as a definite come on (you may also turn to stone).
2) What ever you do, steer clear of the short, one with animated eyebrows (the eyebrows won’t stay still, they’re dancing… you want to look, but you can’t…for your own sake you just can’t). And yes, no matter where these packs hail from, there will always be a short one…with animated eyebrows.
3) If you are the unfortunate victim, do not give out your real name, if necessary invent a boyfriend. In fact, do not give out any real details about your life. Follow up random 'I was in the area' visits are NOT welcome, these boys can retain unchartered amounts of information despite appearing smashed.
4) If still stuck in this awkward position, and like me are always too outwardly polite to say the un-sayable, always mention that you work in fashion. It throws them, they can't think past Next or Ted Baker at a push. I suggest names and dates, Viv Westwood, Karl Lagerfeld, you will see them start to back away almost immediately.
5) If in doubt, or backed into a corner, fake laugh, nod and point them in the direction of a group of women who appear slightly more drunk than you...and watch the cycle repeat itself.
I guess some things in this life will never change; I will never be able to pull off Harem trousers, as much as I would like to, 33% of all retail customers will always think retail assistants and store managers are thick and the Next-Shirted Vultures will always be waiting for us, hooked around each other in a darkened corner mouthing along to the Baywatch theme tune whilst planning their next drunken, and quite frankly embarrassing move!