Smoking at a club never used to cause much of a problem… you smoked it, you dropped it and continued with your terrible excuse for dancing. But the smoking ban has given rise to a new culture in clubbing… a new area entirely where people can talk rather than mime words or point the entire night. You may embrace this fact, even love the smoking area… or use it as a means of meeting new people. Talking to new people is an otherwise very difficult task; I’m not quite sure how people even lived without it. But there are a number of things to be observed in this seemingly welcomed aspect of the club experience. Here are 5 reasons why smoking areas are sadder than they should be:
1. The beggars.
There is no doubt that at some point, unless you smoke menthols, that you will be asked by someone for a spare cigarette. They always emphasise the ‘spare’ part. They’d hate to ask you instead for a cigarette you were going to smoke. From their point of view, you were planning on throwing away the rest after taking 1 from the 20 pack. They know for a fact that you have at least one, or you would have thrown the pack away. The most annoying part is that it’s very hard to say no, because individually, they’re only worth about 30p…outside of a club. Inside a club, they’re worth a lot more, because I’m definitely not prepared to leave and run over to the corner shop that may be more than a 2 minute walk away.
It’s even harder to say no when it’s a girl, because they will try and flirt with you and appear interested in your drunken talk. Right up to the point you hand it to them and it’s lit – at this point they will swiftly walk away before you can finish your seemingly very well constructed argument on why the dubstep room is better than the main dancefloor.
2. In the winter, it’s absolutely freezing.
Not that that stops the swarms of people ready to light up and talk to their friends about how the club used to be so much better and the inflation in the price of jaegerbombs. As a guy, if you wear a coat, it’s probably because it’s cold outside. You then give that coat in exchange for some money for someone to put it on a coat hanger. At some point, you may then decide to head out to the smoking area… with the same layer of clothes you’re prepared to wear on the hot and sweaty dancefloor. Getting your coat back isn’t an option, so you either get hot on the dancefloor or get cold in the smoking area. You spend more time inside so you obviously choose to freeze in the smoking area. There is no way around it, it’s just a fact. Not too sad a sight, unless you accept that a lot of the people in the smoking area don’t even smoke, and are merely there for a friend who does.
3. All your new friends will be smokers.
Because you can only properly talk to people in the smoking area, the new people you meet will all be smokers. Technically, all the people you make friends with will be part of the 1/3rd of the world who smoke, at least socially. I have nothing against smokers, but something I have noticed is that some people really do have a problem with them. Because I only speak to smokers, I never make friends with these anti-smoking people… I never even see them. It’s just a scary thought that you may only be making friends with a certain segment of the population.
4. Oh the entrapment.
Cigarette companies must secretly love the smoking ban – no longer will smoking just be a normal activity, it’s now something you must go out into a specific place to do. Anyone who goes out there has an urge to smoke just because they’re in the smoking area, even if they’re just with a friend who needed their nicotine fix. I’m not sure on the statistics of new smokers, but this has to be helping cigarette companies survive the anti-smoking wave of late. Most people I know started smoking more than socially because of clubs. It’s a means of giving people an excuse to try it, because it’s nice to take a break from inside the club and have a normal conversation. Before the ban, people could go whole nights without saying anything; it’s impossible to hold a conversation outside of the smoking area… thank God for smoking, probably.
5. You have to put up with all of this.
Finally, the worst part of the whole situation is that you have to put up with all of this crap. Unless clubs install a new ‘quiet’ area where people can leave the loud music for a while, there is no other way of taking a break from it and have a chance of socialising. Who’d want to go into a ‘quiet area’ anyway? That would be even worse because you are admitting that the music is too loud, and no one should ever admit that. The smoking area fits perfectly into this social bravado because as far as anyone is concerned, you left the dancefloor to smoke, not because your ears might be bleeding.