A Cultural Awakening in London: Creeps Across the Atlantic

A New York City Girl Finds Comfort in a Similarity Abroad


Published: August 27, 2009

A week after my 21st birthday, I went to a country where I could have ordered a Cosmo three years ago. A little anticlimactic? Yes. Despite the lack of acknowledgment that I so desperately craved from every bouncer, bartender and anyone else who may have had an ounce of authority in a nightlife venue, I allowed myself to feel the self-satisfying glee of being able to whip out my real, New Jersey ID with the correct eye color and height, at every possible opportunity.

As I had boarded the plane to London in June, I let my mind wander to the world of possibilities that lie ahead: the sights, the fish and chips and, more specifically, the gorgeous Rugby players in suits sipping cocktails at a swanky lounge. After months of dodging greasy 40 something’s in overcrowded, muggy clubs, this would be a month of sophisticated, adult conversation with exotic, friendly, people my own age.

The venues did not disappoint by any means. There were cozy, pubs with fireplaces burning next to flat screen TVs playing Wimbledon. There were fancy three level clubs with huge dance floors and big leather couches. And there were adorable bars with outdoor seating on the Thames River. The London nightlife venues get an A+ in my book. However, the patrons of those venues are another story.

You would think, coming from New York City, nothing would surprise me or the other five Fordham girls on the trip. We were convinced we had seen the worse in Manhattan. We’ve watched guidos do the fist pump all night, watched a drinks-flying-hair-pulling-catfight and seen every dance move in the book. But we found out very quickly that London definitely gives New York a run for its money when it comes to crazies. We entered the lounge, apparently too early being that there were maybe four people total in the whole place and took a spot on a sofa.

Slowly, the creepers arrived. One by one, sometimes in packs. Red suspenders holding trousers up a little too high, long hair pulled back with headbands and dance moves reminiscent of a 1980s workout video—yes, I’m talking legwarmers and grapevines.

But who doesn’t like people-watching, right? We grabbed some Mojitos and sat back to watch the show that was unfolding on the dance floor in front of us. But these Londoners weren’t about to put on a show alone, they wanted audience participation and we were the lucky chosen ones. Before we had a chance to decline, they closed in like a swarm of frantic, agitated, horny bees. Several of them jumped onto the table in front of us, gyrating their hips and pulling at our arms, the others screamed inaudible words; we sat dumbfounded, taken aback by the display.

Apparently this little group inspired the lounge full of Brits, and the swarm began to grow. It became louder and stranger and even us New Yorkers found ourselves reduced to laughter—because really, what else could we do?

We made a quick exit, well as quick as possible given the group that had gathered. And headed to find a place “The Flame”-esque where we could wind down our night. Thirty minutes later we were in McDonalds, along with every other student in London. We were enlightened by a local who scoffed at the location of our night out, claiming we had ended up in the “Times Square” of London.

So, moral number one of this story? This night was not an accurate indicator of what London nightlife entailed. Moral number two? Everywhere you go, no matter how far, there will be a Times Square nearby. It was scary how similar London was to New York City. The early morning drunk visits to fast food restaurants, the sketchy men lingering in the corners of clubs, and can anyone say metrosexuals? But perhaps this was the perfect way to spend a London evening. We ventured into other areas of the city during our stay and got a more authentic London experience, but it definitely wasn’t half as eventful.

Yes, it might have been touristy, tacky and a little uncomfortable. But it was also hilarious and one of the most memorable experiences of the trip. One things for sure, every city would be a lot less interesting without the creepers.