Looking after drunk students is shit – but that is not an excuse

Drunk people are fundamentally irritating

bouncers Cambridge Cambridge University Clubbing Drinking Drunk night out Student university

When I’m drunk I think I metamorph into an entire different being; one that will chant my college song down the street whilst my friends tell me to shut up.

I get bored of even myself when inebriated. Alcohol is one of those drugs that takes us back to the medieval, less civilised version of ourselves whilst we remain blissfully aware. Some of the most ridiculous behaviour I have encountered is fuelled by alcohol and, so, I think I would really struggle to be a bouncer.

What sort of people do we turn into when drunk?

Being a bouncer is like being a security guard, but every night, you encounter a bunch of fucking idiots. Bouncers are there to provide security, check our ages, to refuse entry to the intoxicated and to deal with behaviour according to the clubs rules. To a degree, they are there to also ensure that customers are safe. They have all the power.

It must be a nightmare; however, many are noticing patterns in Cambridge, where some bouncers really tread the ethical line when it comes to treatment of customers. Sometimes, their behaviour is based on genuine reasoning and sometimes, they assert their power for what seems like general fun. Patience must wear thin, and it must sometimes be a matter of human error in terms of not being able to distinguish who is being a real issue, but occasionally, it appears that problems are not being solved, but being caused by bouncers.

How do we question behaviour?

In Cambridge, I have heard a litany of stories where it appears that bouncers’ treatment of women is often questionable, bordering on the creepy or out of order. This term, there have been a series of interactions with bouncers by myself and my friends that have made us all feel collectively and individually upset or angry. Comments such as “I’m not going to get in because you’re giving the eye, darling” to girls just stood in queue just waiting to get in are irritations; however, there is a more frequent pattern of bouncers forcing girls to apologise for no apparent reason.

It happened to myself, where I was made to pleadingly apologise to a bouncer by name for actions he would refuse to divulge, saying that his manager had told him why but he wasn’t prepared to discuss. He wouldn’t let us in unless we begged. When I spoke to his manager, he told me he hadn’t said a thing. The whole thing reeked of creepy power play. This is simply unacceptable from people who are meant to be in a duty of care – they shouldn’t be lying or manipulating. Where is somebody meant to go when the person who is meant to help is causing the problem?

This is not a uniquely male/female thing, either. The physical treatment towards boys is sometimes difficult to understand. I have witnessed boys, not causing any trouble, being aggressively pushed or thrown out of queues for what appears like no reason. If there were any reasoning, it would be understandable, but the brute force and unnecessary nature of it just creates a sense of hostility towards bouncers. Sometimes, it feels as if they’re picking a fight – as if they are the ones you don’t want in the club. It leads to the night ending early, whilst all their friends are out dancing away, despite behaving identically.

This can lead to a real sense of dissatisfaction amongst students, who don’t want to go back to the club out of anger, but luckily, in Cambridge, because of the limited number of clubs, we always do. It means there are no real consequences to the behaviour.

Nobody wants to have to deal with drunk students throwing themselves about

When somebody is in a position of power, the majority accept it –  most Cambridge students didn’t get here via anti-authoritarianism. Perhaps there has to be more dialogue between students and clubs or bouncers in order to develop a relationship of trust. There are loads of fantastic bouncers out there, and they help make the night what it is – safe, enjoyable.

One bouncer at Cindies told me that sometimes, the behaviour of some bouncers is down to the fact that they’re not used to student nights – that we are a different breed.

I think this is sometimes true, but sometimes, it all just seems too deeply rooted to be put down to a misunderstanding of students.