“Do you ever feel like, when we go on holiday, we have to pretend that we are a lot cooler than we actually are?”
The question I asked my best friend after paying 60 euros for a week of partying that, really, we just didn’t want to do. I’ve found that I’ve let go of a lot of insecurities as I’ve grown up, but I wonder at what age my friend and I will feel comfortable enough to hold our hands up to the “YEEEEEAH, COME ON GIRLS, GIRLS HOLIDAY, GO MENTAL, BE DRUNK ALL THE TIME, SEE HOW MANY BLOW JOBS YOU CAN GIVE” spiel and just say, “No, we are not party girls; we are very much lie by the pool, read lots of books, have a few cocktails with dinner before going to bed and reading some more, kind of girls. Please go away and do not bother us again.”
But no. Desperate to please and over-eager to smother our true selves, we fake exclaimed excitement and ran off to get our purses. Maybe when we turn 22 everything will be alright, but for now, it’s like we’re still insecure 12 year olds.
I really am looking forward to growing up and just not giving a shit. Although, maybe it’ll go the other way and we’ll find that when we’re seventy years old, there’ll be a rep trying to get us to pay a package deal for bingo nights, story readings, and board games and we’ll want the party, the alcohol, the blow jobs…doubtful, but it could happen.
Anyway, back to Zante. The first thing on the agenda was a free bar, which actually sounded ok. We like a drink and it was free (although it wasn’t really as we’d already paid a hefty sum for this “amazing” package, but we were trying not to think about that) and so off into the bright, disco lights of Zante we headed, once again feeling like country girls brazening the big city. Our rep had given us a ticket that enabled us to get our free boos and informed us of the time and location, which sounds very helpful, but the bar we were told to go to was completely empty (seriously, it was like that scene out of The Inbetweeners) and the bar staff shooed us away. They were actually very impolite and so we headed back out, feeling slighted and rejected – the usual feelings one experiences on a night out. We were also quite annoyed because we had paid for a free bar and our free bar just kicked us out. Luckily there were two very nice reps who felt quite sorry for us and found out where we needed to be, but when we got there we were rejected AGAIN. They said our ticket only gave one person free drink. WELL. Already a bit liquored up (we had to spend our own money on drink while we figured out what to do) we were RAGING. But also still quite scared and so we left it to our drunk-after-three-cocktail-seventeen-year-old-companions to sort it out. Again, a very nice rep took pity on us and went to find our own rep who told the bar staff that he had meant to write 4 people on the ticket. FINALLY, our two hour free bar that was meant to start at ten o’ clock, started at half past eleven after we had spent all of our money and were already quite drunk.
The only conclusion we could then draw from that night out was that while the majority of reps we encountered were really nice and helpful; our one was a complete and utter (please excuse the profanity) moron.
The next thing on the agenda was a water park, which was actually AWESOME – we really are 12 year old girls at heart.
(I’m the one who looks as though she’s giving birth).
And then it was a paint party, which didn’t sound as fun and already pretty skint, we decided to deal with this the grown up way – hide from our rep and when confronted, pretend that one of us was ill.
Thursday was a blissful day off. I thought a holiday was meant to be a string of days off, but apparently not.
And Friday was the dreaded PUB CRAAAAAAAWL, which I must admit, I have mixed views about. Beforehand, the thought of it made me so nervous that I gave myself indigestion while eating dinner. It was like freshers week all over again and all I wanted to do was curl up with a bowl of jam roly poly and watch an episode of Friends, but sadly there wasn’t any jam roly poly on the hotel menu and I left my DVDs at home. My nerves, however, soon subsided after arriving at the first pub: there were so many people there that it was easy to blend in and well, hide. I was under the impression that it would only be a few people and so we’d be forced to play drinking games that resulted in us dancing in our underwear, licking people with ice cubes, and doing questionable things with a pole (all I had to go on was Sun, Sex, and Suspicious Parents).
And so, so far so good. There were drinking games going on, but we stayed out of the way and tried to have our own party. The bell – or knell – then sounded and it was time to move on to the next bar – it honestly felt like we were the herded sheep and the reps were the collies. Traffic was stopped for us and everything – there was no getting away. When we reached the next bar, we were given a set of rules. We weren’t allowed to drink with our right hand, we had to hit the floor when “Sniper” was shouted, and we had to get into the doggy style position with the person closest to us whenever they shouted, take a wild guess, “Doggy”. I swiftly moved away from the sweaty boy with earrings who was sitting next to me with an evil glint in his eye.
The reps then got up on the bar and we had to cheer for the girl who gave the most blow jobs; the guy who had slept with the most girls, and generally, the dirtiest people there. It was at this point that I felt that, for anyone in this bar to like me, I would have to lie my little socks off and so when I was waiting for the toilet and a girl ran in and threw up in the sink – standard – I patted her on the back, handed her some tissues, and said the same thing happened to me the first night I went out. (It didn’t). But she looked up at me, from her acrid bowl of bright pink sick, her eyes a-wide with gratitude and earnest implorations and said, ‘They made me down something – I – I – I didn’t want to. I had no choice!’ and I suddenly realised that there were perhaps other people on this bar crawl that were just as scared shitless as we were.
Going back out into what I can only describe as a disco infused jungle, we were met with a guy who said we could have one 80% shot and two normal shots for 5 euros each. My friend and I looked at each other and telepathically communicated that we may as well give in, get drunk, and at least try and have a good time. And sure enough, on downing the shots, things began to change and we ended up making the best of friends with some girls from Ireland; dancing on the bar where only moments before, the sluttiest people in the world stood, and pulling guys that were short, fat, bald, and wearing earrings – oh no wait, that was just me who lost my last ounce of self-respect.
And so it wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be, but as a general rule, I tend to think that whenever you need alcohol to get you through something, that something is probably not for you…or perhaps you’re a borderline alcoholic. And sure enough when we went to the beach party the next day (this time we were absolutely refusing to drink; we just wanted our free food), we bumped into our besties from Ireland that we’d met the night before and had absolutely nothing to say to them. The tumble weed just kept on passing. And as soon as we got our charred burgers and watery coleslaw, we sneaked off one by one into the sunset, never to return.
And so when people ask me how Zante was and I reply that it was really good, I’m thinking of the books I read, the food I ate, the lazy cocktail drinking by the pool, and the giggles I had with my friends; I’m definitely not thinking of the chicken dancing on the bar (although, secretly I quite enjoyed that) and pulling the guy with the earrings (OH THE HORROR). But at least it’s taught my friend and I one thing: from now on, we’re just going to have to toughen up, fight the shame, and be comfortable with WHO WE ARE. I can’t answer for my friend, but I’m starting to think that I’m nothing more than a eighty-two year old woman, trapped in a twenty-one year old’s body, who definitely enjoys a wee tipple, but cannot understand the banter of lad culture or the fun in clubbing, despite thoroughly enjoying the chicken dance.
It surprisingly eased the pain in my hip.