Greg and I left the club in a state of shock. I had been to some terrible night clubs back in Washington, DC, but this one took the cake.
I mean, c’mon, what about Swedish House music? When people think of Stockholm, they think DJs and house music, hot blond women and Svedka vodka.
I had seen the ads, so I felt like I knew what to expect.
But we had started to notice that something was up the minute we went down into the metro. It was like leaving the land of the Eloi and entering the land of the Morlochs. The smell of fresh piss was hard to miss, as were the gypsy beggars, and the fact that we suddenly found ourselves to be in the minority. Africans jumped the turnstiles ahead of us and the cars were filled with full hijab’d women pushing baby strollers.
The minute that we got out in downtown Stockholm, near Stureplan, things got better. There were only well-to-do Swedes around us now. Boomer Swedes burning their life-savings away at fancy restaurants and Millennial Swedes dressed up for a night out on the town.
Anyway, despite laying down 300 Swedish Krona (about 35 USD) at the door, we were keen on leaving almost as soon as we got in.
It looked inviting from the outside, to be fair. All the local guide books recommended the place and even the globetrotters on the PUA forum that I frequented back in the day had a thread up praising the place. To be fair, we should have noticed how the Arab bouncers at the door looked at us.
But we had no choice.
The other clubs on our list had already rejected us at the door at that point. Those Millennial Swedes all got in quite easily. So did their New Swede friends that would pimp-roll in after them. And funny enough, it was Swedes working security there. They shook their heads, refused to make eye-contact and just refused to let us in. Worse, they brushed off our clumsy attempts to bribe them.
It was yet another lesson to us that Sweden can be a very cold place to the wrong kind of foreigners.
Anyway, this was our first break all night. Overall, the Arabs didn’t seem to mind. They just took our money and nodded us in.
Once we got inside, we saw nothing but White girls with Africans and Arabs. In America, it’s usually women with low value on the dating market mixing it up with non-Whites (unless they are rich and famous non-Whites), but in Sweden, it’s something else entirely. It’s good-looking blond bombshells doing all the mixing, just like the ads and TV tells them to to.
This in a country with one of the worst sex ratio imbalances in the world. Which is fine, I suppose. Who were we to judge, right? It’s their country and their women…well, I suppose that’s a stretch. Saying either of those statements could land the average Swede in big trouble…
Regardless, speaking of the Swedes, there were a few of them at the club.
You can’t help but be impressed by their appearance. Literally all of them wear well-fitting suits and have perfectly-coiffed hair. You notice that almost immediately about the whole city. Even the Arabs in Stockholm have very nice hair, like they went to a barbershop for a touch-up over their lunch break.
The trendy Swedes were indeed some of the most fashionable doormats that I had ever seen. And I have to give credit where credit is due; they mingled quite well with the New Swedes. They treated them with all the reverence that one would accord the latest IPhone model or a stylish Gucci handbag.
But Greg and I squirmed uncomfortably at the ratio and winced at the blaring hip-hop. We left after half an hour.
And we don’t get far from the club before a Swede hails and ran up to us. His face is half-lit up by the ultra-pink neon light coming from the glowing club décor.
Greg and I are very surprised.
This is the second Swede in all of Sweden that seems to want to talk to us. The first was a man out with his family to the local McDonalds, earlier in the day. We asked him for directions and he was happy to talk to us, helpful even.
We had heard a lot about pathologically altruistic Swedes, but he was the first that we had met in the wild, so to speak.
He told us to be careful, that the city was dangerous and not to go into the immigrant suburbs.
I nodded along as affably as I could and finally asked him why he was so…uncharacteristically gregarious.
“Oh,” he said and shook his head knowingly as if he knew what we were driving at. “It’s because I’m fuckin’ drunk,” he said and grinned.
I chuckled and complimented him on his ability to hold his liquor. He responded by pulling me in for a hug so that I could sniff him. The smell of beer was strong, but he let me go almost immediately.
“See, I’m not lying!” he exclaimed. “All Swedes can do this.”
But this second Swede shuffling towards us out of the neon haze didn’t seem drunk. “Friends!” he shouted out and raised his arms as if to hug us both.
I don’t feel like hugging anybody, so I side-step him and smile past the awkwardness.
“What’s up, friend?” I ask.
“Friend! Yes, you are my friends!” He latches onto that word and seems ecstatic.
Greg and I immediately notice that something is wrong. He has an unnaturally high-pitched voice and we can see that he is twitching now.
We don’t have to wait long to find out what’s up.
“Amphetamines, my friend? What do you want, I can give it to you.” He says.
He keeps jabbering and suddenly we notice a New Swede who materializes by our side out of nowhere. “My friend has it, look he is the one, talk to him.”
It’s a small Eritrean with a rat-like face, chipped yellow teeth, bloodshot eyes and a greasy pony-tail looking right up at me. He looks nothing like the twitchy, blond, curly-haired angelic young Swedish kid next to him.
He is jabbering something as well.
“Amphetamines, my friend? Or cocaine. I give it, my friend.” He says with much worse English.
The Swede starts thumping his little chest. “This is my very good friend!” He practically shouts it at us as we back up to maintain distance.
“Your friend?” I ask and smile, turning up my preventative politeness shield.
At this point, I’m already turning my head all around me looking for more friends who might be lurking in the shadows.
But the Eritrean can already tell we are not buyers. He pushes off the Swede, who has wrapped an arm around his shoulders and slinks back into the alley he came from.
The Swede shrugs and stumbles back as well, but into the neon shadow of the club that we had found him in.
We watch him round the corner and then head on home ourselves.
All in all, it has been a rough night, and with most of the public transportation already closed, we have to hoof it back home to our idyllic little island suburb immediately to the West of the city on foot.
Luckily, we meet no more friendly Swedes along our way.
St. Petersburg, Russia
I went to the “More” club all alone and with no drinks in my system. It’s a place right in the heart of downtown, but not in the infamous Dumskaya complex where foreigners are easy targets for hustlers and easy women. No, the place I want is more like a stand-alone hole-in-the-wall club for first- and second-year college students that haven’t learned how to be melancholic Hipsters yet. It means “sea” in Russian.
I toss back a couple of shots for good measure at the bar. Looking around though, I immediately begin to relax. The Russian bouncers have done an excellent job. Everyone in the club is either Russian or a European exchange student.
Not at all like what you have to deal with in the Post-First.
The disco lights fall like polka dots on the dancers faces in the middle of the dance floor. They sway to the garbage music with all its inane boops and beeps. But as I look around me, I don’t feel disgust or disappointment, no, quite the opposite—feelings of peace, warmth and happiness flow from my chest into the rest of my body.
I hiccup and smile at the sensation.
A girl dancing nearby smiles back. She turns her back to me immediately afterwards and swishes her hair with a flick of her hand as she continues to move her hips to the music. I don’t miss the tell-tale sign and immediately approach. I start dancing right behind her, pretending to not look her way as I brush up against her arm. She turns around with a look of faux surprise on her face. Our eyes meet and I shrug and grin.
That’s all it takes and off we go, swaying together with the rest of them.
But I get this feeling that I want more, that I am too far out, and I can feel that this isn’t where I want to be right now.
I want to be in the dead center of the floor, right next to the DJ, not even sure why.
So I make eye-contact with the girl dancing next to me and the first girl. Our eyes don’t really catch and the flint doesn’t hit the flash pan. No matter, the second girl I look at seems more keen. And she’s deeper into the crowd.
The music pauses for the big drop and I shuffle one step over right as the base drops and everyone starts thrashing their heads and jumping. When she pulls her hair out of her eyes, she’s looking at me and we grin at each other before jumping with the music again.
But it’s still not enough.
I’m definitely in the crowd now, but not quite the center. And why exactly do I want the center so badly?
It’s hard to explain.
But I’ve just come back from travelling in the Post-First and I need to recharge. I feel totally spent and completely miserable. I want to be like a tick and burrow myself into the warm center of…something.
I want to let down my guard and be swept away by the feeling of closeness to other people. I want to be surrounded by the sea of humanity and drowned by it.
I feel it in St. Petersburg like I’ve never felt it before anywhere else.
And it’s not just the clubs or the alcohol in my system talking.
You can even feel it in the streets which are like arteries, on the corners where the street bands play. They draw people in from the streets like an aorta. Crowds gather around them as they sing Russian rock songs from the ’90s. People all know the words. Some songs the men whoop and shout and sing out the lyrics, for other songs the girls sigh, scream and coo all at the same time.
And you just want to be in the middle of it all. To have your white little puffs of breath merge with everyone else’s and feel close to that elusive warm beating heart that all life wants to crowd around. To be surrounded by people that look like you.
Anyway, that’s when I see her in the club. She’s the prettiest girl there, obviously a model or something. She’s dancing with her girlfriend right in the center of the floor.
I make another switch and just like that, I’m so close to her. But she doesn’t make eye contact with me. I’m stuck there for awhile, pondering my next move. Then by lucky chance, her friend looks my way.
I pounce on the opportunity.
Another bass drop and another switch. She sees me do it and is ready to hit the beat. At that point, the music doesn’t even seem that bad to me. We jump up and down and we start laughing. She’s got a great smile and I’m so close.
Her hot friend notices the newcomer, and I “notice” her. She suddenly seems more keen on me now that she sees her friend getting all the attention.
I wait for the drop, and then I make the final switch.
And whoosh…there I am. Right in the beating heart of it all. I can’t help but notice that she’s something else. The lights flash and her ice blue eyes seem to glow at me. Ah, it’s wonderful. Even the feeling of all the other eyes on you, the hungry eyes of the men on her and that heaving, thrashing wave of people bashing up against you with every swell of the music is more intoxicating than the alcohol.
And I wonder if the party-goers at Bataclan felt the same way.
The thought crosses my mind that feeling that kind of high and then losing your life straight after might not even be such a bad way to go. They probably crowded into that concert hall one evening to listen to some garbage music and most importantly, feel closer to all the other atomized cells around them. It’s hard to be a lone cell all the time and the desire to feel close to other cells and join an interlinked system of cells can be overwhelming.
For a moment, I feel a surge of pity for them. Even if they were all vacuous shitlibs, deep down they just wanted to be part of something common, and not be cast out to the fringes of polite society. I can emphasize with that, I suppose.
The pretty girl and her friend snap me out of my ecstatic trance by indicating that they want to go outside to smoke.
I join them and they immediately share their cigarettes, quite unlike civilized Westerners. Outside in the tired white light of St. Petersburg’s summer night sky they notice that I am younger than they are. They’re almost 30 and they tease me for being closer to 25.
But it’s alright.
Everything feels alright that night. For awhile I forget about what is happening over in the Post-First. I feel like there might be a chance that everything might turn out alright after all. And so I lean on the wall, and listen lazily to their chatter.
I take a drag of my cigarette and I am deeply grateful, if only for a moment.