Mayfair, one of the most prestigious areas in London, is recognised for its sophisticated lounges, elegant wine bars and high-end clubs. It is the hub for Instagram stunting with the staple ‘candid not candid’ photos and Snapchat abuse. And yet, for girls at least it’s not quite as picturesque as social media might lead you to believe (I know, shocking right?). The truth is that getting into a Mayfair club is a hectic process for us girls – let’s just go through it step by step.
1. The Outfit/ Prep
To say all women have the same style couldn’t be further from the truth. Some girls rock tom boy chic and others love to be at full glam all the time. However, while girls with either style love (or hate) clubbing, only the latter would be accepted into a Mayfair club… so even if you don’t want to, you will succumb to the pressure and squeeze your feet into 6-inch stilettos you will try to cope with for the rest of the long night.
2. The Promoter
Bear in mind men don’t exactly have the same ‘privilege’ as women in that they have to pay full price for entry to a Mayfair club, while women have some leverage. Just the thought of paying £1k minimum for a table and some drinks is enough to give any non-millionaire anxiety, which is why you typically contact a promoter to help you out. The text could go something like this: “Hi, I am interested in coming to this club tonight with two other girls”. The reply? “That’s great! but can I see a picture of the two girls you’re going to be bringing first?”Let me break if down for you – if HE approves of the way you look he can guarantee you free entry, a free table and free drinks for the night. But this is by no means guaranteed by virtue of your not being a dude – it is equally dependent on how well you fit very particular standards of feminine beauty.
3. The Entry
It’s a cold winter night, you’re standing there freezing whilst waiting to be let into this lit-up underground studio-apartment-sized club. You look around and you’re getting the occasional judgmental stares by women who have gone above and beyond and men who are chilling in their sneakers and hoodies. Finally, you get to the bouncer and they ask for your name. Once that’s found there is a pause as you’re eyed up and down from head to toe, waiting for the green-light. It could end in one of three ways: 1. you could be let in for free because you match their criteria; 2. they could ask for £20 entrance fee because you didn’t QUITE make the cut or 3. you could be turned away because you’re apparently not attractive enough, despite your efforts.
4. Self-doubt or self-confidence?
Step number 3 typically shapes the mood for the night. You could be thinking to yourself “oh yeah, I’m hot enough to be let in for free” or ” was it my makeup or my outfit that wasn’t quite up to par”, or ” am I not pretty enough to be let in?”. It’s shameful that in the year of our lord 2017 young women are still spending their nights being stared down by every other person at obscenely expensive aspirational venues by men that want to use you to bring in other customers.
It’s true, no one is forcing us to go to Mayfair clubs (believe me, there are a whole host of reasons not to go independent of this) – but that’s not the point. The point is that this system exists, a system where if a promoter brings a number of ‘attractive’ looking girls for the night they paid more and if the club is filled with more ‘attractive’ women than men, that is what will attract high-end customers. We’re part of someone’s commission or the club’s profit margins.
How we are dressed, how we style ourselves, the way we look – none of this should matter. But the only way we can hammer this point home to an industry profiting off of the pressures of societal beauty standards on women is to stop going there. If Mayfair clubs realise that treating women like bait is actually not great for business, maybe they’ll be forced to change the way they do things. And if not, fuck them anyway. You deserve more on a night out than overpriced vodka, entitled men and the same set of Kanye tracks played over and over, night after misogynistic night.
Words by Natalia Faisal