Having just arrived at Market Bar one evening I agreed to wait for my friend to relieve his bladder before we headed off on the social trail. I pulled out my phone to provide the air of nonchalance that it requires to avoid the ‘billy-no-mates’ look. However 12 games of Brickbreaker later and I was restless and failing to understand how it could possibly take so long. So the minutes ticked by, until eventually a dishevelled heap crawled through the Men’s toilet door with blood dripping down his face onto his shirt, which was torn open and buttonless. Bare-chested and bedraggled he began to explain that whilst urinating, an old rival had spotted him and squared up to him and of course…it was all systems go. They had punched, kicked and headbutted each other whilst fellow toilet-goers attempted to pull them apart.
And this is not a one-off. This is a regular occurrence: Nottingham students love to fight Nottingham students. Not that I’m encouraging inter-University fighting matches, but you might expect a Nottingham student to start on a Trent, or likewise a Loughborough student. But it seems to me we’re fighting our own. And why must we fight at all?
My male friend recently imparted his wisdom on the subject. Apparently if you conclude a night thrown out on the street, with your clothes and face in tatters this improves your reputation compared to lesser men who are content to harmlessly boogie the night away to the likes of B*Witched and Girls Aloud. According to these unwritten rules, walking away from a man squaring up to you is social suicide, as is striking from behind, or being unable to back up the preliminary pushing and shoving. To shout “Come on then! Give me your best shot!” whilst slyly stepping backwards is a classic coward’s cover for absent machismo. He is banking on his opponents reluctance to throw the first punch, and the chances are bouncers and/or friends will intervene before either one is forced to act.
But all jokes aside, a few months ago one particular fight turned nasty for me. I was happily taking a photo of a group of friends in Ocean when two men who were fighting collided into me. I flew backwards, got caught in their brawl and landed by the bar under their feet. The men proceeded to continue their fight whilst trampling me underfoot. Those who had been posing for the photo quickly disentangled themselves from the picture perfect moment and dashed to my rescue. However, when the boys tried to pull the fighters apart, they were mistaken for revellers who wanted to join in and began dodging the flying fists themselves. After much confusion I was hauled from under the mass of disgruntled men, who were upset to have had their fun spoiled. Having been unstuck from the deliciously adhesive Ocean carpet I promptly burst into tears. Picture this for an episode of Booze Britain: One cream white dress complete with black footprints, perfectly presented hair and makeup transformed into a hay bale and vampire eyes and a mauled camera in hand. To top it off I was barefoot as both my shoes had been lost in the confusion, and I can only conclude that I flashed my knickers considerably, as when I was rescued, my dress was hitched up around my midriff. Shoeless and shamed I attempted to compose myself; meanwhile my housemates dutifully crawled off on hands and knees in search of stray black heels. I received a blasé, inebriated apology from one of the brawlers, but other than that I was down two shoes, a camera, a dress and my dignity.
Having said this, it has been pointed out to me that if I had been born a man I may well have been a boisterous one myself as I have been known to get into a few scuffles. I recently discovered an enjoyable game, which involves challenging men on their behaviour/looks/general persona on a night out and provoking them as far as is possible until they are so irate they make swipe at me. At this point, my face instantly transforms from a mean confrontational expression into the face of an innocent, hurt, vulnerable victim of an unprovoked attack. The guy in question’s friends then arrive to hold him back and dress him down, utterly appalled by his misogynistic tendencies. This game only lasted one evening though as I realised that the boys of Nottingham really are quite willing to smack a girl if she’s being a moronic imbecile and deserves every blow. Therefore in order to save my face and grace I found other ways to amuse myself on nights out.
But my point still remains; fighting each other is pointless and animalistic. You will wind up with a wardrobe of blood-stained, destroyed clothes to accessorise with a broken nose and a missing front tooth.