I went clubbing last Friday night. I know, weird, huh?
I went, because of the fact that I know that I need to try new things before I decide whether I dislike it or not, like trying new foods or listening to new music before I come to a judgement. This is how I know that I don’t like marrow, and dislike rap and RnB music. I now know also that I actually am mad about tuna mayo on a jacket potato, and actually like a bit of ska and mod (I blame my father in law for that one). So, I knew that people said good things, and because one of the girls in the halls I’m in is a promoter of a club, I knew I would get on the guest list, and should be perfectly safe…
It was fine at first, as I went earlier, whilst it was dead, to get a feel of the place. Then people started filling the place. I’m not claustrophobic of agoraphobic, but I could feel a sense of dread as I sipped my fake Malibu and lemonade (which was gross, by the way). I disliked the fact that people would just barge through without saying ‘excuse me’, men would be more than happy to have a feel of my bottom, and when a fight broke out, a bouncer tore past me, smacked me in the face and sent me flying into a group of girls who looked less than impressed to have a panicked autistic girl practically thrown into their laps.
Therefore, I have decided that clubbing is not for me, especially as I had two big panic attacks, which I haven’t had since I was at secondary school. I won’t get that night back, which sucks, but at least I know now that clubbing isn’t nice. Which begs the question, so many people with AS I know want to be able to go clubbing, but are unable to because of the loud music, bright lights, crowdedness, smoke, physical contact and unpredictability, and nowhere to go if they are feeling stressed.
So, I recon clubs should be able to do at least one AS friendly event a month, with a suitable environment for people to enjoy, with a reduced volume of music, rooms for people to ‘time out’ in, carers go free, dimmer lights, no smoke machines and a system where someone wears a wristband to state if they are happy to be approached by strangers or not, like a green one if they are cool with it, and red if not. Bouncers and staff in the club would also be trained in AS and how to cope with panic attacks and sensory overload in a sensitive manner. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? You can see the money in it, come on! Cinemas already have AS friendly screenings, and sometimes West End shows will put on AS friendly versions of productions. So why not in bars and clubs?