Stereotypes are not something that I particularly like, despite the fact that I probably live up to quite a few of them, but they’re part and parcel of life. You can challenge them or you can embrace them, ignore them or investigate them, and that’s what I inadvertently found myself doing on a night out in Essex last weekend.
What was I doing in Essex I hear you cry? Well I spend most of my time in London these days, and being an East Ender, the land of the tan is a mere ten minute taxi ride away should one have the urge to visit Mick at the Sugar Hut. Despite the fact that I’m a long-time fan of The Only Way Is Essex, my own urges to become a Sugar Hut honey faded years ago, like a peeling post-holiday glow.
However, one of my best “London friends”, who also happens to be Scottish, was celebrating her birthday. Her boyfriend’s from Essex, or “Greater London” as he likes to call it, and she spends much of her time there now. So, slightly apprehensive after all the nightclub fights I had seen on TOWIE (albeit staged during the day with water substituting vodka), I got ready for my first Essex night out.
My first problem was what to wear; I chucked out my bodycon Hervé Léger frocks around the same time that I declared I’d only ever have a real tan from now on, and that was quite some time ago. Luckily I found an old faithful LBD in my wardrobe, my real tan resurrected with a splash of baby oil, highest heels on and I was good to go.
Arriving at Funky Mojoe, our nightclub of choice, the door ladies couldn’t have been friendlier. All “darlins” and “babes”, with not as much as a bitchy once-over through their false lashes – so far, so good. As we entered the club, there was an overwhelming assault on my nostrils, a scent that took me back to my first year at uni days… yep, they really do love their fake tan. The smell of biscuits hanging in the air, I got a drink at the bar with ease – no crazy queues like in London – and reviewed the scene.
Much like on TOWIE, the boys travel in packs with their fellow man, and the girls tiptoe around on stilts with their fellow woman. They subtly eye each other up, watching for prey to pounce on on the dancefloor later, after a few more mojitos. Everyone’s clothes look brand new, a mixture of designer and high street, and the hair is predominantly big for both sexes.
Moving on to the dancefloor after a few drinks, I was struck by how friendly everyone was – people actually apologise for bumping into you here! Groups of girls want to join other girls to talk dresses and nail polish! Boys are up for a laugh when they’re trying to chat you up! Shoreditch may be my stomping ground, but Essex is, sure as hell, a great way to wind down at the end of the week.
With screens flashing up images of TOWIE stars who are apparently Mojoe’s regulars, one of them actually spinning the decks (Darrell Privett, the fit one who was teaching Chloe how to DJ) and the aforementioned fake tan smell lingering in the air, Essex, or at least Funky Mojoe’s, isn’t doing anything to try and dispel their stereotyped image. However, with the sheer friendliness of the locals, I’m really glad they don’t feel the need to. See you next weekend, Essex.