My second meeting with Vera, my IFP buddy, was on the 10/2 and we met from 10:45 to 12 in a café in downtown New Brunswick. We have been talking about a lot of stuff, but specially about going out at night in the US and Spain, as well as about things we have done in New York City.
We first started speaking about what we both have done in New York this weekend, since we both have spent there some time. She told me that she went to the Ocuppy Wall Street protest, where people are protesting against corruption. She expected to meet a lot of different people and participate in the discussion, but there was not much going on because of the bad and rainy weather.
Next she went to the SlutWalk in Union Square, where more than 1,000 persons demonstrated against rape and to call attention on this problem. She has explained me that in NYC there is a district where there have been some rapes lately and that the police, instead of trying to catch the man who committed these crimes, have tried to convince women not to go alone at night. Especially not wearing “like sluts”, that is, with miniskirts or tops. However, as some sign said society should not teach “how not to be raped”, but “how not to rape“. That is, to teach the men and not the women (who are already concerned about this problem). In fact, Vera told me that there were a lot of girls demonstrating, but few boys…
Some girls were in underwear, some dressed like going out at night, and many were just wearing casual clothes. We have discussed about the fact that there were also some girls who have been raped and that were wearing the clothes they wore when that happened. That must have been hard for them, but it also shows that not only people to dress in a provocative way are in danger of being raped. In fact, women should be able to dress up how they want without fearing men abusing of them. Freedom should be guaranteed also in those cases.
Next we talked about the differences when going out in the US and Spain. First, the legal age for drinking is Spain is 18 and not 21. That is why most of the young in Spain can go out at night without having fake IDs and fearing to get arrested. Also the schedule is really different: in Spain I would meet with my friends for a late dinner (10-10:30) and then go out to some bar (pub in Spanish) where we can drink something or just dance. You don´t need to pay an entrance fee to go in there and they are open until 4am.
At 2pm or even later you go into the night club (discoteca in Spanish), where you get usually one or two free alcoholic drinks after paying for the entrance (10-20€ depending on the club). There you can dance and hang around until 7-8am, when they close. If you are still awake, and specially in summer, it´s common to go have breakfast all together and then go back home to catch some sleep. If you still want to party, you can also go to another club (after in Spanish) that opens from 6-12am. However, it is not common and only people who took drugs go there (that is the popular belief).
Another cultural aspect of going out at night in Spain is botellón (literally, big bottle). That is how we call meetings of hundreds of persons (mostly college students) in the street drinking alcohol and chatting. It became really popular some years ago because of the expensive price of alcoholic drinks in the clubs. It´s an illegal practice, but policemen cannot avoid it because there really are thousands of persons, so they “allow” it in places where there are no neighbors that can be disturbed. Botellón is really popular when the temperatures are high, but people also do that in winter. Elder people who don´t live with their parents any more prefer to do this pre-drinking at home and then go directly to the night club.
In the US, however, night life starts much earlier (around 10pm) and clubs are open just until 2am. You must be over 21 to go into most pubs, so people under that age usually go to frat or house parties. Many of them also drink alcohol there, but they must be careful, because they could get arrested if the police see them (even if they are sitting on their porch). If you are over 21, you can also go to a night club afterwards, but they close at 4-5am, so the only breakfast possibility is going to the closest McDonald´s.