Saturday 13th December
It's 8:30pm. I'm at the Woodstock pub in Didsbury. Jackson is here. Visana is coming out in a bit she's the lady I met at the Monday night social group.
The Woodstock is becoming the regular place to go out because it's a venue you can go with friends, it's nicely decorated, comfortable seats, and a safe environment without yobs.
Me and Jackson are sitting on the sofas on the landing next to the stained glass window. We're talking about business and going out. Then 4 guys come and sit at the table next to us. They're shouting and laughing, one throws his drink over his friend, then they're all emptying their drinks over each other and run out of the venue laughing and saying "We'd better get out of here or we'll get into trouble."
Well, this place usually doesn't have many yobs.
Jackson: "Didsbury was rough last night."
Me: "It seemed ok to me."
Jackson: "One of the guys in social-circle started a fight. Later in the Pitcher and Piano there was a guy running around the venue shouting and a fight started."
Me: "The trouble is even moving out to the suburbs now. No wonder people don't go out as much anymore."
Jackson: "Didsbury is getting worse."
I'm not feeling as upbeat tonight. I've been working all week on a computer and not dealing with people very much. It's because there was an opportunity for a business deal to make some money with an online information service. So despite not using a computer for over a year now I decided to use one. Today I notice my social skills and confidence are slightly down. I'm looking forward to the night out but I feel as if there's something missing from me. I'm not as upbeat and happy. The week of ending emails and searching for things on search engines has really taken its toll. It might not be so bad if I was using a computer for a job like accountancy or typing, but this searching on search engines, websites, emailing and waiting for replies and so on, it's all a big hassle. I tried using the telephone instead of email but the people I was dealing with didn't understand conversation. I might not even bother with this business deal, or find someone who is a computer person to do it for me.
What it all amounts to is a lack of conversation. When you're dealing with people (even if it's working in an office with a couple of people) during the week they're often asking how are you? or what have you been up to? so you're always talking about and working out what you've done. Then come Friday all those conversations add up to telling fun stories on a Friday night.
But if you haven't spoken to anyone all week, when it comes to Friday night and someone asks you "How are you?" you don't know, and it takes a while to work it out.
What I also found when using the internet was the extent of internet social networking (or as it should be called anti-social networking). The amount of people promoting themselves in crazy and uncouth ways is astonishing. Also there's a lot of people complaining about their lives through their blogs. If they got off the internet they'd probably feel better. It's a hundred thousand people trying to reach out and begging for some social contact to break the loneliness. The internet is not a nice place, there's a very dark atmosphere to it. Computers are very useful for performing mathematical tasks and desktop publishing, but what most people use computers for is pointless stuff.
So we're at the Woodstock and Jackson gets a text from Visana, the lady who is coming out later.
Message: "Is the Woodstock near the Slug and Lettuce?"
It isn't so Jackson sends her a text telling her where it is.
It's 9:30pm. Visana arrives and we talk, enjoy the venue and have a good night.
I invite the ladies we met here last night by texting them but they don't reply. It could be they're out and haven't got their phones on, or just not cool enough to come out with us. Who knows, who cares. As Alex K says they were rich kids anyway, defining themselves more by their parents' money than what they do themselves.
We leave the Woodstock and Visana takes us in her car over to West Didsbury where we go to the Met. The Met is a big traditional style pub that is known as one of the posh places to go in West Didsbury. There's a mix of people of all ages and it's a pleasant atmosphere. We stay for 20 minutes.
We leave the Met and go to some modern bar with music and there's a group of ladies dancing on the dancefloor all wearing red dresses. We sit down on some seats near the door. There are two ladies sat next to me here. I speak to one of them.
Me: "Can I get your opinion on something?"
Me: "Why do you go out?"
Her: "To socialise and meet people. Why do you want to know?"
Me: "I'm doing a mini survey."
Her friend: "Do you have any forms to fill in?"
Me: "No it's an informal survey."
Me: "How many people have you met in the last 6 months?"
Her: "I don't know. None."
Then she says
Her: "What are you drinking?"
Me: "I'm driving. I'm drinking soda water."
Her: "You should drink some alcohol and lighten up." she says in a not very friendly voice.
Me: "I'm having a good time without alcohol."
Her: "You should get some alcohol."
Me: "Get lost."
Her: "You're so rude. I was saying you should get some alcohol and have a good time." she says trying to save face.
Same old story. Alcohol required to make a night out seem good, which is ok with me if it's what people enjoy doing. However I don't drink alcohol and it's ok if I enjoy that. She continues going on about: "You should drink. I can't believe you
" so I ignore it then go over the the bar to get drinks.
There's a big queue at the bar with only two people serving very slowly so I chat to some more ladies instead, there's two of them next to the bar. I would like to chat to some guys and meet some cool guys but there's no-one I'd really get on with here.
Me: "Can I get your opinion on something?"
Lady 1: "Sure."
Me: "Why do you go out?"
Lady 1: "To listen to music and make friends."
Me: "That's great. How many people have you added to your social group in the last 6 months."
Lady 1: "None."
Me: "Oh right. I've got to get going in a minute. We should meet up again and you can meet my friends, go to a cool bar, it'll be a good night."
Lady 2: "Ok."
Me: "What's your number?"
Lady 1: "We're not giving out our numbers."
Me: "Why not, we can meet in a public place, don't you go out to meet people?"
Lady 1: "Yes."
Me: "So how come you go out to meet friends but don't want to meet up with anyone?"
She stops and thinks about this for 10 seconds then says
Lady 1: "I really don't know." she says this looking confused.
Then they put their coats on and leave!
Then I go over to Jackson
Me to Jackson: "I just asked some more people why they go out, they say to meet people, but when I ask who they met they say no-one. I asked them why and they didn't know."
Me: "If it was someone famous they'd be all over them."
Jackson: "Yes they would."
Me: "It's all subconscious. They see someone on TVand they follow them, but in the real world they can't make friends."
Some of the ladies who were dancing earlier, one of them sits down and I go sit down in the seat next to her.
Me: "Hi, how's it going?"
Her: "Good thanks." she says smiling.
Me: "It's cool that you and your friends were dancing."
Her: "Thanks. We like dancing, do you?"
Me: "Yes, I've been going out to the city centre to Tiger Tiger."
Her: "Where's Tiger Tiger?"
Me: "Next to the Printworks."
Her: "I know it. How come you're not there tonight?"
Me: "It's all buffet and meals, £23.95 per person. So there's all the people having meals and not anyone for the club night out and dancing. It'll get better in January."
Her: "They'll lose their clientele if they do that, they should keep the nights consistent."
Me: "It's the only decent club in Manchester so they do what they want. I was thinking of running a club night myself."
Her: "Me too. I love music. I have a really big music collection. I've always wanted to run a night like a soul night. There's one at bar one six one in Altrincham on Thursday. Do you know it?"
Me: "Yes I've been to one six one a while ago and it was ok."
Her: "You should go on a Thursday night it's really good."
We talk about music and club nights. We have a great conversation and get on really well. She comes and sits really close to me brushing up against me and leaning in close.
A guy comes over to the table and introduces himself
Him: "Are you together?" he asks me and the lady.
Me: "We just met."
Him: "Ok. I'm here with my partner, she's over there." and he points to one of the smartly dressed ladies in a red dress dancing. She's friends with the lady I'm sitting next to.
Him: "What do you do?"
Me: "I was in business to business but I've written a book for students to make the most of university and am doing a deal on a website information service."
Him: "Is it an e-book?"
Me: "No. I've just got it in some bookshops around Manchester and in Altrincham now."
Him: "My local is in Altrincham. The Stamford in Bowdon. I've been going there for over 10 years."
Me: "Is it good in there?"
Him: "I go on Friday at 6pm with the after work guys. It's a good laugh."
I talk with the guy and lady some more. Then invite Jackson and Visana over.
Me to Jackson: "Come over and sit down. I'll introduce you to some people I've met. They're nice people."
We all have a chat then Jackson and Visana want to leave because the music is too loud for them. I say bye to the lady.
Me: "We're going to get going, it was nice meeting you. Here's my card there's contact details on it."
Her: "Let me give you my number, do you have a phone?"
Me: "I've got a pen and paper."
She writes down her number and gives me the piece of paper. Me, Jackson and Visana leave.
We're on the street.
Jackson: "We could go to the Met, it looks like it's still open."
We go inside the Met, get some drinks and sit down.
I approach two ladies and it turns out one is a teacher and one works in science. We're having a really good laugh and joking for ages. They have boyfriends but only tell me that much later, it's ok because it's all good fun on a night out and we had really good conversation.
Then I approach another lady. The two I spoke to a minute earlier notice this, don't look too happy and leave. So what! It's not like I'm dating them. I'm being a social person. Really I'd like to meet guys to be friends with as well, like the guy in the modern bar earlier he was a good guy. Most guys out tonight are over 30 or 40 which is ok but the majority of people want to hang with people in their age group. Very few guys in their 20's go out nowadays except for scallies. Many of the groups in here is one guy in his 30's or 40's with a group of ladies in their 20's.
It's like a guy I know called Brian says that some women in their 20's are all sweet to a guy who is a few years older with cash, (especially in Didsbury) but they're not confident around guys in their 20's. He says that a lot of women like guys they can order about, especially a rich man with money.
This lady I approach is with 5 ladies and an older guy, they're all sat around a table.
Me: "What kind of places do you like to go out?"
Her: "Here and Manchester centre."
One of her friends is slightly drunk and interrupts her for a few seconds talking to someone else in the group.
Me: "What do you like doing?"
Her: "That's a bit of a random question."
Me: "Do you have any hobbies?"
Her: "I work in corporate finance." she says bluntly
Me: "I noticed you making eye contact earlier so I came to find out what you're like."
She goes a bit red
Her: "I didn't notice me making any eye contact." she says to save face in front of her friends.
Her: "What do you do?"
Me: "I used to be in business to business, but now I've written a book and working on some other business deals."
Her drunk friend interrupts, the lady I approached isn't drunk though. I leave the group because it wasn't going that well.
I go over to Jackson and Visana
Visana: "She seemed cliquey."
Me: "She's in corporate finance, they're like that. I have a general approach but I'm not going to tailor it to people in corporate finance."
Visana: "What do you mean?"
Me: "They're conditioned to be attracted to their boss who wears a suit and hires staff. It's a very specific angle, although I should have stayed in conversation with her, I probably could have brought her round."
Jackson: "She's looking over now."
Me: "Because I cut off the conversation she's wondering why I'm not interested."
Visana: "It's all about power isn't it."
Me: "No, it's about having fun and meeting people."
Visana: "Her friends are giving me dirty looks now."
Me: "So what. Smile and wave."
Visana: "They're really giving me dirty looks. I can't believe you approached her with all those girls there, it takes a lot of confidence."
Me: "It's no big deal, I was more bothered about being noticed chatting by the ones I spoke to just a few minutes before."
I turn around and smile to the lady's friends who were giving dirty looks. They all look down and then pretend to be in conversation amongst themselves.
Me Jackson and Visana stay for half an hour then leave.
We drive to the Woodstock and go in for 45 minutes until it closes.
Me and Jackson say bye to Visana and I give Jackson a lift to his place.
Now me and Jackson are standing on the balcony area of the staircase overlooking Wilmslow Road.
Jackson: "It wasn't such a good night for Visana."
Me: "I know what you mean. I met those people in the modern bar and introduced you both. They started conversations with you but Visana wasn't very talkative."
Jackson: "It was too loud in there. You were alright because you had earplugs. Visana wasn't that confident about meeting new people as well."
Me: "The Slug and Lettuce (on the 4th December) was a good night."
Jackson: "Yes that was good."
Me: "We should have gone to a quiet safe place instead. That's the kind of night out most ladies like."
Jackson: "Yes they like to feel safe."
Me: "Although Visana said she likes to meet new people so she should have liked the evening. Then again saying it is one thing, doing it is another. Anyway, she'll be more confident because of it."
Me: "What I was saying about being famous earlier if someone is famous the people in a bar will be polite and all over them."
Jackson: "They would."
Me: "Famous people go on how people only like them because of the fame, but it always was about fame. It's about fame if you're seen regularly in bars and clubs. The difference is pop stars have posters and adverts. Although the people I met in the modern bar were ok."
Jackson: "Yes they were nice."
Me: "We're getting better anyway."
Jackson: "Yes it's a learning experience."
We talk some more then I drive home.
As I'm driving I consider what we said about fame. It's essential to go to the same place regularly and become well-known. Getting on well with someone on first meeting happens when you appear as if you're popular or famous by the way you act and dress. But many people need to see you round regularly before they feel they can speak to you.
Then again it could be simpler than that. People are cautious at first when they meet someone, then come away and consider the conversation, then decide if they see you again that it would be nice to get to know each other better.
Another thing is that on nights out if you always expect to get people's contact details you can end up feeling hostile towards those who don't swap details. I had a good conversation with the lady and guy I met in the modern bar, and the first two I spoke to in the Met. The aim of going out when socialising is to stay in conversation, so swapping contact details is an added extra and not the reason fro going out. If you're having a fun time and being a social person contact details will follow.
Summary and venue reviews: Saturday 13th December
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The Woodstock pub
Medium busy. Clientele: smart casual, smart, a few yobs. Decor: 9/10. Music: classic hits, jazz.
The Woodstock pub
Busy. Clientele: mostly smart, some smart casual. Decor: 7/10. Music: dance, chart.
Notes: A modern bar with a DJ and some people dancing in the spaces. A place where it's easy to start conversations with people.
Busy. Clientele: smart casual, professionals - a teacher, scientist, corporate finance. Decor: 7/10.
Notes: Very cliquey.
Notes: Standing on the pavement of Wilmslow Road while talking.