This article originally appeared on THUMP Germany.
People go to the club to be free—to forget their mundane daily routines and the social constructs that govern their lives. Maybe they even want to overdo it, to forget themselves a bit. Those are all perfectly human desires, but what about the hundreds of other people at the club who also want to cut loose? Things can get messy fast in a room full of inebriated clubbers, so we should probably establish some ground rules to keep everyone safe and happy.
And what better place to start than the Ten Commandments? Since we assume you're already familiar with the basics like "Thou Shalt Not Kill," we've created the Ten Commandments of Clubbing. We promise you'll learn to appreciate them. Amen!
1. Thou Shalt Not Knock Into Thy Neighbor on the Dance Floor
It's Friday afternoon, and you're counting the minutes until freedom. You've been plotting out your weekend for days now. Go home, take a power nap, then out you go! Woo!
After you've gotten past the bouncer and left all that pesky clothing at the coat check, you finally make it to the dance floor. You're really getting into a zone, but then, out of nowhere… a punch to the gut! What's going on? Is someone trying to start something?!
Immediately your eyes zero in on the offending object: A backpack. What, did some hiker get lost in here? Unfortunately, backpacks in the middle of the dance floor are a tragic reality of nightlife.
In the event that you're one of those backpack-wearing people, please, just coat check your damn bag, shove it in a corner, or leave it at home. The only thing more treacherous than the backpack-wearers are glasses and bottles negligently left on the dance floor.
A personal photo from our esteemed colleague, Angus Harrison.
But there are other hazards lurking in the shadows of the club: Flailing extremities.
If you think you're the perfect mix of Misty Copeland, Justin Bieber, and a contestant on So You Think You Can Dance, chances are you're really giving off more of a Ryan Seacrest/Jenny McCarthy- vibe. We don't mind your enthusiasm and free spirit! Just remember that a single flying elbow, misplaced knee, or lapse in inner-ear balance can ruin the fun for everyone.
The only people worse than inconsiderate dancers are the people who aren't dancing but refuse to relinquish their place on the floor. They just stand there looking demonstratively annoyed, sighing and scrolling through their phones, obstructing the free movement of everybody else.
2. Thou Shalt Not Pester Thy Neighbor With Thy Smartphone
If photos and videos are allowed in the club where you're partying, duck faces and dog-filters will reign free. Along with the compulsive selfie-takers busy distracting everyone else with their self-obsessed ways, there's also the amateur videographers who will freak out every time somebody stands their way. "Thanks for ruining my night!," they'll say. You're welcome, since you're probably not having much fun if you're taking videos instead of getting into a groove.
Selfies-takers and delusional cameramen aside, it's fine to text your friends once in a while, especially when you lose them in a club. But you should really limit smartphone use, because it's super annoying to see your piercing blue display when you're standing (or swaying) in the middle of the dance floor.
3. Thou Shall Not Exceed Thy Limit
Excess and escapism go hand in hand. Although people try overanalyzing recreational drug and alcohol use, at the end of the day, it's as simple as craving a night to let loose. While this seems obvious, you should get to know your limits. Because nobody's happy if you're shriveled up in a corner with vomit gradually crusting on your sweater, eyes open with nobody home. Not only could you really damage your health, but you could also ruin your friends' evening if they get stuck babysitting you for hours.
4. Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor's Spot in The Bathroom Line
Bathroom lines in clubs are an interesting beast. Regardless of how much filth they've accumulated over the years, restrooms are permanently in high demand, just like that diner down the street where you always end up after a long night. Waiting in line for what feels like an eternity really puts a damper on the night when you could be on the dance floor meeting your next fling.
But don't despair. While in line, you can gossip with friends, answer texts, or scroll through Instagram—cool, Lena and Felix are currently eating buckwheat pancakes topped with fresh fruit and crème fraiche for brunch. Waiting alone? Forgot your phone? No worries! Removed from the noise of the bar and the dance floor, the bathroom line is the ideal spot to make new friends.
Just don't be the guy or gal who struts straight to the front of the line or cuts in front of other people. Keep in mind, there's really only one reason you will be excused from waiting your turn: If you're about to explode from any of your major orifices.
5. Thou Shalt Not Crowd the Pulpit of Thy DJ
Oh yeah, we've seen you. You start inconspicuously moving in from the corner of the dance floor, then slowly weave your way through the crowd and wait for the right moment to strike. And suddenly, BAM. You're standing there, clumsily reaching out your hand to the person behind the booth, resulting in a painfully awkward fist bump/high-five mishap. In that moment, your facial features appear to finally relax. You're on your way to your own personal Nirvana, a place of eternal contentment.
But the DJ's face reads quite differently. If you could hear him above the noise, he'd be saying, "Can you piss off? I'm trying to work here, and your clammy, chubby little hands and idiotic grin are blocking my view. And no, I won't play your request."
6. Thou Shalt Not Harass Thy Neighbor
You're on the dance floor, swaying to the music—eyes closed, smile wide. Suddenly, two sweaty hands rip you from your tranquil meditation, and you swat them away. Earlier, some random guy was dying to start up a conversation about your "really cool earrings," and another pushy creep kept trying to buy you a drink even though you declined his invitation three times.
Please don't get us wrong: PDA is rampant on any dance floor, but it takes two to tango. Before even making any attempt at getting physical with a stranger, you need verbal consent and a reciprocal smile. The instant a person doesn't reciprocate interest or even rejects advances, it's time to politely bow out.
7. Thou Shalt Not Sing Along
I can't really think of anything else worse in the world than a person trying to sing along to a song they don't know the words to—or singing it loudly and off key. I've had a rough last few months, and I don't think I could handle it.
And if you're one of those people that wants to clap along, please don't. Thank you!
8. Thou Shalt Not Talk Your Neighbor's Ear Off
The occasional hand on the shoulder—followed by a wide-eyed, hoarse "DUUUUUUUDEEE, SICK BEAT"—is about the maximum of direct communication that's allowed on the dance floor. There's no bigger downer than a couple of buzzkills who insist on loudly discussing and dissecting their dissertation proposals during "Daydream"—and it's definitely not okay during "Polynomial C," either. Save your thoughts, worries, and ideas for the bathroom line or the afterparty.
9. Thou Shalt Keep an Eye Out for Thy Neighbor
Of course you want to have fun when you're going out, but no matter how insane the party is, you should always keep an eye out for your fellow humans. No, you don't have to love them all, but courtesy and cooperation are the basis of civil society.
If you're out at a club, and somebody seems to be having a bad time, go check in on them to see if everything is alright. If you pick up on someone's party being ruined by an unwanted advance, offering to help them can work wonders. And of course, if you're worried about somebody's safety, let the staff at the club know.
10. Thou Shalt Not Tell Your Neighbor How to Party
Seriously, nothing is worse than a busy-body.