Long exposure, dancefloor
Life is not easy for a local girl. For one thing, harassment is the norm. If you walk down the street, you will be sexually harassed. I know exactly zero girls who have not been flashed or masturbated at. Barring that general level of disrespect, we’ve appropriated both the Puritan and depraved elements of western culture with precious little in between. Girls are either at home forever or out clubbing at 14. There is, of course, a space in between, but it is largely an imagined community which takes a certain amount of delusion to sustain. There’s a lot of carnage on either side. I honestly don’t know anything about good girls so I will restrict this discussion to the ‘bad’.
When I was young I really wanted to drink and go to clubs. This seemed like an adult thing to do. Alcohol made me puke and clubs were boring and lonely but these obvious signals made no difference. Now I am somewhat more sanguine, but I suppose I had to figure that out. I do go out occasionally and am generally horrified, which is amusing in its own way.
In Sri Lanka there is no particular legal age enforced so many nightclubs and bars are full of teenagers. White Horse is effectively a high school cafeteria with booze and the occasionally seedy men lurking in the shadows. I still hang out with younger people that go, but I can only take the place in small doses. The boys spend way too much time on their hair and I feel irrepressibly square.
Preteens are going out and what their parents are doing or thinking is beyond me. Growing up in Ohio we had to work really hard to ‘party’ and drink, there was significant coordination of parent’s travel schedules, guest-lists, older siblings to buy booze. Barring that, fake IDs or penknife trickery. Kids here just walk into a bar.
There is also a nascent drug scene in Colombo comprised, generally, of bad drugs and bad people. There are coked up models following squandered inheritances, people popping ecstasy flavored speed and disappearing for days. I wouldn’t include weed seeing as it is A) a plant and B) not a potently cultivated one. I suppose drugs can be done, uh, mindfully. Ecstasy was once a therapeutic thing. However, a lot of people are doing the things to get away, but where they get to may be worse than before.
None of these things, of course, are inherently bad in themselves. Things are not as corrosive as people, and context. A lot of people in this scene are not especially nice. A girl is all right if she has her friends with her, but barring that, the club or dance floor is often full of sharks. People from broken families end up in a somewhat broken social scene without any particular values at the bottom of it. And no particular way to orient. They reject a culture without realizing that the counter-culture is also fucked up.
One issue is that the men in these scenes tend to be much older than the girls, and somewhat more sophisticated. I know quite a few girls who hang out with older men because younger ones are sorta tools (fair enough) without realizing that the older ones are often even more deeply immature. Just with a bit more polish. There is a whole cadre of spoilt party kids that never grew up that go on spoiling another generation. There is a whole cadre of married men that go out and cheat religiously, using the trappings of adult sophistication to mask a vulgar and venal inside.
But I digress, and I’m generalizing of course. I also go out and while I like to think I keep myself oriented, who knows. I also exclude men from this discussion like they somehow can’t get hurt, and I guess they do. It just seems that this counter-culture has the lure of freedom when it’s often just different chains. That is, getting out of ones parent’s house has the appeal of getting out of a bad paternalistic system, but there’s another paternalistic system outside. But who’s to say. I just know that this isn’t Kansas anymore and there is a lot of dirt and sadness behind the scene.