Generational differences in discos, booze and sex

Gen Zs are drinking, smoking and sexing less than Millennials did while growing up

In Summary

• Teens clubbing after lying to parents about whereabouts did not start yesterday

Image: OZONE

In the same way that every generation mistakenly believes it invented sex for recreation and not just for procreation, some of my generation believe they were the first to have daytime discos.

For those who may not know this already, my generation is known as Generation X, which means we were born between 1965-80. 

The one link between the two imagined inventions, for many young people, is the discovery of booze and cigarettes.

Meanwhile, a report from the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention shows that members of Gen Z are smoking less, drinking less and having less sex than Millennials did when they were in their teens and 20s.

For your information, dear reader, Gen Z are those born between 1996 and 2010, and Millennials are those people born between 1981 and 1995.

I got to thinking about daytime discos recently because a childhood friend was deejaying at an event in Nairobi that was mainly aimed at Gen X and was set to run from noon to 8pm.

I had every intention of going until a stomach upset, probably caused by a beer that was long past its sell-by date, and a terrible cold caused by exposure to weather fluctuations, put a stop to my plans.

By all accounts, the event was a rip-roaring success, and I guess if I am in town for the next one, I will have to go.

When I was aged about 15 or 16, it wasn’t easy getting into nightclubs and discotheques here in Nairobi. Of course my agemates and I managed to occasionally get in, even though it was technically illegal as we were under 18.

However, regular attendance at venues such as Visions, the Carnivore, Silvermines (at the Silver Springs Hotel), Club Ainsworth and the Sailing Club was not possible for most of us.

This was because we lived at home with strict, watchful parents, who were not about to give us carte blanche to the city’s vibrant nightlife. Also, some of them were still attending the said venues and would not have been amused to bump into their teenage children there.  

As with every rule, there are exceptions. The more creative, persuasive and downright devious of my agemates could always find a way to go out on the three big nights. These big nights were Wednesday (Ladies’ Night) Friday (Members’ Day) and Saturday.

The rest of us had to settle for weekend matinees at now mainly long-gone venues, such as the Beat House, Annabelles, Club Hollywood and the still-open Florida 2000.

We would dance weekend afternoons away at these clubs and others, having lied to our parents and guardians about where we were really going.  

The great thing was that the revelry was generally over by about 5pm, which meant you could get home before dark and maintain the fiction you had been to the cinema or visiting a friend.

Many of my generation also began experimenting with alcohol at these events. Though for some of us, the music and dancing was more important, so we’d often buy beers that would go flat while we filled the dance floor, forcing us to buy more beers.

These matinees were also where young people met and made assignations with other young people they fancied and began experimenting with sex.

I remember thinking that we were the first generation to have these daytime weekend shenanigans. However, as an adult, while chatting to members of the  Baby Boomer Generation, or those born between 1946 and 1964, I learnt about something they called Boogies.

Boogies were essentially what we called daytime discos. The main venues for these included places such as Club 1900, where the GTC centre now stands, and the Starlight club, which was at the spot now occupied by the Integrity Centre.

I am curious to find out what members of Generation Alpha, those born between 2010 and 2024, will be getting up to when their time, which is fast approaching, comes.

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