[I’ve already told this story but I decided to rewrite it in the context of a similar fake club experience in Thailand]
It’s late spring 2016 and I’m a little bored after a week in Warsaw. My good friend El Commandante messages me on WhatsApp, “let’s do a trip Big Bro”. I’m not really in the mood for more travel but he talks enthusiastically about Odessa, Ukraine.
“I’ve heard it’s good, bro. There’s a big nightclub complex on the beach called Arcadia”
I’d quite liked Kiev so I wondered if the coastal old resort town of Odessa might be a hidden gem. I only knew one daygamer who’d ever been and he’d given an inconclusive report. There were short direct flights out of Warsaw airport so I allowed my arm to be twisted. It would be the first new city I’d explore that year.
Coming out of the ramshackle airport I find the shuttle bus station and it’s literally – I shit you not – a corrugated iron shed. There’s one bus every half hour and it’s a battered old mini-bus. That bus ride through the outskirts of Odessa made me appreciate just how poor and backward much of Ukraine is. No wonder the Russians look down on them.
That’s not to say they are bad people. I’ve met a lot of Ukrainians I like. But fucking hell, it was barely a step up from Africa. As soon as I dumped my bag at a swanky Old Town hotel it started to rain. That rain only stopped for brief intervals over the next five days. Fuck.
It was Friday so El Commandante and I took a walk around the main tourist street. It was deadsville. All the foot traffic was families on holiday or unattractive locals. I saw literally one set in two hours. Kiev this wasn’t.
“Let’s get a taxi to the club, bro” said my friend.
It was quite a hike to Arcadia but as we rolled in around midnight it was pretty clear that every attractive girl in town was there. Strolling down the central plaza we passed small mixed groups sitting on benches eating ice cream and gaggles of high-heeled girls stumbling towards the nightclubs at the far end. We tried some club whose name I forget. It was pleasant. The rain had stopped so dozens of people lounged around tables in the open air and what looked like a hen party danced to cheesy music. There were a few hot girls but it was somewhat underwhelming given Odessa’s reputation.
“Let’s try next door” I offered. We walked into Ibiza club.
“Fucking hell!” we both shouted. “This is pussy paradise!”
I have never – before or since – seen so many beautiful women in one place. The club had space for several hundred patrons and it was full. I quickly did a count of all the eights and stopped after five minutes when I reached 25. There were actually enough nines to make it worth counting. It’s no joke to say it was like the Victoria Secrets catwalk was a nightclub. Absolute stunners in abundance, all dolled up to the max.
“I don’t think I’ll ever leave this place” I said. And yet I’ve never been back. Why?
El Commandante and I started opening. The girls were friendly but we just couldn’t get any compliance. Laughs and chat were easy but trying to bounce them anywhere was impossible. They just stood in the same spot forever. After eight or nine sets I ran out of steam, sensing the futility. We posted up at a bar towards the beach which offered good sight lines of the outdoor dance floor and it’s surrounding areas. We watched.
“At least a third of these girls came in with their boyfriends” I noticed. The couples and groups were having great fun but completely insular, just sequestering themselves away from the crowd on pool chairs. All the other girls were in groups of three or more.
“Have you seen a single girl move from her spot?” I asked my Turkish friend. “It’s like they are mannequins in a shop window.”
Shortly after 1am the PUAs came in. There were five of them and each seemed aware of the other’s presence without actually being friends. We then watched as each of the five opened literally every girl in the nightclub who wasn’t with a boyfriend. Literally every girl had her turn with each PUA. There were also a few non-community guys trying to get laid. One Turk caught my eye because he looked like Dwayne Johnson. Big, jacked, handsome, and very well dressed he’d dance near girls and start trying to get their attention. After a few minutes he’d say a few words.
There was a quartet of foreign guys wearing t-shirts of the same surf shop who I assume live there as instructors. One was pretty cool, looking like James Franco in Pineapple Express and with a good outgoing vibe. He clearly led his gang, who deferred to him. I first picked them out when I saw them on the edge of the dance floor talking to two low-eights. My head also turned when a huge American guy ordered a drink next to me. Imagine Zach Galfianakas from The Hangover but jacked like He-Man and very good looking – pretty close to a male ten and with physical presence.
For the next five hours, until sun-up and closing time, I watched these men try to get laid. This is what I saw.
- None of the five PUAs got anything. Nothing at all. They never once kissed a girl or even moved her from one part of the club to another. Zero compliance.
- The Rock didn’t get a thing. He ended the night propped against the bar with a whiskey in his hand and a defeated look in his eyes, as if he couldn’t believe a man of his value could work so hard and get so little. The next night when I returned to Ibiza he’d bought a VIP table and bottle service, looking glassy eyed as an obvious hooker kept him company.
- The surfers spent literally all night working the same two set and then around 4am the girls waved goodbye and went home alone. The surfers spent the next hour muttering darkly amongst themselves.
- A drunk unattractive blonde – quite possibly the ugliest girl in the nightclub – threw herself at Zach so he made out with her and then took her home. She was four points below him.
- El Commandante and myself got nothing either.
A couple of months later I received a message from my enthusiastic Danish friend who looks like Jason Statham. “I’m in Odessa. Arcadia is pussy paradise!” he enthused.
“Watch carefully and tell me if anyone pulls in that club” I replied.
Four hours later he messaged. “Nothing. Nobody is getting laid here.”
On my last day in rain-soaked Odessa the sun had poked through the clouds and I had a mid-afternoon date with a Ukrainian girl I’d met in Warsaw the week before who’d coincidentally been planning an Odessa trip to see family. We spent a few hours drinking coffee and walking around but it wasn’t going anywhere. I inquired into the dating culture there.
“I don’t like it” she said. “Warsaw is more real. In Odessa there are lots of girls who’s job is to be a girlfriend. They don’t work. They spend all day in the gym or the salon or clothes shopping. Then they go to the club and advertise. They all compete to date the man with the most expensive car.”
Female rivalry aside, this smacked of truth. Ibiza nightclub isn’t real. Girls don’t go there to dance, have fun, and maybe hook up. It’s a shop window for tarts to find sugar daddies. Such a shame because the quality is phenomenal.