These holidays are a rite of passage that teach kids about responsibility and that it's ok for them to make mistakes
Photo Credit : Thesun
You haven't been on a club 18-30 without attending a foam party
IT is a hot July night in the late Nineties. Two hundred holidaymakers pour off four coaches at an open-air nightclub in the middle of the countryside on Ibiza.
While everyone is being counted off their bus a hedgerow nearby rocks violently back and forth.
The grunting and groaning can signal only one thing.
The sun hasn’t set, not one vodka Red Bull has been downed and yet a couple are already having sex in the bushes.
Moments later he strolls out smiling broadly and flicks the condom over his shoulder.
She follows, readjusting her skirt. Everyone cheers.
He does a fist pump to his mates and she pulls down her boob tube, flashing her breasts at her girlfriends.
The same guy went on to have sex with five other women that evening.
By the end of the night he was rubbing cocaine on his willy to try to maintain an erection.
How do I know? My TV crew and me were filming him for the iconic Sky One series Ibiza Uncovered.
Over one summer I saw people having sex on stage, witnessed vast quantities of alcohol downed in seconds and dodged more puke on pavements in one hour than an A&E nurse cleans up over New Year’s Eve.
It might sound depraved and debauched but the fortnight rite of passage ensured those same kids returned home as smarter and wiser adults.
Over the years I have made countless 18-30-based documentaries around the Med.
The behaviour is wilder and more X-rated than any brochure can suggest — without it being relegated to the top shelf.
That’s why I am gutted that there is a question mark dangling over the experience; Club 18-30 owners Thomas Cook said this week it is “exploring options” for the brand’s future, including a possible sale.
Naysayers may comment “bloody good riddance” to the iconic institution that sticks two fingers up to political correctness. But I disagree.
Back in the Eighties and Nineties there were no low-cost flights to Alicante or flight-comparison websites.
Instead the entire package tour was laid on for you — and there were zero complaints.
The hotels were laughably basic. The food was about as foreign as a Maccy D’s.
The pools often had more than lilos floating in them. But none of that mattered.
The “factory fortnight” annual leave was when things really kicked off in resorts such as Ibiza’s San Antonio and Corfu’s Kavos.
When the night flights churned out the up-for-it guys and girls, most didn’t bother going to bed.
When you arrived the reps flogged you the tours that went with the holiday — the bar crawls, booze cruises and wet T-shirt contests.
In reality, the price of the add-on excursions doubled the cost of the holiday. But no one cared because to decline was to miss out on the opportunity for lots of sex.
Sex underpins the 18-30 experience and the games designed by the reps encourage it.
Whether it is passing a water-filled condom down a line using only your thighs, or timing who can put the condom on an oiled courgette the quickest.
To be a holiday rep you need the drinking stamina of an elephant and the energy of the Duracell bunny. Many burned out or got kicked out and sent back to the UK. Holiday reps aren’t supposed to shag one another — obviously that rule goes out the window the second the plane lifts off from Britain.
In every resort I have filmed at, the reps have kept score of the number of women they had sex with. Did the girls know this? Absolutely. Did they care? No.
It is primal. Sex on holiday isn’t about love and happy ever after. More than once I heard it described as an itch that needed to be scratched.
Is it a suspect institution rotten to the core? Nope. What I saw is that underneath the sex, the dubious games and the round-the-clock drinking was an 18-30 safety net that protected men and women on holiday. The bar crawls were staffed by dozens of reps ensuring everyone got safely from one pub to another.
Admittedly by the end of each bar crawl it wasn’t unusual to see couples attempting to have sex against the bar, someone crashed out on the pavement in his urine-stained jeans or a girl face down in a goldfish-sized cocktail bowl of her own vomit.
But the purpose of the night was to consume enough shots to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool — and make it out alive afterwards.
The opportunity for sex is jumped on every minute of the day. I made the mistake of meeting the groups I was filming for a morning-after catch-up.
I soon stopped using my universal door card key — because I’d often interrupt a couple in the kitchen, the loo or even on the balcony going at it hell for leather.
The same women who prefer the missionary position and the lights off in the bedroom back in the UK don’t give a monkeys when they are away.
It can be the only reason so many willingly enter the wet T-shirt competitions.
My theory is the more that a girl says “no way” the more likely you are to see her on stage, arms in the air, egging the crowd on with her soaked top clinging to her braless boobs.
Us Brits are certainly not afraid to get wet and wild
Who are we to judge if — for some women — there is something empowering about a bloke pouring a jug of water over her nipples? No one was forced to do it, either.
While filming a beach sunrise, I got used to seeing women doing the walk of shame to their hotel. Sick in their hair, one shoe missing but usually with a cheeky smile on their faces. Sloping off to do the deed in the dunes And the beaches get busier when the sun goes down. While on a pub crawl it is easier to slope off to the sandy stretches than it is to bonk in an awkward, tiny loo with pee all over the floor.
We could always tells those who had done the deed in the dunes — bites on their legs and sand burns on their knees. My favourite nights to film were out with groups of girls. “We’re not here for a long time, we’re here for a good time!” was the motto of one lot I followed.
Make no mistake. Every girl had already earmarked their target. Getting ready and the female camaraderie was just as important as the night out itself. And if you didn’t get laid? You always had a mate to walk back to the apartment with. Perhaps the most outrageous nights were the foam parties.
When the soapy liquid was fired over the dance floor it was as though a “have sex now!” klaxon had sounded. Clothes would regularly be lost in the foam. More than once I saw women in a panic because after the foam had evaporated they had nothing to wear to go home in.
It wasn’t all sex, either. During one season a couple had a holiday romance and got engaged on the dance floor. On another island I’ve seen a holiday rep have the confidence to come out. For those who went home without a tan it was to be celebrated.
But in the middle of the chaos, these holidays are a rite of passage that forge friendships, teach kids about responsibility and let them make the mistakes that turn teenagers into adults — and I for one am sad to see them go.
Photo Credit : Alamy, Rex features