When we both embarked on the journey to find the illustrious ‘Mr St. Andrews’ in the steamy Venue 1 this week, we weren’t sure what to expect. Having been told that it was to be a “night of boisterous fun, debauchery and indulgent revelry, where the best St Andrews has to offer battle it out for the ultimate title of Mr St Andrews!”, we expected a lighthearted, charitable yet unusually inverted version of the classic American beauty pageant, with men rather than women being judged on stage according to their various talents. Yet what we found was nothing that we could have imagined before.
In typical Union style, Venue 1 took on its usual chameleonic charm. It had been transformed by the RAG Week team into a traditional American prom night, complete with the trademark splashes of purple in balloons, fairy lights and VIP tables with guaranteed wine and goodie bags (the contents of which were more than questionable). Yet no matter how transformative the settings became, staring at your surroundings for an extra 45 minutes while waiting on the proceedings to begin will always hark back to watching paint dry.
When the rounds began, they, just like the interior of the Union, quickly changed to resemble something completely different to what it says on the tin. If I told you that the first round was the best chat up line and the last was a scavenger hunt you would think we were complete prudes to be shocked at what was sandwiched in between them. But we’re from Glasgow, for fuck’s sake.
We don’t want to put you in the position that we were put in when we watched the rounds, so instead (like the ladies we are) we’ll be short and sweet. Condoms; cucumber; human poles; vibrators; lube; nudity; nipples; sex positions; lingerie… and a bare vagina. How masculine does this list sound for you? Because to us it sounds more like a kinky Anne Summers creation than a celebration of manhood and the quest for the ultimate gentleman, which we were under the illusion that it was supposed to be.
So Mr Postgraduate won. But the question that we left with was this; is it really about who won the biggest lad-fest in North-East Fife? Or should it be about the Union-permitted public exploitation of sexuality and the female body, and what that actually means to men at university – in particular, the patriarchal dome of the bubble? The incident of accidental female nudity (this happened when the guys had to race each other to see who could strip a girl to bra and knickers the fastest), on stage, is the microcosm of the ‘uni lad’ attitude that you can see washed all down the cobbled stones of our ancient town.
The inner turmoil that one was faced with when sitting watching that biggest-cock fest was the most interesting part; there we were, wondering what was more wrong of us – to laugh along, or sit incredulous and wonder why others aren’t doing the same. How many other girls are willing to turn a blind eye to this behaviour in order to be more appealing – are we striving to become lads ourselves? How big is the glass ceiling of St. Andrews?
And, most importantly, is this another little monstrosity of St. Andrews that is hidden under the shaded umbrella of ‘charity’ much like every other Kate Kennedy or Lumsden Club event? (It should be noted that we asked both the Union President, Chloe Hill, and RAG week coordinator, Fiona Lewis, on their own take on the events, and both declined to comment.) When will it ever stop? Will anyone stand up to the laddish attitude that preside over our little town?
To be fair, there were some genuinely fun moments in the night. But in the end, all we can hope is that what we saw on that stage really isn’t the best that St Andrews has to offer. If so, we might just start our testosterone injections now.