Sex life suffering from evening after evening looking at the same old ceiling? Try our ultimate Cambridge destinations for size. Just don’t get caught.
No sex please; we’re at Cambridge. Well, that’s what you tell yourself on those lonely nights in with only Spenser’s sonnets and a cup of tea (or pitcher of vodka – depends how long it really has been) for company. Of course it’s not you, it’s so them. Obviously. Cambridge boys are sexually and emotionally repressed. Cambridge girls are frigid. Etcetera.
But for those elusive few (unconfirmed rumours christen them The Varsity 100) who are hooking up and screwing around, we can imagine it all gets a little dull. You may, as the old adage goes, have seen more ceilings than Michelangelo, but no college has a ceiling to rival a Renaissance frieze. Suggesting a series of ultimate locations might be a little niche if only the chosen few are getting any mileage out of them, but it gives the rest of us something to aspire to if and when it happens (boys – something for the ‘bank’ when you get a bit worried about the I.T. department monitoring your web history?) And if you can’t find someone to do it with, take a tip from Durham. You know what I mean.
Who: Arts students. Nothing like the smell of vellum-bound manuscripts in the Rare Books room to get you going.
Risk (i.e. Appeal): Take a five minute walk into its recesses and chances are you won’t see another person for miles (and anyone you do see is likely to be far too myopic/addled from sixty years of academia to have any comprehension of what the heavy breathing might signify). Apparently the porn’s stashed in the roof – extra kudos for getting it on next to a Victorian wank rag.
Legality: Based on how livid the chief librarian was when she discovered during the obligatory search upon exit that I had been carrying around a packet of Wrigley’s Extra all day (chewing gum, is not, I maintain, a foodstuff), I’d say approach with caution. Another rumour goes that the skeletons of those who have wronged her in the past constitute the main ingredient of the absurdly cheap soup of the day.
Comfort: Having a book lodged in your back does not make for sexytime. Table would be slightly more comfy.
Tab Says: "Burn after reading."
The Laundry Room
Who: Obsessive compulsives, mysophobics.
Risk (i.e. Appeal): Rises exponentially if it is A. a weekend B. nearer the end of term.
Legality: Better hope there isn’t a rogue CCTV camera lodged in the corner. Deans don’t take too kindly to their premises being turned into the set of a low-budget porn film.
Comfort: Washing machines are recommended as one of the inanimate objects with which to use in autoeroticism; sharing it with a partner could only increase the thrill. Girls, beware of any boy too keen on this one, I can’t help feeling there is something slightly Oedipal about the inclination to get it on surrounded by the motherly smell of clean laundry.
Tab Says: "Give it a spin (dry)."
The Fellows Garden
Who: The outdoorsy-type, 50% of women, apparently.
Risk (i.e. Appeal): See UL. Old academics may well be duped into believing it is merely a couple of ducks they can hear rolling around in the bushes, and that the term, ‘swallow’ will refer solely to the species of migrating bird.
Legality: In terms of criminality, according to the dubious website I consulted on the matter, the law says that as long as you expect a ‘decent amount of privacy’ in your chosen location, then it’s fair game. If, however, a block of accommodation looks onto your fellows garden, I’d say approach with caution, They may have four A Levels but they are not necessarily above dogging.
Comfort: Avoid the winter months (a sharp frost is a bit of a turn off). However, a bed of daffodils is better than a kick in the teeth (or a concrete slab). Just don’t leave any incriminating evidence (underwear, possessions, Durex wrappers – or worse) lying about. Chances are Marlowe/Byron/someone else on your reading list sat here composing a sonnet (in the hope that they’d get laid) and the college won’t take too kindly to finding out you and your hormones have defiled it.
Tab Says: "It’s all about the Birds and the Bees."
Backstage at the ADC
Who: Thesps, theatre critics, groupies.
Risk (i.e. Appeal): I had an encounter with one of the managers of the ADC last night. I was trying, in what I see now was a moment of hopeless and inexcusable naiveté, to take a drink into A Midsummer Night’s Dream. How foolish of me – of course I look like someone who would, mid-way through, get up and start clubbing random members of the audience to death with my small wine glass. In other words, make sure he’s not about.
Legality: May result in a life-time ban from all ADC productions (though if you’ve shagged a director, prepare to find yourself cast as the leading light in every mainshow until you graduate/he finds a new backstage bint).
Comfort: Having peeked backstage at the ADC once in my life (I know what you’re thinking, and no, it was not in research for this piece) I can confirm there is all manner of bizarre objects lying about. You might get lucky and discover an abandoned bed; you might get unlucky and find yourself hooking up in an abandoned cage.
Tab Says: "Drama Queen."
The Gyp Room
Who: Those who fancy themselves as a bit of a connoisseur of student dining (i.e. those who turn their noses up at you when you shuffle in with your Sainsbury’s Basics ready meal and a bottle of Ketchup – Heinz hides a myriad of sins against tastebuds); those who believe in the power of the aphrodisiac.
Risk (i.e. Appeal): Difficult to determine. Student eating patterns are sporadic. You might think a bit of afternoon delight is just what you want and likely to go undetected, but your next-door neighbour might not appreciate concocting her mid-afternoon snack with you and your conquest writhing away next to the toastie machine.
Legality: Slip the bedder a cheeky tenner and she’ll turn a blind eye.
Comfort: I burnt my hand on the hob last week and everyone’s been/seen that twat who spills the contents of the hot kettle not into their mug but onto their hand. Make sure all appliances are off at the wall.
Tab Says: "Just don't make a meal of it."
The College Chapel
Who: The same kind of perverts who think it is acceptable to have sex in a graveyard. I include this only because a rumour ran round my college last year that someone had actually done the deed in St Catharine’s very own house.
Risk (i.e. Appeal): Beware of the choir/a touring access group/a late night prayer session. You might be too wrapped up in ‘it’ to notice the eerie crescendo of Handel’s Messiah/adolescent guffaws/the tragic weeping of one who is hyperventilating in a pew, cradling their purity ring. Check the coast is clear before you condemn your soul to fiery death.
Legality: ‘Where is the place that men call hell?/Under the heavens.’ Prepare to find yourself there if you attempt this. The Dean’s jurisdiction ends with graduation; Satan won’t ever let you forget it.
Comfort: If stone cold floors and rigid pews are your thing, you've probably got some pretty strange perversions anyway. Let's face it, if you weren't repulsed by this suggestion altogether and stopped reading several lines ago, you don't seem the type to insist on ambient lighting, more cushions than DHS and a roaring fire for one of your evenings in.
Tab Says: "God is always watching."