“It is to these initiation events that girls cry to be involved in, make friends with people for, and cling to every last hope that they will get that anonymous invite in their pigeon hole.”
… resident loudmouth, busybody and socialite queen, Lexi Abrams brings you the latest from Cambridge’s elites.
Spine-tingling, Chuck Bass-At-Yale-type episodes and mystifying secrets that cry for attention – INITIATIONS! A scary mixture of alcohol, sex, and power play. Who would turn down the dark rebellion that is the traditional gateway to the crux of one’s Cambridge social life?
Initiations are charactarised by secrecy and suspense. Euphemisms take the foreground and rumours spread like wildfire: does one society really make their initiees swallow a live fish? Do others actually endorse stealing furniture from other colleges with the same initial? Most ceremonies will have kind undertones to their activities, others will be downright brutal. One is generally supposed to prove oneself, demonstrate the value that they will bring to the group. Except in Cambridge initiations, one can’t. All one has to do is sit back, not argue, and take vicious orders with placid smiles on their faces. Nevertheless, it is to these events that (predominantly) girls cry to be involved in, make friends with people for, and cling to every last hope that they will get that anonymous invite in their pigeon hole.
Of course, this is completely bitchy. The whole thing is. What is the point of picking five girls, out of a hundred others, to be painted, tortured and laughed at whilst others look on with jealousy? It’s little more than a game of humiliation. But it’s apparently a necessary part of the Cambridge social scene – a cornerstone of the social hierarchies that we all love to hate.
Seeing the subjects being dragged out of their ent last week, kicking and screaming on the floor – well, that proved the most exciting part of this weekend for many. Except when the girls’ male counterparts became jealous of all the attention, broke into people’s rooms to have omelettes consisting of raw eggs and chocolate spread.
Such drunken behaviour has become inconsequential in Cambridge life. When are we not teetering around with bottles of cheap and cheerful alcohol in our hands, or drinking in our rooms just for the sake of it? Alcohol is, without exception, the primary ingredient for all initiation activities. It is the tool of power and control. Initiations have a tendency to end horrifically – far worse than a £70 credit card receipt of VKs and a truly shameful walk of shame. I remember the story a couple of years ago about a friend of mine having to climb a wall, only to fall on the skylights below – his friends thought he was dead. This week, in fact, one of the initiated was described as being ‘scarily close to death, wandering around in his dressing gown without supervision after having passed out.’ And that wasn’t even at a drinking society initiation. If initiations are going to happen, that’s fine. But please, please remember that everyone’s tolerance is different, and being carried out of the Curry King toilets at 8:30pm as one lucky lady was last night – it’s not the only way to shame someone.
Despite the social issues and obvious dangers involved, it has to be said that Cambridge initiations aren’t all evil. After a night of X Factor renditions and suckling some strange liquid from one proud boy’s fake breasts, initiees this week were taken to dinner at the Mahal, where the serenity and sophistication of the establishment provided a suitable end to their evening. The climax of their night represented just what a society should: community. Involvement. Everyone was smiling, everyone proud – one initiator repeatedly boasted that he was a ‘motherfucking B.I.I.M.P’, not quite realizing his crucial spelling mistake. The songs of merriment certainly suggested it was all worth it, the vomit and torture seemingly immediately forgotten, irrelevant. They were in now, they had made it. And when belonging to such societies involves queue jump to Cindies, well. Why not?