“One can never forget that strip of itchy, yet necessary, blue and red insignia that I carry around with me like a tattoo of elitism – my John’s scarf.”
‘You’re becoming too ‘Cambridge’, Lexi’, my friends say, disapproving looks shadowing their faces, and promises of a ‘breaking of all ties’ being pledged, should I continue to act in this despicable way.
What, may I ask, is ‘too Cambridge?’, and why is it bad? What’s wrong with being intellectually brilliant, better than Oxford at absolutely everything, darn right good looking and a completely arrogant twat? I realize, now, that the phrase ‘arrogant twat’ pops up quite a lot in what I write. And there’s good reason for it. Here, in the city that may not have dreaming spires but is better anyway, we all think we’re G-d’s gift. Is it because I’m falling into that pit of Cambridge opulence that is so foreboding to the outside world? My friends don’t like me sitting at candlelit dinners, going to ‘Drinks’ with a string quartet or attending balls at the world famous Cambridge Union on any old Saturday night. They want me to be passive, sit in front of the television, or, if I insist on going out, at least go to a club where the carpeted floor is reminiscent of an Essex bowling alley. They don’t want me to associate with the Blues, the Pitt Club or anyone else with an ounce of social standing (which is hard to come by, unless you’re at John’s or in a society with a bow tie and/or blazer).
It’s all about social climbing you see, how to be and be seen. I’m in two drinking societies for a reason – and it’s not the alcohol, I barely even drink. Put it this way: I did the dirty double this week. Cindies on a Tuesday AND a Wednesday. Why the hell did I sink to such levels; was it just because I felt the need to dip my toe in the waters of gossip and banter at every opportunity, I hear you ask? The answer is because I fucking love Cambridge, and so would you if you were at John’s.
One can never forget that strip of itchy, yet necessary, blue and red insignia that I carry around with me like a tattoo of elitism – my John’s scarf. We play rugby better than anyone else around, and definitely, definitely have the most exciting and bewitching members of the university. Tuesday night at Cindies epitomizes just what I’m talking about – walk through the door, go straight past the lonely man sitting at the cloakroom, waiting to charge you an extortionate amount to guard your life’s belongings whilst you behave in a terrifyingly irresponsible manner in said establishment – walk up the stairs and defiantly enter John’s Bar.
Go on, I dare you. The Red Sea will be there in its literal manifestation, ghastly red jumpers as numerous as the tabs of alcohol, stained with vomit and sweat. But don’t worry. You will be given attention. I guarantee that at some point some gallant fellow will look at you with a cheeky glint, bundle over, pick you up and spin you round with all the grace of an over-excited teddy-bear. I tell you this with authority – it happened to me four times this week.
Beware the nights when Big Fish decide to be particularly innovative and give said oversized tomatoes inflatable bats. If you have a death wish, you might want to partake – if you’re lucky, you’ll look like a leopard brandished with bruised hickies the next day, as the majority were. Otherwise, stand back and gaze from the crowded dancefloor of anonymity through the window of jealousy, into a world of glamour, fun and frenzy. I only associate with the elite. The Best.
That’s just how Cambridge works. We are all here because of our competitive nature, we all want to be the best. If the Pitt and the Hawks weren’t there, other societies would be taking their place. In fact, they already are – drinking societies appear almost the second the freshers walk through the grandiose doors of their colleges, proving that, deep down, all we want to do is be our best. We just do it the Cambridge way. And John’s do it better than everyone else.