For TOM RAMUSSEN, a night at The Cow begins with GAVA and ends with an aubergine.
I’m back in Cambridge, and it’s Monday morning. Tonight, it’s LGBT night at The Cow. As usual, I am woken up by Rihanna and her Rudeboy, aka: my alarm. I grope for my phone, and send the usual round robin text to my fabulous LGBT friends: “8pm. My room. Alcohol and gossip compulsory. Clothes optional. Lol. Xxxxx.” I’m already excited.
Throughout the day, replies, fuelled with exclamation marks and kisses, trickle in. Before we know it, evening is upon us.
7.30pm: I’m surrounded by clothes, and yet I’m wearing nothing but moisturiser and a towel on my head. I’m in the midst of an apocalyptic hissy fit; I have NOTHING TO WEAR!
8.30pm: My hair, makeup, and nails are almost perfect. But, I am still naked. I hear a knock at my door, accompanied by tipsy giggles. Shit.
9pm: Pungent wafts of gin, Stella and aftershave fill my room. Like alcohol, gossip is flowing. Conversation covers everything ranging from exam stress and Stonewall, to the new GaGa song and nail varnish. Some friends formulate battle plans: for them, tonight is the night to finally seduce that special someone. Others are coy, keeping their cards closer to their chests. And as for me, I busy myself sloshing gin in to cava with Nigella-like abandon, before feeding Tom Rasmussen brand GAVA to my unwilling victims.
10pm: It’s time for The Cow. After effusively reassuring each other: “You look grrrreaaatt..!” we deal first with standing up, and then with descending seven flights of stairs.
10.40pm: We finally arrive at The Cow. The bovine fun is already up and mooing. Huddled together in the doorway, we scan the room for exes, swiftly notifying one another with the obligatory: “What are they wearing?” We head to the bar en masse. This is the point where the night becomes hazy …
Like all Cambridge nights out, The Cow has its constants: excessive drunkenness, hilarious and horny overheards in the toilets, and the inevitable delight of rocking out to Jessie J with the damn fine Emily Brewster. And, as with any Cambridge nights, I am destined to reach either delight, or disaster.
Tonight, it’s disaster.
Tottering outside in a slightly fragile mood, I bump into the ex and he’s in the process of chatting up someone new. I scramble back inside. In my absence, the entire dance floor has coupled up. Pushing through the forest of slobbering twosomes, I find my friends and dance. But, my heart just isn’t in it.
To make matters worse, just as I’m executing a ‘pick-me-up get low’ to Rudeboy (the soundtrack to my life), I spot him again. Only this time, he’s tongue-twisting with the new man. Game over. I’m instantly sober.
I tell my friends I’m tired, and have a really busy day tomorrow. I battle off the swaying interlocked couples and make a swift exit.
Multiple frantic phone calls to the girls ensue, telling them not to get out of bed (but secretly hoping they’ll come over, bearing white chocolate cookies and their ears). The night ends with cuddles in bed and musings on the shite-ness of all men.
Next thing I know, it’s Tuesday morning. I wake up to an embarrassingly full outbox and an aubergine (don’t ask – I don’t know). Swallowing copious amounts of painkillers whilst treading on a census form soggy with GAVA, I take heed in the fact that there is nothing a Tattie’s breakfast, an embarrassed laugh, and Alanis Morissette won’t cure.
You see, the point about nights at The Cow is that their outcome is like tossing (pardon the pun) a coin. You never know how they’ll end. But, even when they end in disaster, it’s okay, because you’ve always got friends to fall back on. The best nights out aren’t about pulling or seeking revenge on our exes. They’re about celebrating our friends, and within that, celebrating the LGBT community as a group of proud, albeit often undignified, men and women.