The Tab tries: Sober Cindies

Rumboogie no rum – ‘Mr Brightside’ comes on at 11.45 and I genuinely wish I could choke on an alibi and die


Last Wednesday I ventured where no self-proclaimed sesh gremlin has gone before: I attempted to survive a Wednesday Cindies night without abusing my liver. That is to say, stone-cold sober. Some people call it masochism. I call it good journalism. And general boredom. And probably an ingrained bit of self-hatred. Having ended ArcSoc the night before crying into my nuggets, it was probably wise to not strain my mental stability any further.

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It's all fun and games until you find yourself crying in an alleyway wearing a home-made paper boob-tube

Of course, a lot of people prefer a sober night out. I've enjoyed sober times at Junction events and the occasional Friday Life, but let's be honest, Wednesday Cindies is a whole other kettle of over-enthusiastic fish with shit taste in music.

So while my friends play the question game, downing weird mixtures of gin and pineapple juice, I sip my green tea quietly in the corner, struggling to keep on the same wavelength as their drunken banter and worrying that my top might be too low-cut (a worry drunken-me never has).

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Pres are less fun when you're tea-total

The walk from college to Cindies is notably chilly without my alco-blanket. Not wanting to lose my keep cup in Cindies, I have nothing to sip on the journey and become the group's designated photographer (but in spite of my sobriety, the photos I take are Android-quality blurry).

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Queen's Parade?

We get in around 11 p.m. and by 11.01 I am hating myself and everyone around me. The feeling is apparently mutual as I am jostled about by people and shot a number of dirty looks by girls I have never met. Do they know I'm soberly judging them? Or am I always eyed angrily by people which in my drunken bliss I haven't noticed? Whatever it is, I feel uncomfortable and incredibly self-aware.

I realise my friends like me a lot less when I am sober and cynical than when I am being a happy, generous VK-gifting drunk. "Are you hating life?" One of them asks. "No, I'm hating Cindies!" I reply wittily. My sharp humour is wasted on them.

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Pro of not drinking on a night out: you don't end up falling on your face and smashing your phone screen. RIP

Cindies sober is essentially like the house party you went to when you were thirteen: a few Bacardi breezers or WKDs in hand, awkwardly brushing up on people you barely knew, and were destined to ignore in broad daylight, with mildly misogynistic pop playing in the background.

'Mr Brightside' comes on at 11.45 and I genuinely wish I could choke on an alibi and die. Rather that than watch everyone angrily shout 'it was only a kiss' and try not to catch their spit on my face.

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Do not open up my eager eyes please, I'm pretending not to be here.

The clock strikes midnight. I, unlike Cinderella, really want to get the hell out of here. I grumpily say to my irresponsibly intoxicated friends that I'm leaving. I convince myself that an hour is enough material for a beautifully constructed Tab article, and promise myself another cup of green tea and maybe a bagel in front of an episode of The Secret Life of 5 Year Olds as a wholesome end to a wholesome, if not soul-crushing, night.

Two minutes later, I have downed four Jägerbombs and am clutching three VKs while my friends cheer and hug me. Oops.

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Everybody is happier with VK in hand

It is most likely pure placebo, but the rest of my night is amazing. Everyone loves me again, my dance moves are pure fire and I know every word to the 2010 hit single Bedrock by Young Money.

Essentially, this experience has taught me two things: 1) Cindies is actually a rubbish night out and 2) I may, low-key, have some alcohol dependency issues.

But then again, a lot of us probably do. Cambridge is hard. It's stressful. Maybe we, more than at most universities, need to let loose and not think about the pressure of grad scheme applications and dissertation deadlines that constantly suffocates us. Mental health issues are more common place than vegetarianism. But no one is going to talk about that are they, so we all smush ourselves into the Cindies smoking area and pretend to be ok.

See you next Wednesday!