Secret societies make me embarrassed to go to Durham

They’re the Plastics


I was in a sexist secret society once.

It was at school, and only boys were allowed to join.

We started it in my mate’s attic, it was called ‘Boyz Zone’, we made a emblem and everything. We were nine.

Shortly after that, I grew up, realised girls don’t have cooties, and that actually they are far better company than many of the boys roaming the corridors.

Secret societies are immature, boring, and quite frankly a bit lame. In fact, they are probably the closest thing to the ‘Plastics’ in Mean Girls Durham has.

I’m all for having a nice dinner with friends, and by all means, if you want to, drink excessively. But I will never be able to understand why ‘lads’ feel the need to get matching jackets or bowties to tell everyone that they were invited to a dinner you weren’t.

"On Fridays we wear red"

“On Fridays we wear red”

It’s probably fair to say the Hatfield Cavaliers, the Butler Exiles, or the Castle Vs, are the worst kept secrets in Durham. The difference between a group of privileged guys having a nice dinner, and an embarrassing secret society is the exclusivity of the guest list.

One society President apparently asks for a list of everyone in their college, crosses out all of the names he hasn’t heard of, and then the other members of the society have a veto to shoot down any members of the college. The rounds keep on going until the selected few are left standing.

Another self proclaimed drinking society, proudly owns “the most expensive piece of stash in Durham”: in order to don their prestigious rugby shirts you must attend five meetings and drink five pints, as well pay for the shirt, basically saying be loaded or, in typical Mean Girls fashion, you can’t drink with us.

They represent the blatant and unashamed way good reputation and proper background leads to social acceptance. What does it say about these people’s attitude towards the opposite sex if they feel the need to exclude them from their own ‘club’ in order to fully enjoy themselves. If being posh, great fun, and able to drink a lot is the only criteria for joining, I know plenty of girls who would qualify with flying colours.

Instead, like the nine-year-old me, they are too scared that some how girls will some how ruin their fun.

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If only my bow tie told everyone I’m better than them

I would happily have a conversation with most people in these societies, I’d even be happy to have a drink with them, but once you see them donning that one piece of stash that makes ‘them’ THEM, and ‘us’ US, you know they’ll have their head raised about the rest stinking of arrogance.

And yes, I get it’s nice to have traditions. I love formals, I think Matriculation is a great tradition. But some traditions are embarrassing. Traditions that represent a time when girls really weren’t allowed to study, or a working class child had absolutely no hope of going to university.

These traditions, the ones that represent a by-gone era should be shunned. And while we’re at it, the title of Senior Man, a representation of a time when contemplating a senior woman was an impossibility, should probably go in the same bin as secret societies.

Maybe I’m just bitter ‘Boyz Zone’ never really took off, or just pissed off I haven’t received my mysterious invite (I would like to think I would have declined, but probably not), or maybe Durham just needs to realise it is 2015, boys only groups are embarrassing, and elitism is shitty.