I have to start with a confession: as a fourth year I have not been to Sinners since at least my second year. For me, Sinners conjures up memories of ridiculous costumes, long queues for drinks, pushing and shoving and a sticky, sweaty dance floor. With the recent refurbishment of the Union and the promising allure of Club 601, I decided to venture out and ditch my aged persona, putting my piles of work on the backburner.
My night started as many do for Sinners- with a sports team. Of course, this is what Sinners is all about: as the Union website states it is ‘A night for sports teams to let their hair down and enjoy themselves!’ As a member of the Ladies Golf Club I was taking part in Pub Golf; visor, polo neck and all. Naturally I knew I would be arriving to the Union a little inebriated but I think this is a generally accepted fact of Sinners. After several shots, some pitchers and a trek around St Andrews, I arrived at the Union just after half ten. Entry was a smooth process and the bar was relatively quiet, making our final hole, Pablos for the entire team, a quick feat. Armed with my drink (£5, who knew Pablos were so expensive?) and my friend in tow, I set off on my investigation.
Firstly, I want to start off with a general overview of Sinners. The new bar, for those third and fourth years who remember the original, is a vast improvement on our old Union Bar, lighter, more spacious and far more fun for enjoying sports night with your team. What was distinctly unimpressive, however, was the bizarre requirement that to enter Club 601 you had to exit the Bar and re-enter via a queue outside. This to me just appeared unnecessary given the existence of a connecting door between the bar and the Club which, for some reason, was closed. With the drizzle and generally freezing Scottish weather, entering a huge queue outside literally sought to put a damper on the night. Once inside, however, I was in awe of the size of the venue. That was lessened however, by more queuing. Despite the vast size of the bar inside Club 601, the lines for a drink were enormous and getting served turned out to be a painful and tricky process. Dodging several elbow shoves and various drinks spillages I would estimate that it took over fifteen minutes just to be served. The employees themselves seemed stressed and understaffed. The mood of the crowd seemed one of annoyance, which, coupled with large amounts of alcohol, was a worrying mix. The dance floor was as sticky as ever and featured large groups of various sports teams from triathlon to hockey with the ever present delightful sight of various newly formed couples, lips pressed together and clinging on for dear life.
It is here that I want to talk about a disturbing trend surrounding Sinners. Interviewing various strangers on a night out was definite fun but it revealed an unpleasant mindset that was, on all accounts, gender specific. When asked what people loved about Sinners the majority of girls would respond “Being with my friends”, “Hanging out with my sports team off the pitch and having a relaxed time”. Ask males the same question, however, and the coming together of their sports team was not on their mind. “I love the fact there are plenty of loose women who are up for a good time” responded one fourth year golf boy. Another fourth year hockey boy told me his enjoyment of Sinners was based entirely on his relationship status: “It’s an excellent place to meet and sleep with girls.” Another second year cricketer told me he was just interested in “hooking up” and commented on the “exquisite quality of girls”. Another very smug third year stated, “I have a girlfriend but here the girls are so drunk they just love to throw themselves at me.” The arrogance of the St Andrews boys I interviewed was uncanny. Coupled with the general idea that everyone should get ‘blackout’ at Sinners I felt as if I was in some twisted, predatory prowling ground for boys to essentially pick up wasted girls. And some of the girls do themselves no favour, feeding into this misogynistic conception. Many girls I walked past were heading towards being paralytic, my boring fourth year mind asking why a friend wasn’t taking them home.
Don’t get me wrong, Sinners is all about having fun, making some bad decisions and letting your hair down but I think, from my experience, we should at least look to challenge this warped view some individuals hold about what the night is about. Sinners should not be seen as a place to pick up inebriated girls. Instead, we should remember what it is all about: celebrating our amazing array of sports teams.