Sinners review: a worrying culture



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.


  1. This is about the most sexist piece of journalism I have read in a while. I understand that the article itself is not meant to be sexist, which actually makes it worse.

    Girls might actually go to Sinners to find guys as well, it’s just not as socially acceptable for girls to say that.

    I was also baffled by the comment, which is quite clearly slut-shaming: “And some of the girls do themselves no favour, feeding into this misogynistic conception.” Are girls really feeding in to a misogynistic conception because they go home with someone? This is a medieaval viewpoint of women’s sexuality, that they are being subject to preying males rather than actually wanting to have sex.

    People being too inebriated at Sinners is potentially an issue, but I would argue that this article is wrong in saying there is a harmful hook up culture as a result.

  2. I struggle greatly with articles like this.

    Firstly, any kind of credibility you previously had as an author was immediately destroyed by your failure to recognise the inadequacy of a bar review of the Union 6 months after 601 opened. Everyone has been, we all know what it looks like; thanks for your opinion.

    Secondly, your inebriated source interviews provide me with unlimited scope to destroy your poor attempt at making a classic feminist argument. We’ve heard it before, like your bar review. I just wonder how the “arrogance” of St Andrews boys has anything to do with the issue of male attitudes to women at large. It sounds like bitter rhetoric to me and is completely unfounded unless you believe your source quotes.

    The point of your article appears to be an underlining of the issue of male attitudes to women today. Why then did you try and hide your agenda behind a review of an event in the first place. I wonder if you attended Sinners for the first time in two years purely for the above mentioned motives. I would struggle to believe that the men you interviewed volunteered their mysogist remarks, rather than being led to them.

    I don’t disagree with your article’s agenda. I just disagree completely with every aspect of its presentation and reliability.

  3. While I applaud the neo-Gramscian critique of ‘A. Lover’s’ polemical comment, I struggle with this quasi-journalistic commonplace hedonistic hackery on purely literary grounds.

    It is with pain that I re-read the article to count the throwaway clichés to make this point:
    1. ‘I have to start with a confession’ – you really do not.
    2. ‘Sinners conjures up memories’ – Read some Derrida.
    3. ‘promising allure’ – post hoc ergo post hoc.
    4. ‘venture out’ – Gertrude Bell would be proud.
    5. ‘piles of work on the backburner’ – conjury to rival Dee and Newton.

    • How is this article slut shaming? The author is clearly trying to raise awareness of the a worrying drinking culture. Missing the point.

      • But the author is framing the worries in saying girls get drunk and have sex with guys who aren’t worthy of them! By saying that, there is a strong slut-shaming aspect of the argument that I think this article could do well without.

        Let girls sleep with whoever they want and for whatever reason – may it be that they are drunk and want some booty, they probably don’t care about the other person’s agenda!

      • The author gives no indication about raise awareness about the drinking culture. They obviously have no issue with anyone, women especially, becoming paraletic. They also seem frustrated by the time it takes to get served and the price of drinks. These points are not synonymous with raising awareness about an unhealthy drinking culture.

        The issue raised is, as succinctly as I can put it, girls should be able to get as arseholed as they want without guys approaching them. While it’s true nobody should feel pressured into a situation they’re not comfortable with, the thought that no member of the opposite sex should approach another is naive.

        Plus a small sample size of men is not representative of an entire gender, please don’t think we’re all leering rapists just because we own a penis.

  4. Cannot believe The Saint would even publish this. This is such awful argument. I promise you there isn’t a single person that goes to celebrate their “strength and talent.” Everyone goes to sinners to be drunk, dance, and hook up with people. Maybe surprising to you because you seem to live in the 18th Century, but girls can also make the decision to be drunk and hook up with guys. Handpicking comments from about 5 different people you ‘interviewed’ isn’t representative of either gender and is a skewed smear job. People like you give feminism a bad name and set back women’s rights.

    And just so you know, I am a woman.

  5. I consensually went home with a boy at the last sinners after he bought me a drink, does that mean I am perpetuating rape culture? Or maybe it means I am an adult woman who can make whatever decision I want with my body – that is feminism.

    You’re not a feminist and this article is a disgrace.

  6. Sad to see what’s happening to the Saint these days. Aside from the author’s dubious position in a delicate debate, this is just rather poor journalism, as pointed out above.

    If the author wants us to accept that she was capable of conducting an “investigation” after a shot-fuelled round of Pub Golf, surely the majority of her inebriated peers must have been alert enough to choose their own sexual partners?

    It’s not necessarily “anti-feminist”, nor even badly written; it’s more short-sighted, the kind of thing associated with the Tab, to be honest.

    It’s certainly not great for a publication that used to be better.


  7. It is fine to disagree with the article, however there is no need to resort to personal insults, which is what the majority of comments boil down to. You go to St Andrews, I’m sure you’re clever enough to think of a rebuttal without being abusive.

    Although I do not agree with everything in this article, some valid points are made about a problematic drinking culture. It is slightly naive to believe that girls are as persistent and as blunt as a group of drunk guys, and in real life, this is due to the guys being expected to make the first move. Even if the girls are as up for it as the guys, they are not usually the ones making the first move (not that this is a good thing).

  8. I’d just like to say that I’m a female and the thing I love the most about sinners is that there are plenty of loose men who are up for a good time

  9. Obviously the author has hit a nerve with some since the comments are soooo typical for St Andrews students “oh boo hoo, can’t handle a bit of criticism”

    She’s calling out boys who think drunk girls exist purely for boys to enjoy. How can you possibly find fault with that

  10. ‘And some of the girls do themselves no favour, feeding into this misogynistic conception.’

    I’m a girl. Sometimes I like to get drunk. Sometimes I like to have sex. The two tend to combine at sinners, and guess what? That’s my choice. This is not a ‘warped view’, but I’m afraid your viewpoint very much is, or at least a hangover from the 1950s. Perhaps the very reason why girls don’t feel comfortable saying they are looking to hook up just as much as guys are is because of shaming like this.

  11. I do so love it when Saint commenters completely miss the point and rush straight to the comments section to complain angrily.

    But I want to blend in, so I guess I’d better write HOW DARE THE SAINT DO THIS, BOOHOOO!11!!


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