Spare a thought for failed socials, as you stroll across campus at night, passing groups of waterfowl, and ponder about all the events that might be happening right now. I’m not talking here about those nights filled with laughter, drink, and streams of new faces; I’m talking here about the scrawny little twin of those bar crawls: the crap social. We’ve all been on them, we’ve all made our excuses, and we’ve all left. But spare a thought for the organisers as they watch the door. Meek faces occasionally squint through the gap. But often, the hospitality flies over their heads as the awkwardness appears, and they flee into the night.
The life of a social secretary is tough one, especially those serving the subject they study. Like the peasant farmers waiting for the rains to nurture their crops, they sit in the campus bars, or a booked out room for hours on end. They sit patiently at the mercy of their members, and they await their fate. Sometimes their worst fears are realised and sometimes the rains just don’t come. And then their hearts stoop low and lowly in the face of realisation: this social is going absolutely nowhere.
I have volunteered for this role. And the other night I organised what I think might just be the worst social ever. The rains most definitely never came. As I sat in a large pre-booked lecture hall, surrounded by a rather optimistic amount of food, and housemates who had predicted I’d need company, I realised the full scale of what I’d not managed to achieve. I was initially proud of the feat; an invite list stretching further than two hundred and only three people actually managed it, and didn’t escape before we headed off to town in a lone taxi. Yes, just the one.
It is definitely a sobering feeling, a little how I imagine playing the main role in an episode of The Inbetweeners. As I nibbled on pretzels, while my housemate played ‘ironic’ songs on the speakers (All My Friends by LCD Soundsystem, Too Many Men by Boy Better Know) I had a thought of cautious optimism: this could only improve, right?
Unfortunately it didn’t. Although I’m sure you’ll be delighted to know that quite a few first years actually came to the social. The door of the lecture hall was frequented by curious eyes, but little by eager party-goers, and the few that did enter were merely wristband bandits.
So I organised what became a terrible social, so what? There are a lot more important issues in the world. This is true, and I hope you don’t ponder over this article for longer than about 30 seconds after you’ve finished. But please take away this: next time you see a social advertised, at least make an effort to show your face, especially if the plans for your night in consisted of Facebook. Not only might there be excess free food, but you’ll be able to feel like you’re in your very own episode of an awkward sitcom.