Icame, I saw, then sanity conquered and I left at the stroke of midnight. I regret to say that the Cinderella analogy ends here, for my experience of last year’s Rio Safer Sex Ball was anything but a love story.
The majority of arrivals would fail to pass the Arena bouncers. Alcohol is used to alleviate self-consciousness. However, when this leads to a loss of awareness it makes the whole concept of “safe” a farce.
Unsurprisingly, the lingerie dress-code ruﬄed a few feathers. Some people literally wore feathers alone. Male and female birds of prey walked around, essentially surveying the room. There is no gender exclusivity here: both did it, although some of the advances made on girls made me sick to my stomach.
While Cinders had her waltzing moment, students could jump into the dance-oﬀ ring, with enough grinding and slut-dropping to make Hugh Hefner stop in his tracks. More than once, I saw a girl being forcibly kissed against her will. This act alone made the notion of “safer” – the event’s calling card – a complete joke.
Then again, this irony captures the whole event. Without the obligatory condom confetti as you arrive, this is a Sex Ball.
Yet before you picture me sitting on a sofa, helping Miranda Hart conduct an orchestra of fruit friends, I can say sex without falling into a ﬁt of giggles. Nonetheless, I can’t say Safer Sex Ball without a detectable note of sarcasm.
On a more personal level, it’s simply not my idea of a good night out. SSB is to the ball world what 50 Shades is to Harry Potter – hence the decision of Alumni Rowling to decline her invitation. It’s quite a tragic fall, even by Sexeter standards. Why can’t we channel Motown or Gatsby?
The Charitable angle of SSB may be its one redeeming feature, but a multitude of events could achieve the same success. We don’t see Bob Geldof host sex-themed extravaganzas. Why don’t we try Motown, or Itchy Feet en masse? Heck, we could easily capture the GBBO love and do a Bake Ball; the candy ﬂoss hair dye is optional, but soggy bottoms are a ﬁrm no.
Perhaps, if Exeter started to choose pies over penises, it may shake oﬀ the Sexeter reputation. Then again, this title is probably the very reason Safer Sex Ball stills reigns supreme. The Tab have to have something to write about.