Coming to St Andrew’s, we hear a lot about the town’s beauty. We hear of expansive golden beaches that reach into the North Sea, turrets and steeples puncturing the sky, majestic ruins enduring the ravages of time. What we do not hear about, however, is the beauty of the student body. That is not to say that we St Andreans are an ugly lot, as demonstrated by our fashion shows or even a brisk walk down Market Street on any given day. But the truth is that the beauty of our student body often pales in comparison to the environment in which we live. Indeed, for all too many of us, discovering the limited number of romantic options available quickly crushes those initial hopes of finding a dishy royal we all once had.
The reasons for this are manifold. The small size of St Andrews is a contributing factor, as is the lack of a ‘thick but fit’ university equivalent nearby. However, there is one place where you are almost guaranteed to find a concentration of beautiful people: behind the bars in the union.
Talking to my fellow students, it is clear that I am far from the only person who has noticed this phenomenon. But why is this? Is there some genetic discrimination in the union’s recruitment policy? Have they discovered a mystery elixir while attempting to create new cocktails in Beacon Bar? If only we knew their secrets, then perhaps one day we could all attain a similar allure, raising the beauty levels of the student body to compete with that of the town itself.
The first factor that needs consideration is the bartenders’ physical surroundings. As anyone who has been to some of the more extravagant events in St Andrews can tell you, sometimes just being in a grand or tasteful environment can elevate any selfie, no matter how drunk or sweaty you are at the time. The only problem is that the union is neither grand nor tasteful. Indeed, one St Feuddrews post accurately compared it to a dingy airport terminal. The lighting is unforgiving, the floor often sticky and, the last time I checked, a chunk of the bar itself had been chipped off. Furthermore, the union staff outfits are not what many people would call flattering. Then why do they still look so good?
Perhaps, then, the attractiveness of the bartenders is less to do with their environment and more to do with their position. They are, after all, the guardians of alcohol, custodians of the beguiling booze we need so much. One word from them and a night out in St Andrews, so dependent on intoxication, can be cut tragically short. Maybe this power is the secret to their attractiveness. But yet again, this explanation falls short. Seeing the way some of the more irksome students treat the bar staff, it is apparent that they do not always get the respect their position deserves. Their aura of attractive authority is quickly destroyed by the clicking fingers and drunken shouts of the students in front of them.
It seems that neither the environment of the union nor their role of serving drinks can fully explain the beauty of the union bartenders. Unless they really have created a mystery elixir in Beacon Bar, there is, therefore, no easy explanation for this strange occurrence. As a result, the rest of us may never know how to attain their levels of beauty. The bar may forever be a barrier to divide the attractive from the average, the composed custodians of alcohol from the hoards baying at the gate. But worry not. Once they pass us those Pablos and Club 601 starts blaring the best of its cheesy beats, we can feel satisfied that we can dance, sing, make fools of ourselves and enjoy the night while the bartenders, however beautiful they may be, remain trapped behind their barrier. What’s more, something tells me that none of us will weather the ravages of time nearly as well as St Andrews’ ruins, no matter how attractive we are today.
In sum, the union bar staff may always be more attractive than us, but so will St Andrews. So let’s accept this reality, grab a drink at the union, and maybe talk to some bartenders while we’re at it.