Disorientated, excitable, and drunk. The perfect quarry for the predatorial older student: the Fresher. Spotted from a mile away, they can be spotted lurking around the edges of dancefloor, scoping out the talent. Attempting to seduce new students is a time honoured tradition, and Southampton is no stranger to it.
“I’m like a shepherd and they’re the sheep that come flocking.”Anonymous Fresher Rep
This opportunity for drunken pickups, exciting flings and no doubt clumsy sex has even produced its own vocabulary to describe those taking part in its processes.
Firstly, the act of ‘sharking’. This involves hunting out your prey, flirting with and picking up as many people as possible. Extra points seem to be scored for not only the attractiveness of the victim, but also for their apparently naïvity or level of intoxication.
The label of a dolphin has two meanings. Firstly, it can be applied to a group of ‘sharks’ choosing to work together in a pack for support. However, the term is more commonly applied to those creatures with girlfriends who have to keep their activities on the down low to avoid detection. Under the water, they behave themselves. They then leap out of the water into full view to get some fresher thrills, before disappearing with a splash again to keep up appearances.
Being called a Great White Shark seems to be reserved for those who have long ago abandoned any kind of standards. They may have lost the respect of many of their friends and will soon be avoided by nearly every possible victim, but for the moment they are having the best time of their lives. Picking up girls – or guys – left , right and centre.
One second year, who has asked to remain nameless, described some of his sharking antics.
“I took a girl home at 12.30am, returned to the bar at 1.30am, and ended up taking another one home. Another time, I went outside for some fresh air (pardon the pun) and what started as a toke on her cigarette turned into a two day marathon. One word is too hard to epitomise the fresher experience. Three words could: Banter, Sex and Chunder.”
Let’s all hope for those lucky ladies that not all three were combined.
But what about all those Fresher boys – and yes, girls – with their chances scuppered by competition from overeager second years? A reconnaissance trip to Glen Bar during a beach themed party revealed that the appeal of the JCR or Fresher Rep does seem to be reaping some success. However, new as Fresher girls may be to university life, most girls are used to unwanted attention. The clichés about older students is so notorious that, unfortunately for the sharks, their behaviour is often cringed at by would-be victims. However, one first year in particular demonstrated that even if there’s not competition around, you can’t always be a smooth Casanova after six snakebites and multiple Jägerbombs. Adam Knight, Glen JCR, recounts:
“I saw a Fresher so drunk he went up to a group of girls and, whilst facing the wall – the wall, not the girls – slurring drunkenly to the group “so, do you want to go to your place or mine?” before tripping over, and falling flat on his face. You couldn’t make this up if you tried!”
Most these terms are applied to men, yet let the female sharks not be forgotten. Although no doubt less in number that their male counterparts, their more discreet behaviour is no doubt abandoned at the fourth Jesticle.
It’s worth noting at this point that the term ‘sharking’ has another slightly different meaning around most of the world. ‘Sharking’ Japanese style involves pulling a girl’s skirt and underwear down. Ripping a girl’s shirt off instead is apparently an acceptable alternative. This is usually done in public for maximum dramatic effect. This type of ‘sharking’ has another name: ‘sexual assault’.
Whether Sharker (flirting with freshers sharker, not Japanese sex attacker sharker) or prey, enjoy the end of your Freshers’ to its full potential. We recommend to all our readers you keep the chat-up lines massively cheesey – you’re imitating an animal after all, don’t try to cling on to any dignity.
Watch below for an account of SUSUtv’s visit to Glen Bar to explore the Sharking phenomenon.