The 8th November saw the triumphant return of the Health & Beauty Society’s Ann Summer Party. Building on the success of last year, this girls-only night was bigger and better with over 40 attending the VIP lounge of Orange Rooms. Glammed up for this sexy social with the cocktails flowing freely from our own bar, the mood was set for an exciting evening.
No room for being shy
Val – our bubbly Ann Summers Rep – arrived with her bags of goodies and the party began. First, a hilarious game of ‘pop the balloon in the sexual position with a partner’. There was no room for being shy tonight. Then came the real point of the party: the products. Out came the lingerie and toys as our rep talked us through them. Val’s easy, funny and informative style was far from the pushy sales rep I had feared, inviting discussion and giving advice instead of pressuring you to buy. As an example, one particularly memorable quote was “it comes with the bib so if anything gets ‘spilt’ on it (wink, wink), it’ll wipe straight off”. This kept that relaxed atmosphere which makes these parties such a great opportunity to ask all the questions you couldn’t face asking in the shop.
Of course, the toys were passed around (including a really quite freaky looking male toy) as well as a surprisingly tasty ‘pink champagne’ flavoured lube. Even surrounded by strangers, the talk was open with girls casually swapping stories and tips. When invited to try the lingerie on, the intimate environment banished all embarrassment, and loads of us squished into the VIP toilets. On a side note, we were quite impressed (and slightly disturbed) to find the boy’s toilets had retro red lips for their urinals. More games ended the night on a high and most headed downstairs to continue the night on the Orange Rooms dance floor.
Private and relaxed atmosphere
Farley Pearce, president of the Health & Beauty Society, was delighted at the success of the night. “We were amazed at the venue, so classy and comfy, these parties need this kind of private and relaxed atmosphere. Having our own bar was brilliant. Everyone was so chilled and up for a laugh. Really impressed with the Freshers – they were not timid at all or afraid to talk about sex!”
Social Sec Rosie Wheelhouse-Thomas, 2nd Year Physics, said that “the turnout was fantastic, and no wonder, really, because these are perfect occasions to have these talks and ask these questions instead of feeling awkward or intimidated in the shops.” From this, a debate picked up on attitudes to sex in modern culture, with many saying these products and parties were “empowering” and helped break the taboos of sex. Ann Summers, an infamously controversial brand, has provoked greatly differing responses and criticisms over the years for their overtly sexual adverts and scandalous products.
A healthy attitude to sex
However, Vice President Elli Hinkins said that these parties promoted “a healthy attitude to sex, especially raising awareness of sexual health issues. We don’t have to be prudish about sex, and it doesn’t have to be sordid or dirty”. Farley added that these products and parties actually helped oppose female objectification: “They encourage women to embrace, enjoy and express their sexuality.”