On Monday, December 7th, two seasoned reporters from the Nassau Weekly got the scoop on the Warwick Rowing Team of Warwick Rowers Calendar fame.
The rowers release a naked calendar each year to raise money for the team. The proceeds now also go to the Sport Allies campaign, a registered charity the Warwick Rowers founded that works to raise awareness of homophobia in athletics. The rowers came to Princeton for a roundtable discussion held by Athlete Ally, a national organization similar to Sport Allies, in Campus Club. After the talk, the rowers had plans to go out to the Street and experience all that Princeton has to offer on a Monday night. So, despite glacial rain and Monday malaise, these two brave journalists risked life, limb, and morning lecture to follow these rowers to Cap. What follows is a [mostly] faithful account of their journey.
12: 11: A swarm of rippling biceps. The dance floor is now co-opted by three of the four Warwick rowers, where only an hour and 26 minutes ago Cap was filled with “bros” reportedly “out to have a bro night.” The lights are all on in the basement. A few people play a half-hearted game of beer pong. The rowers get drinks from the bar. We observe them, unsure of what to expect. We know them as both ambassadors for gay rights and as celebrities, famous for their allyship and nude photo shoots. We’re not sure which role they will play tonight. Currently, their shirts are still on.
12:18: A dance circle forms that is suspiciously similar to what we have observed at most bat mitzvahs. One of the rowers dougies alone in the center of the dance circle. A friend asks: “is this a story about you guys hooking up with the naked guys?”
12:27: Selfie with a member of the team.
12:33: We notice two of the rowers wandering aimlessly, and invite them to play beer-pong. We find ourselves approaching them more than we might approach other students, touching their arms and asking for photographs. Along with everyone else we’re treating them as we would celebrities. Their shirts are still on. The floor is sticky with beer.
12: 47: A smile and hair toss in our direction from one of the rowers. We mirror the action. He notices. We duck behind some people grinding by the pong tables.
12: 49: We watch as a rower wraps his arm suggestively around a woman on his right side. He then does the same to one on his left. One of them confides in us that he’s pretty drunk. At this point, it’s becoming more and more obvious that these rowers are not going to be behaving any differently than any other college students on a night out.
12:50: They pose in a group photo. Someone whispers: “If they get naked, my Monday night has been justified.” We dance to “Don’t Tell ‘Em” by Jeremih. Their shirts are still on. A friend confides in us that her guy friend has been “trying to touch their asses all night.”
12:52: The rowers leave the dance floor. A friend confesses: “I think the disgusting ones here are us.”
1: 01: Rowers in a circle, shouting: “Warwick! It’s Wahwick, no ‘r’! Wahwick! Warwick!” They take a group photo. The women in the photo giggle alongside, imitating their accents. A friend emerges from the photo, blushing. “He put his arm around me,” she says. “There will be a virgin birth tonight!”
1:03: We follow the rowers to Cottage. “Princeton is weird,” one of the rowers says. We nod as if we’ve not considered this before. “We’re not really that famous in England,” he continues. “Here, it’s a pretty common thing to be mobbed.”
1:09: We realize that the evening hasn’t gone as expected, but don’t know what we expected in the first place. We wanted them to be ambassadors even on their nights out, but we also wanted them to go wild, to exude sex appeal and eroticism. We wanted them to dance on tables and rip off their collared shirts. We wanted them to be everything they’re marketed to be, both in their advocacy and their eroticism. But they are, after all, only college students.
1:16: On our way out of Cottage, we spot a friend working on a jigsaw puzzle with one of the rowers. He waves goodbye. “Gonna try to finish it,” he says, “but I probably won’t.”