Anytimers are all the rage
Refusing an any?
The floor in Roel’s room in student house Pitt is invisible, covered in clothes. Dirty dishes are stacked high on his desk. Roel himself has a bitch of a hangover, and he just can’t handle the mess.
Fortunately, he has roommates. He lives with twelve other students in the co-ed house. Roel turns to his roommate Daan for help. Would he be interested in cleaning Roel’s room for him? In exchange for twelve anytimers?
‘Twelve whole anys?!’ says Daan, grinning. ‘Absolutely! I can’t pass that up.’
So Daan cleans up Roel’s room and immediately makes him take all twelve anys, also known as half a crate. Roel drinks all twelve, after which the roommates go out on the town.
Huize Pitt isn’t the only place in Groningen where people are ‘anytiming’: other student houses, clubs, committees, and even friend groups do it. ‘The name is self-explanatory. When you owe someone an ‘any’, they can make you down a beer at any time of the day. You can’t refuse’, explains economics and business economics student Floris.
When you owe someone an ‘any’, they can make you down a beer at any time
There are various ways in which you can owe an anytimer to someone. Maybe you had a bet, or you broke a rule. It can also be part of a game. Basically, it’s whatever you want it to be. Each group, student house, or year club has its own rules. According to Het Grote Reglement der Anytimers, (The Big Anytimer Rule Book) written by Twente students P.L. Ruitenberg and R.P.G. Paassen in 2016, an anytimer is ‘any amount of beer between 0.2 and 0.3 litres, which the Dispenser can present to the Partaker at any time, in any place’. In other words, someone can make you down a beer at any time of the day, preferably quite early and preferably in a weird place, like the UB.
While an anytimer usually consists of beer, the definition can be stretched. You can also owe an anytimer grilled cheese, or an anytimer Subway sandwich, or an anytimer mimosa. ‘There’s also the Assen anytimer’, says psychology student Sem, who also lives in Huize Pitt. ‘You take the train to Assen and down a beer at the train station there.’ When you’re done, you take the next train back to Groningen.
Some student houses keep track of the scores in a WhatsApp group chat or on a piece of paper on the fridge. Huize Pitt has an actual anytimer board, where they meticulously record every anytimer owed. ‘It feels really powerful when people owe you anytimers’, says Sem. ‘I definitely don’t plan on wasting them all at once.’
Late last year, students from Wageningen even designed an anytimer app for people to keep track of the scores.
Photo by Reyer Boxem
What makes the game so much fun is the power you hold over others, says fervent anytimer player Rixt, who lives in Huize Mulder. ‘Plus, it’s really useful. If someone doesn’t want to or can’t do something, you can do it for them in exchange for anys’, she explains. Rixt is also a member of Albertus, where year clubs use the anytimer system a lot. ‘One time, a fellow club member told me to down a beer. I asked my roommate if he wanted to join in, but he didn’t’, she says. ‘So I went a different way and called in an any. He had no choice but to drink with me.’
If someone doesn’t want to do something, you can do it in exchange for anys
Students will do crazy things to get people to owe them an any. But calling them gets even crazier. The current craze is to wake someone up with an any. ‘Sometimes, when one person has had someone sleep over, all the roommates will come over and make them do an any’, says Sem. ‘Their guest usually has no idea what’s going on. That’s pretty funny.’
Another fun moment to call in your any is early in the morning after a night out, when people are feeling crappy and hungover. ‘I’ve been woken up like that many a time myself’, says Rixt.
Floris once ate an entire red pepper for ten anytimers. ‘Then there was the time during a skiing trip’, he says, laughing. ‘One guy decided to drink an entire bottle of ketchup for fifteen anytimers!’
The peer pressure means you can’t refuse
Huize Mulder doesn’t keep scores of their anytimers, but it’s a fun game to pass the time. ‘One time the guys were all brushing their teeth and we called in a bunch of anys right when they were done’, says Rixt. ‘It was so gross.’
You absolutely can’t refuse an any. ‘The peer pressure means you can only say yes’, says Floris.
But, adds Sem, it’s all about how you use your markers. ‘You can get out of it every once in a while’, he says, ‘but there’s usually a punishment.’
At Huize Pitt, they have an unwritten rule that people who don’t feel well, are actually ill, or who have an exam coming up, are free to refuse. They’re also not as strict on new roommates or first-year students who aren’t used to the whole thing yet.
If they’re not used to the game, it can be a bit much for newcomers and first-years, says Joost, who just graduated himself. ‘I would see people claim an any for the silliest things. It wasn’t really my bag.’
But there are still students who have no idea what an anytimer is. When Rixt mentioned the game to her sister, the latter had no idea what she was talking about. ‘Sometimes I’ll have to down a beer when I’m at home with my parents. They’re always like… why are you doing this?’ Rixt says, laughing.
The best thing about anytimers is that they’re actually not that much fun
Natasha, a master student from Canada, learned about anys during the ESN introduction week. ‘My group leader told me that people would probably try to impose anys on us. He said we didn’t have to, but that if we hung out with Dutch students long enough, it was bound to happen sooner or later’, she says.
She thinks the idea is really funny, although she’s not sure how it would work in reality. ‘I wouldn’t want to be forced to drink when I’m studying, but that doesn’t mean I won’t try it.’
How long will the students keep this up? For Sem, it’s a typical student thing, and it will always be. ‘I’ll stop doing it when I move out’, he says. ‘No matter how much fun it is.’
Floris has a love-hate relationship with the game. ‘The best thing about anytimers is that they’re actually not that much fun’, he says. ‘To be honest, I think it’s pretty funny to kick someone when they’re absolutely down in the dumps. It sounds harsh, but student life can be pretty harsh, too.’