A Crew-d Night in Oxford

Take one room, add 15 boys, 15 girls, and a good helping of alcohol and what do you get? One seriously rowdy evening…

Alex Mansell crew date Oxford sex

Take one room, add 15 boys, 15 girls, and a good helping of alcohol and what do you get? One seriously rowdy evening…When, during my visit to Oxford to see my twin sister, she announced we'd be going on a traditional Oxford crew date, I was excited to say the least. The basic concept is that a sports team from one college go en masse on a ‘date’ with a sports team of the opposite sex from another, to improve college relations and meet new people. Well, that's the theory. In essence, it's a practice designed to get people laid.

So there we were, walking up the stairs to the private room in the restaurant, me not really knowing what to expect.

The horniness as we entered the room was palpable. 15 eager faces stared at us. We'd arrived very slightly fashionably late (well, half an hour), so the intense level of testosterone in the room appeared to have coupled with a nervous energy, resulting in an atmosphere that dripped with GIVE IT TO ME NOW vibes. These boys meant business.

Half of the girls had gone to get cash so only a few of us arrived initially. The thought of sharing was clearly not a pleasant one, as elucidated by the relief in their eyes when we explained more were coming. Enough for everyone.

Unbeknownst to the girls, on one e-mail between the boys they were encouraged to "get lubed up and ready" and that "the Pembroke sluts are DTF" (down to f**k). And that pretty much sums up the atmosphere of the evening. I know such words are just boys being boys, making laddy comments to gear everyone up for the revelries to come, but it truly seemed to be indicative of the expectations of the evening. It felt like every element of the night was designed to machinate some form of sexual interaction between the sexes.

For a start, there was the practice of seperating the dirty girls from the nice ones, the single from the taken, those DTF and those definitely not DTF. This was achieved mostly through the practice of sconcing, whereby one person stands up and 'sconces' anyone who's done anal, had a threesome, kissed a girl, you get the gist…It's basically a game of Never Have I Ever on a more embarrassing scale, in that the sconcee has to stand up and drink, drawing direct attention to themselves. At one point a guy got straight to the point by sconcing anyone who was single; almost all of the group. Then there was the awkward moment when someone sconced "anyone who wants to sleep with the person next to them".

Another way of upping the raucous vibe was through the drinking games. Of 30 people, I was the one unfortunate enough to have to down a vile mixture of vodka, red and white wine, and a whole creme egg. I was then subjected to the laddy whims of the boys who insisted I eat the creme egg out of the glass by manoeuvring it into my mouth with no hands. It proved to be one of the most undignified moments of my life. Not doing it wasn't an option. Don't enter the fray if you're not prepared to fight.

Going to the club together afterwards, I'm not sure if anyone actually got together; the constant downing finished me off and meant I had to be dragged home at 12.30, although I imagine a fair few people got lucky that night.

I realise I've painted a pretty bad picture of what a crew date is so I feel the need to point out it was a hilarious evening, and even if there were questionable motives behind it, these were delivered in a way so obvious as to make it sincere: everyone knew where they stood. It wasn't just a case of degrading games and debasing comments but a genuinely enjoyable, dare I say, banterous, night, with the possibility of a pull or more at the end if people wanted it.

So that leaves two questions, Durhamites, why the hell don't we have crew dates, and when can we change this?