Every type of Oxford boy you’ll meet on Tinder
A comprehensive guide
The City of Dreaming Spires appears the idyllic location for romance to blossom: incredible ancient buildings, breath-taking green spaces, a whole host of independent cafés and restaurants, as well as spaces to picnic and punt in every corner. As a doughy-eyed fresher in Michaelmas 2020, I came expecting my own version of Maurice, albeit abiding to Covid-19 restrictions and with somewhat of a happier ending. Yet, as I opened up that infamous flame app, I was plunged into the world that was Oxford Tinder.
Here is every type of Oxford boy you’ll meet on Tinder, so you can decide whether what you’re really wanting from your university experience is Blokes, not Books.
Somerville Social Justice Warriors
This one’s largely a self-read, except for the fact that I don’t go to Somerville (I have self-respect). It’s rather ironic that the halls once inhabited by Margaret Thatcher and whose JCR proudly immortalises her have produced some of Oxford’s loudest and proudest lefties, an irony that they never really like to bring up.
If you prefer blue to red, avoiding Somerville only will do you no good as you’ll find these fighters of the good fight in almost every Oxford college, in particular St Catherine’s or Wadham. Their bio will strictly blare ‘No Tories’ or alternatively display some tongue-and-cheek remark about Marx, around which the majority of your conversations will be based. So, if you can make it past the hustings of the talking stage, and an evening at the White Rabbit of hair dye and dialectical materialism is your ideal date, then do what you do best, and swipe left comrade.
Black turtleneck, circular glasses and overcoat at the ready, he’s there, satchel in hand, perched on a table at Jericho Coffee Traders, ready to gaslight you and lead you on. He’ll ignore your messages for three days as he retreats to his mind palace and then fling you a text to meet him in University Parks where he will, Dostoevsky in hand, complain about how his ‘nuanced’ and ‘ground-breaking’ solution to some philosophical issue only got him a 2:1. To him, marriage and Valentine’s Day are merely commoditised bastardisations of love, an emotion which he brands a mere philosophical illogicity. Yet, much like Dakin from The History Boys, there is something infuriatingly attractive about that smile matched with that unshakeable arrogance. Be prepared to fight for him in your group chat until the bitter end, much to the frustration of your friends, who wish you’d never bumped into him in the Theology and Philosophy Library in the first place. What were you even doing there?
Fighters for the Climate
Much like the Somerville Social Justice Warriors, these are Oxford’s tree-hugging do-gooders, most often geographers or human scientists. It’s certainly a noble cause and makes for some incredibly enlightening conversation, especially if you want to learn about facts that will make you never want to eat meat or fish again.
If you venture past the talking stage, be prepared to dig out your old bag-pack and a matching Berghaus for a ‘stroll’ around Port Meadow that more resembles a Bronze D of E expedition, filled with exchanges about greedy capitalist corporations and nuclear disarmament. He’s sweet, but if your postgrad plans aren’t going full Tarzan and rejecting the avarice of civilised society to chain yourself to a tree in the Amazon, best order a steak imported from New Zealand on the first date.
No, these aren’t the many talented people who attend the Ruskin School of Art and create a whole host of eye-catching, thought provoking and breath-taking pieces, they’re worse. These are the guys who think that by doing a humanities degree they’re automatically an artist by extension.
He’ll indulge you in how he turned his place down at Central St Martins because he wanted a ‘challenge to his natural creativity’ in the world of academia. And to him, every choice he makes is an act of artistic expression. The clothes that he plucks from ASOS: art. The single strip of eyeliner he dots under their eyes: art. His self-inflicted ear piercing from Freshers’ Week: art. Basically the new Warhol. A date to the Ashmolean or Modern Art Oxford is best avoided if you wish to retain your sanity.
Curtains, Champagne and Christ Church
Signets and Schöffels and a whole lot of waffle, that’s what Christ Church boys are made of. It’s no surprise that in the most stereotypically Oxonian college will you find the most stereotypically Oxonian boys. Curtains and mullets are the only two appropriate hairstyles. Eton is the default personality trait. ‘Rah where’s my baccy’ suddenly is not a joke, but rather, a vital means of everyday communication.
If you can stomach the left swipe past the endless photos of private school ball gowns, old-boys drinking clubs and family homes in Devon, then expect a barrage of questions about your schooling, house and parents’ income before you are even considered for the talking stage. If passed, it is for you to decide whether the fancy dates and indulgent balls are worth assuming the role of nurturing this man’s ego after his devastating rejection from Goldman Sachs and reluctant taking up of a job at daddy’s hedge fund.
‘When I’m Prime Minister…’
Safe to say anyone who has done a humanities degree has at least flirted with a future in politics, yet for some such stone-cold ambition is prevalent right from the very first Tinder photo, which is most likely a photo of them as an MYP or at a party conference. Their degree, most likely PPE, law, or history, is merely a means to an end-that end being No.10.
If this guy steals your heart, as well as your vote, make sure that you’re prepared to practice acting the PM’s spouse throughout his numerous runs for the OUCA Committee. Sure, you’ll get featured on his Instagram a lot, but every caption about you will be written as if you were a baby he was cradling for a photo opportunity on a campaign. He’ll be sure to take you on lots of gorgeous dates to update you on his new policy initiatives, to show you that you really are the best secretary… I mean partner… in the city.
For some, the academic rigour and stress of an Oxford degree is not enough, thus they wish to seek out competition in every aspect of life. And what better place than sport? You’ll know he’s in his college rugby team, not only because he’ll turn up to the first date in his rugby shirt, but from the get-go his Tinder will boast that one sick photo of him mid tackle. Because flying spit and gum shields is always the best angle.
If rugby boys aren’t your thing – then don’t worry! He also plays college basketball, college football, college tennis, and college rowing. Something there for everyone. But please, don’t mention this year’s boat race, since you’ll then be subjected to a two hour lecture on how we would’ve won if he had been picked for the team. And be warned: whatever you do, don’t mention a Blue. Cuppers are where the real, authentic play is at, right?
The Union Hack
Because one infamously elitist institution wasn’t enough for Oxford, they had to build another – the Oxford Union. The last bastion of free speech, an ethos that is taken very seriously, to the extent that if you run into a proud Union member they will take the opportunity to freely speak to you about whichever upcoming election they are running in.
Tinder is not immune to hacking; in fact it’s almost the perfect platform to use to casually slip into conversation all your personal pledges. Be prepared to give your opinions on membership fees, term cards, reform, and most importantly, whether you’re a registered member or not. It’s a short and wild ride that might result in a couple of nice evenings at the Union Bar, but as soon as he’s won his spot on Secretary’s Committee, the romance might be as good as gone. Until next year rolls round and it’s time for his Presidential campaign.