Crew Dates

 I first went on a crew date was way back in first year and it was a friendly introduction to the concept with an all Benets cast. Normally crew dates are evenings where a girl's sport team from one college meets with a boy's sports team from another. They go to a restaurant where there's some food provided, you bring your own booze, sit boy-girl and play drinking games. 

These include:

  • Throwing a penny in the other person's cup making them drink
  • Shoeing where someone takes off their shoes and puts it on their head, the last person to notice and do the same has to drink from their shoe
  • Gecko: 'Gecko!' is shouted and you have to run to a wall or celling and place a body part on it, last to do so has to drink
  • Earthquake, like gecko but you have to crawl under the table
  • Sconcing which takes the form of: "I sconce anyone who has ever ..." and if you've done that thing you stand up and drink
There are loads of other games but I would day this is the stock cannon. What it boils down to is you get very drunk, very quickly, and then wobble off to a pub and or club usually. 

I really enjoyed my first crew date and was looking forward to more before the mighty COVID struck and dashed my hopes. The most recent crew date was one organised by JCR Presidents and they were kind enough to invite me along. Most people got quite drunk and sadly we lost some along the way to their beds. It was nice to get back into a social environment with people I hadn't ever properly met up with before en masse. 

That being said, crew dates are a very marmite thing in Oxford these days. They can be perfectly enjoyable but they can also be arenas of sharking (when an older student tries to get off with of sleep with a younger student, usually a Fresher) which is problematic in terms of the balance of power, as well as more general sexual assault. Also they can be quite dangerous in the level of alcohol that is often consumed leading to bad decisions and harm. 

Most sports teams continue with the crew date tradition but I think increasingly there's less pressure for people to go if they don't want to and whilst it is a BYOB (bring your own booze) you can be more in control of how much you drink. Certainly I've found that if I don't want to drink, I simply don't and no one had a problem with it.  

I think crew dates are still something I need to experience more before I can make my mind up either way and I hope to do just that as part of the netball team if things ever settle back into normality.

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