How to… successfully go punting

Well, it’s Trinity Term. This means many things. For a start, we have more to complain about. Exams approach. The rain stubbornly continues to slap our faces sporadically. And we are reminded that the academic year is drawing to a close, bringing us nearer and nearer to being banished from 
Oxford’s pseudo-reality.

And so, with that pseudo-reality ever counting down to the big bad world, one has to assert oneself as indulgently an Oxonian as possible. And that’s where punting comes in. Anybody who is anybody will be stepping off that spongily steady Oxonian ground onto a faded wooden platform, generally overcramped, always unsteady, and always with enough water to induce discomfort. The name ‘punt’ stems from its explicit and choicy partner-rhyme, often used by anyone who is not an Oxbridge student, to describe those who are Oxbridge students, especially when within punts.

But don’t let that put you off. For after all, Wikipedia describes punting as “pleasure trips with passengers”. With no regret, I inform you that I will not be delving into the intricacies of these ‘pleasure trips’, that’s for the sexpositional Creaming Spires. But I can help with the punting basics. 

Firstly, there is Oxford Punting, and then there is Cambridge Punting. If you are an Oxonian, make sure always to punt whilst standing inside the boat, with the till forward. I don’t know what the till is either. This is always successfully accompanied with loud remarks that it would be “frankly absurd to punt with the open end forward”. Anyone who did that, would be, “quite frankly, a punt”. Well done. You have achieved a pretty average pun-joke, and asserted a succinct and stable hatred for Cambridge. Cue guffaws from you and your fellow punters. 

When in the punt, there are two necessities. For a start, if you complete a punting trip without someone falling in, it’s simply not entertaining. If you’re concerned that fate is not going to supply this important occurrence, then often a short sharp malicious push will do. Cue guffaws again. Lastly, make sure to take a selfie. Tilt the camera so that your head sits at the bottom of the frame, and perform an acutely ironic exaggerated grin. Your friend should be visible in the background holding the oar/pole/whatever-you-call-the-stupid-thing.

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Stick to this framework, as it implicitly narrates yourself as laid-back, and your friend as your servile companion. I need to emphasise that the selfie is crucial. Try to upload it mid-punt. For, if you don’t then we must enter into a complex existential debate as to whether it really happened at all, without social-media-actualisation. And if you have not actually gone punting, then really you have just wasted my fucking time.