Life Divided: crewdates

Jamie Onslow and Nicola Dwornik share differing perspectives on crewdates

Pro (Jamie Onslow):

Crewdates! The mere mention of the word sends me into a state of uncontrollable excitement.

Ever since my first crewdate, I have been hooked. I have now reached a point where few other forms of social interaction hold any interest for me. Indeed, my compulsive desire to crewdate has led me to pursue the experience at every opportunity, as I strive to incorporate the pastime into all of my day-to-day activities.

My first crewdate was a modest, college-based affair, and the evening conformed to convention. The morning after however, I woke in a cold sweat with trembling hands—symptoms I am now all too familiar with as the tell-tale signs of a crewdate withdrawal.

Panicking, I hurriedly ordered a takeaway curry and devoured it in my college room, drinking Sainsbury’s house red from a polystyrene cup and occasionally standing to sconce myself. The symptoms passed.

I soon realised that one crewdate a week was simply not enough, and that I was going to need a reliable stream of crewdates to get me through the week. I had no option but to sign up to every sports team I could find.

This worked well for a few weeks, until, one by one, I was forced out of every team I had signed up for. This was due to my habit of turning up to practice late, my pockets stuff ed full of onion bhajis and dribbling chicken korma. I was often sent off the pitch for my behaviour, unable to stop hurling one penny coins at the opposition.

Sometimes I wish I had never gone on that first crewdate. I often feel that I am living just to chase a high that diminishes with every fix. Crewdating for me now is a lonely affair. I wander around Oxford’s restaurants, sitting down at random tables and forcing unsuspecting diners to drink wine from my shoes.

Let my story be a warning to future generations of students. Whilst crewdates may be the pinnacle of the Oxford experience, they should be enjoyed responsibly. Lest you find yourself unable to stop.

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Con (Nicola Dwornik):

Ah, the crewdate: when students descend into drunken messes, revel in their vibrant sexual encounters and try to digest a mouthful of dodgy curry in-between.

Forget using Oxford degrees to rebel and formulate a new ideology. Us students turn into pigs and use our enthusiasm to vigorously throw up into plastic bags, under restaurant tables.

Perhaps the idea that we do all indeed turn into ‘The Beasts of England’ is a tad harsh. After all, not all crewdates are really bad are they? In many respects, one can feel quite proud of themselves for not sinking to the iniquitous depths of past Arzoo visitors. Failing to incite the kitchen staff to form a picket line (until all post-crewdate cleaning costs are paid) really should be seen as a success. Perhaps there should be good behaviour awards.

The unit of currency for the crewdate, besides desperation, is the penny. Just when you may have thought inflation rendered such denominations as ‘pocket change’, us bold Oxonians have given them a use.

Delicately dropping pennies into glasses both forces a compatriot to down their drink, as well as teasing their wine with a muted copper undertone. As if our Echo Falls White Zinfandel wasn’t aromatic enough already.

Alongside the chiming of pennies, “I sconce anyone who’s mum has had three penises inside her at one” (note: twin brother) is the type of melodious conversation that springs up between courses.

Isn’t it amazing how crewdates manage to keep up with 21st Century etiquette and small talk? Participants on male-only crewdates have been known to have been coerced into asking random girls whether they’d prefer to slap or kiss them, in order to frequent the lavatory. Apparently, ‘giving them a reality check’ is not an option.

Crewdates may now exist in a form closer to Bullingdon Road than the notorious club, but frankly I still just can’t see their charm.