This week the existence of a “Crew Date Flair Guide” was revealed. The guide details instructions that members of The Saints (the combined St Anne’s and St John’s rugby team) should follow in order to achieve crew dating success.

A copy of the document, originally written approximately five or six years ago, was distributed to first year students in October. It included details on the appropriate use of a “wingman”, the purpose of the “central Kill-Zone” and how to maximise chances of success through the use of a special seating plan.

One section of the guide, called “The Setup,” advises readers against a girl-boy seating plan but describes how “undesirables” should be “penned” into a corner and seated next to attached men. This allows the formation of a “central Kill-Zone” consisting of the “major social players and easiest women.” At the other end of the table, seating an attractive single female in a corner allows her to be “chatted up using the perfect “opposite and next to” wingman technique.”

After Jamal’s, readers are advised to check which women on their “shortlist” will be going clubbing. “You will only score once you get past the defence and into a one-on-one,” it tells its readers. If such a one-on-one is established, the guide advises other players to distract the girl’s “more sensible” friends. The wingman’s role at a club is thus to preserve any “one-on-one” opportunities that the team establish.

Some have taken the guide’s existence as a disappointing demonstration that for some crewdating is purely seen as a strategic opportunity to score, rather than it being an opportunity to meet other students of similar academic or extra-curricular interests. Katie Dean, of Mansfield College, commented, ‘This kind of sexist attitude is unexpected. It is sad to think that some students retain this misconceived view of how it is appropriate to treat female students.’

However others have instead labelled the guide as ‘lighthearted’. One rower, who wished to remain anonymous, told Cherwell, ‘Everyone knows what goes on with a crew date, those who don’t like it just don’t go.’ The only surprise they expressed was that someone had gone to the effort to make such a guide.