Oxford balls are ridiculously expensive and socially discriminatory

(134 Posts)
funnyperson Sun 17-Feb-13 04:18:00

Well just that, really. Assuming that a student is sociable enough to have friends at different colleges, it is nice to be able to think of going to a number of different balls, especially in the summer. Except that the 'cheap' ball tickets are £85 and more usually £120. A young student recently won free tickets to two balls, totalling £210. Given that the balls are the main college social events this is sad. Min budget for tickets to go to, say, 5 balls a year including the Union ball but excluding a law society ball would be £700. The rich, in short, only dance with the rich.

Caitycat Sun 17-Feb-13 16:09:51

I also know noone who went to five balls in one year. Many people only went to their own college's (as someone has already said generally every three years) in the whole time they were there. I enjoyed them so went to one every year but this was v extravagant. If I had wanted to go to five a year I don't think I'd have been able to persuade anyone to join me!

Are you my old history teacher, mateys? She told us with a straight face that if we went to Oxbridge we'd meet lovely rich boyfriends. I found it extremely difficult not to take the piss then and I would definitely do it now.

LynetteScavo Sun 17-Feb-13 16:11:45

Yes, they are expensive.

Yes, they sound fun.

But if you can't afford them, you can't go.

Just as if you can't afford £3 for the school disco, it's sad.

Tis life.

Obviously a sufficient amount of people can afford to go the balls, or they would cease to be held.

Roseformeplease Sun 17-Feb-13 16:14:27

I managed a second ball at Cambridge (in addition to my own college's which I organised) and went as bar staff. It was brilliant. We worked one hour on, one hour off, had a great laugh and met loads more people. Everyone working was a student from another college and we were all there as it was one way of affording it.

Who on earth goes to five balls? When I was there you went to at most one a year. I paid for one ball, crashed one ball and paid for one college event (similar to a ball, but bit smaller scale and cheaper). I didn't notice people doing much else.

Most black tie do's were about £5 which included a lot of alcohol (about £15/£20 in today's money?)

Lostonthemoors Sun 17-Feb-13 16:16:54

Went to 2 in my whole time on the fens! Most people just go to the college ones and even the most jet set in my year never went to more than 2 a year!

I bought my own ticket once and was given the ticket the second time smile

Startail Sun 17-Feb-13 16:20:21

Double Cambridge ball tickets were £100, 22 years ago.

My RG university balls weren't a lot less.

Taking inflation into account and the fact that ball dresses and dinner suits are also exactly the same price, again with no correction for inflation, I think in real terms they are now cheaper!

motherinferior Sun 17-Feb-13 16:22:42

The other thing: it's your adult daughter's decision here! Really, whether or not she goes to a ball is nothing to do with you. My parents had no input into my social, political or academic life at Oxford - nor did anyone else's.

Very true MI.

Startail Sun 17-Feb-13 16:27:12

And you went to less than one a year averaged over your student time.
I went to two RG and Cambridge one, Mum made me one dress and I made my other, I wore my interview shoes.

mateysmum Sun 17-Feb-13 16:28:03

HI LRD - no I'm not your old teacher though I did do history!!

It is true though there are plenty of well of chaps there. I went to the Christchurch Commem Ball with my cousin who was at Oxford at the same time - fun but not romantic. and Gary Glitter was the lead act - that shows how long ago it was!

I only ever went to my own college ones, and I think that was pretty standard.
I have friends who went to multiple balls by performing in choirs/bands and getting free tickets that way, or by doing coat-check duty etc for a few hours during the night.
I don't think I know anyone who went to more than 2 in a year and paid for their own tickets.
The elitest drinking societies used to bother me far more in terms of closed social networking (girls only invited if pretty/went to right school etc)

To be honest if my mother had suggested I should be going to random balls I would have thought she'd lost the plot.

Startail Sun 17-Feb-13 16:30:59

My lovely flat mate did a deal with her sister to have royal blue lacy brides maids dresses rather than pastel frilly ones, specifically so she could reuse it for the graduation ball.

Ah, shame.

I am not sure what I would have thought to targeting well-off blokes for a ball ticket, but fortunately the one I met was penniless anyway. grin

I agree with twelve that other Oxfordy things are more of an issue.

motherinferior Sun 17-Feb-13 16:32:35

Tbh I found the whole 'ball' ethos pretty repellent. I had a pretty good time at Oxford (and managed a perfectly creditable degree) but my social life mostly consisted of too much alcohol and too many spliffs consumed while Objecting To Things.

Sounds perfect. smile

It looks as if this is the case for most students still. Where we live, they're constantly having house parties or going onto Port Meadow with a load of booze and barbeque stuff, or going clubbing in boring clubs. I would think balls are a tiny, tiny, tiny part of anyone's social life.

MMMarmite Sun 17-Feb-13 16:45:19

I went to Oxford and went to one ball, my college one. Some went to none, I never knew anyone who went to five a year! There are plenty of other social events; of course they look great on the website, doesn't mean everyone's going to go. They're essentially a commercial event, they cost what they cost, if you try to make them much cheaper then they won't really have any elements of a ball.

Also there are ways of going cheaper if you're madly keen on balls, like join the organising committee, or work a shift serving drinks there, or be part of a band or comedy group that's performing.

funnyperson Sun 17-Feb-13 16:46:04

All very reassuring. Sounds as though DD is normal. Just me who is a bit weird then.

Ah, don't worry about it, you just want her to have a good time! But I bet she is, I don't think she is just saying so to make you stop worrying.

givemeaclue Sun 17-Feb-13 16:51:28

Nobody expects to go to 5 balls a year!
Get real, one is plenty!

Arcticwaffle Sun 17-Feb-13 18:02:35

I also never went to a ball at Oxford. Most friends went to one or two. It really wasn't my thing. I still don't like black tie events. I never went to formal dinners or formal hall or whatever it was called (it's been a while now) either. Or to the Union.

There are lots of other ways of socialising. And of drinking more cheaply. I used to spend all my spare money on travelling in the long vacs.

I did know when eights week was, I even took part in it once. In the lowly 4th eight. For the very casual uncommitted rowers.

Trills Sun 17-Feb-13 18:06:38

Given that the balls are the main college social events this is sad

It's one night. Your idea of 5 balls is insane. Please stop thinking about it and let the person who is actually at the university decide what is normal and what is desirable and what is affordable (and decide whether the three all match up)

IME the main college social events throughout the year are very cheap, certainly the dinners were cheaper than going out to dinner in a restaurant and the disco-type-things were a lot cheaper than entry to and buying drinks in a club.

"the disco-type-things"

Go on, the word you are trying desperately to avoi using.... 'bop'

exexpat Sun 17-Feb-13 18:41:49

Going to five balls a year sounds very unusual. Most people go to one a year, perhaps only one during their time at university. Yes, they are expensive, but they are special occasions which cost huge amounts of money to put on.

They are, however, considerably cheaper than going to most weekend music festivals (Glastonbury costs more than £200 these days, I think, and of course that doesn't include food and drink, which a ball ticket does), which is something lots of people the same age (late teens/early 20s) do, and no one seems to complain about them being socially exclusive. People save up for them and they are a big thing.

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