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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.

Trills Sun 17-Feb-13 18:58:09

I know it's bop, but I didn't know if everyone reading would know.

TwelveLeggedWalk Sun 17-Feb-13 20:27:38

Trills Very sensible. smile It sounded like you were trying to blot out the word and all associated memories of sweaty poor-taste snog-fests with boys inexplicably dressed in togas!!

Lostonthemoors Sun 17-Feb-13 20:34:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

saintlyjimjams Sun 17-Feb-13 20:37:46

Bops; where the sweat condensed on the ceiling. Boak.

MoreBeta Sun 17-Feb-13 20:48:10

DW and I recall the infamous 'Exeter sweaty bops' much more often than any ball we ever went to?

Only one fire exit in a basement with 100% humidity and 200 hormone and alcohol fueled students. It was a health and safety hazard in all respects.


MariscallRoad Mon 18-Feb-13 00:28:58

DS College at Oxford had a ball every 2 years. Ticket was 80 - 120 and the low end price was for College members.

louisianablue2000 Mon 18-Feb-13 00:42:03

Was just thinking 'who goes to more than one ball a year?' then remembered that I did but it was to the graduate college balls that cost significantly less. I never went to a 'posh' Oxford one but we did go to a very fancy one in Cambridge on year, my flatmate's sister was at my DH's old college so we had a house trip for its 400th anniversary ball. It was amazing.

So, one ball is more than sufficient for an entire Oxbridge career if you ask me.

exexpat Mon 18-Feb-13 01:44:32

I did actually go to three one year, but only paid for one: one of the others I worked at, and the other was a last-minute invite from someone whose date had dropped out. But it certainly wasn't the norm then, and I'm sure isn't now.

I think the OP has got a rather distorted idea of Oxbridge social life - if her daughter says she just wants to go to her college's ball, that sounds perfectly normal to me.

BlueyDragon Mon 18-Feb-13 06:01:32

I'm not surprised if there's a distorted view of the Oxford social life out there, given that the media coverage is hooked on the Bullingdon Club and other teeny tiny cliques that I wasn't even aware of when I was there. And which still don't matter now. As has been said frequently up thread, there's so much else to the place. Like Eights Week grin.

I wonder how many people really do get put off by the jargon and the assumptions and the dress code?

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Mon 18-Feb-13 06:14:02

funny I went to the other place (some 20 years ago) and then it was totally normal to go to your own college ball and no others. Many colleges also alternated years between organising a ball and organising an "event" (which was a lot cheaper. Very few people went to more than one. Quite a few people didnt go to any. Personally, I think the balls were ok, but they're not up there with the best nights I had at Uni. They are definitely not the social main event.

Mendi Mon 18-Feb-13 06:33:23

I was at Cambridge and graduated over ten years ago. While there I only went to one college ball and the tickets were £80 a piece THEN. Then you had to kit yourself out for it too (white tie). It was something we saved up for for ages and it was an amazing night. Definitely more than worth the money and better, actually, than any similar event I've been to since. My mum bought my dress and I got the ticket and shoes.

All other nights out were student nights at Cindy's or college bops. No one has to go to a ball and I don't think you'd be missing out if you didn't, but they are a great experience if you can. Like lots of things.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Mon 18-Feb-13 13:16:28

OMG- forgot about Cindy's. Was Route 66 still there? That was a real dive that was never really open except for private parties.

TunipTheVegedude Mon 18-Feb-13 13:22:31

What about crashing balls? Do people still do that or do they implant you with a microchip to show you've paid these days?

stealthsquiggle Mon 18-Feb-13 13:27:42

I should imagine they do (microchip you) - crashing was pretty hard work even in the age of the dinosaurs my day (not that I ever bothered)

OP - listen to your DD! Unless your boy/girlfriend is at another college, it is entirely normal to only go to your own college ball. I only went to one (my own) in 4 years, and I definitely wasn't alone in that.

stealthsquiggle Mon 18-Feb-13 13:31:32

Exeter sweaty bops (and Hertford ones) - now there is the stuff of which real memories are made mostly of not standing still for too long or you would stick to the floor, and not thinking too hard about what was dripping off the ceiling grin

saintlyjimjams Mon 18-Feb-13 13:35:10

I crashed corpus really easily. We met a band playing outside, offered to carry some instruments and walked straight in (past some very pissed students manning the entrance).

TunipTheVegedude Mon 18-Feb-13 13:42:53

My brother crashed a ball in the 90s carrying a box.
I'm not sure what dh's technique was. Definitely the 'sneaking in with equipment' technique seemed to have a higher success rate than the 'polevaulting over the perimeter fence in black tie/swimming across the river having previously hidden your formal outfit under a bush' type thing.

drwitch Mon 18-Feb-13 13:44:44

yup they are expensive and discriminatory, in my day (sits back on rocking chair and puffs pipe) the "sounder" (=p.c. for you whippersnappers) jcrs used to insist on having events instead

GooseyLoosey Mon 18-Feb-13 13:48:49

I went to my own college's ball which was held every 3 years, so I went to 1 in total. It never occured to me to go to more. Most of my friends didn't go to more either. It was a huge occassion and much looked forward to.

Of course they look like great events, but then dining at La Gavroche every day looks great too but I can't afford that either.

You cut your cloth according to your means. It is not discriminatory that some people have more money than you do.

wordfactory Mon 18-Feb-13 13:57:21

I went to a fair few balls, but this was because my then-boyfriend and I were DJs. Good times.

Most people went to one a year, maybe two.

I hope your mind is put to rest, OP. Personally, I think it's lovely that you're still concerned for your DD. And I'm sure you're no talone in thinking Oxbridge students are all wealthy socialites, and your own DC is out on a limb.

wordfactory Mon 18-Feb-13 13:58:54

Oh and Exeter bops! The only place on earth where one gratefully guzzled Newcastle Brown to prevent dehydration!

Going to 2 or 3 balls a year is only the norm here in Cambridge for those who are working at them/have friends who have organised one/are in the choir etc.

I don't think I know anybody that has paid for more than one.

It's also worth bearing in mind that they hype and reality don't always match, and they are all a bit same-y.

A good ball is more about who you're with than which college you happen to be at/what the theme is (same as any other night out IME).

notcitrus Mon 18-Feb-13 14:48:15

Most people went to their own college ball once or twice, and any others they could blag their way into - I did massage and went to about 50 over 6 years.

My college was one.of the few to do a ball every year but at least half the people there would be working for a shift, so getting in free. Many of the paying guests were alumni, not students.

How does the pricing compare with say the FA Cup Final?

PatriciaHolm Mon 18-Feb-13 21:17:55

I am having flashbacks to sweaty bops now. How can that have ever been fun?!! [wanders off to marvel at what 18 year olds will get up to in the name of a good night out...]

funnyperson Tue 19-Feb-13 16:02:48

Great discussion and feedback: what a range of replies though- between 2 and 50 balls in 6 years ! Thank you all! flowers

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