A CrewDate [krÅ?Å?deyt], also known as a 'swap', is an Oxbridge term for a team social/group date, derived from the combination of the words 'crew' (traditionally a rowing team), and 'date'. CrewDates are typically held between two sports teams, although batchelor/batchelorette crews are becoming popular, as well as mates crews, staircase crews, subject crews, drinking society crews and crews arranged by groups with shared interests or beliefs.


It is difficult to be exact about the true origin of crewdating. The earliest accounts of crewdates date back to the early 1900's, when, to alleviate the boredom of long mornings on the water and lonely nights in the library, Oxford and Cambridge college rowing crews began to organize social events between themselves, in a bid to expand their social circle and boost morale.

Common agenda

Crewdates are often (although not exclusively) held between crews of opposite sexes. Often the two will meet in a college hall, a bar or a restaurant and the seating arrangement, although not pre-determined, is usually boy-girl-boy-girl, and may be changed throughout the night. In many cases a successful crewdate will move on to another bar or nightclub.

Other less common agendas for crewdates may involve simple things such as a barbecue, a pool-party or one crew cooking for the other. They sometimes focus on an event such as wine/beer tasting, comedy nights or punting. They can also include games such as paintballing, bowling or go-karting, and they are often themed. Common themes include Pub-Golf (18 bars, one drink in each, in fancy dress), Formal Cross (where the dress code is half black tie, half sports kit), Latin (fancy dress themed salsa classes followed by tapas) and Fancy dress - Mr Men, Mythical Creatures, "What I want to be when I grow up" etc.


There are many peculiarities to a CrewDate, as there are with many Oxbridge traditions. Some of the most common include pennying and sconcing. Sconcing is similar to the childhood game "I have never", and it is a moot point whether anybody can sconce, or whether it is the right of the captains only. A sconce takes the form of "I sconce anybody who has/hasn"t…..". If the "sconcing applies to you, you are obliged to down your drink (or at least take a swig!) e.g. "I sconce anyone who is still on their first drink!". International Drinking Rules - International drinking rules are another contentious issue, and are applicable once declared. There are many rules, although the commonly accepted ones are no using first names, no pointing, no use of the word 'drink' & no swearing.

Other popular activities include bunjee cording, when each male member is attached by bungee cord to a randomly selected female member for the entire night, grenade when on the shout of the word, all daters immediately hide under the table and the last one drinks. Finally, there is flood (the same as grenade only instead of diving under the table, people jump on to the table and the last one again drinks), cockroach, when on the shout of the word all daters lie on their backs and act like dead cockroaches. Boat races is another notable crewdate-type. All daters stand in two lines facing each other. When the races starts, the first person must down their glass as quickly as possible. Once they have finished their glass, the person next to them starts theirs, and so on. The team which finishes all their glasses first wins, and the loser must suffer a forfeit.


Oxford and Cambridge alumni are often very proud of the concept as such, describing its multiple benefits. Some of the most commonly mentioned include:
*Great way to meet new people in an environment with less tension, since both parties feel more comfortable in the company of their friends.
*Removes the unnatural need to cold approach someone if you like the look of them and want to make conversation, as well as awkward silences, since people feel more confident among friends
*Safe, since there are friends for backup and protection
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