Stir in cloisters over the Oxford guide to dating posh girls

It was meant to be a light-hearted guide to help working-class boys woo well-heeled members of the opposite sex. But an Oxford University student publication giving young men from modest backgrounds tips in how to date ‘posh girls’ has been withdrawn...

It was meant to be a light-hearted guide to help working-class boys woo well-heeled members of the opposite sex but an Oxford University student publication giving young men from modest backgrounds tips in how to date ‘posh girls’ has been withdrawn. and its publishers forced to apologise after attracting criticism from those who failed to see the funny side.

Cherwell, the 92-year old student newspaper whose alumni include Rupert Murdoch, Evelyn Waugh and Peter Mandelson, published the six-point guide on the ‘challenge’ of courting classmates from privileged backgrounds.

Its author, Tom Beardsworth, 18, from Stockport, Greater Manchester, insisted the article was a well-intended joke, but it was met with accusations of ‘misogyny’ by the University’s women’s campaign.

The guide was published in the “interests of averting mutual befuddlement”, and offered advice on meeting a woman’s affluent parents and friends, how to discuss politics, and how to handle foreign travel, sexual intercourse and “getting dumped”.

When it comes to sex, Mr Beardsworth, who is reading Politics, Philosophy and Economics warned, ‘posh girls’ are not naïve.

The former Manchester Grammar School pupil warned: “She’ll have had a lot of it; way more than you. Do not believe any assertions to the contrary - she is massaging your fragile ego.

“Posh Girls lose their virginity at 15, often to the same floppy-haired bloke (remember, they share everything). She duly worked her way through the Eton rugby team before re-eloping with the same floppy-haired w----r on her gap year in Phuket.

“Mercilessly, most of her past conquests will be at Oxford and you won’t be able to bust a move in Park End [a popular student nightclub] without bumping into one of them. Aesthetically he is a beautiful man: taller, broader, and handsomer than you will ever be.

Their well-bred friends are no less intimidating, he adds. “Posh Girls, ‘practically sisters’ since their years together in the boarding house, tell each other everything. Consequently they know more about your sex life than you do.

"Relations between you and them will therefore embody all the warmth and intimacy of a court room.”

Crucially, young men of modest means should avoid discussing politics if they wish their romance to succeed. Many wealthy young women “profess ignorance” about current affairs.

But then: “About 3 months in, the inner Tory will flash. Her godfather, it casually emerges, is a Cabinet minister. Or she’s leaving town for the evening to ‘have supper in the Lords’. From this point on, your ears become antennae, acutely aware to her every utterance, lacing it with meaning and innuendo.

“Be prepared to discover a socialist conscience. A passing mention of her grandfather, who leads to county hunt, will inexplicably lead to you embracing the Animal Rights lobby, disavowing meat and sponsoring a stray fox called Arthur.”

And while her parents are likely to be “lovely” and treat the new suitor to dinner, drinks and theatre trips, Mr Beardsworth warned his readers not to expect their girlfriends to be so relaxed on their home turf.

“If she does brave it and travels north to see you, be sensitive. As she disembarks the train, refrain from mocking her attire (wellingtons and a ski jacket – ‘but I thought it’d be freezing’) and instead congratulate her on having made it thus far.”

He advises: “When driving her back to your place, it’s a good idea to make a detour past the local Waitrose. This will settle her down considerably.”

And being dumped, he warned, “will happen”. “Prepare for the inevitable eventuality. Take it on the chin. This was always her plan. You weren’t dumped, just duped.”

The essay, published online, was described as vividly accurate by some students – but branded as ‘misogynistic’, ‘pathetic’ and ‘not tremendously clever’ by others. It has now been removed from the website.

Sarah Pine, 20, the women’s officer of the student union, said: "Treating women like objects that lack any autonomy in who they date or sleep with is outdated and boring. If this article is trying to be funny, the author needs to realise his audience won't be impressed with such irrelevant stereotypes about women.”

In a statement the editors of Cherwell said they were “very sorry” if offence had been taken, adding the piece was intended as satire of sexist dating guides found in the mainstream media. They did not wish to create a poor impression of the university for new students, they added.

Mr Beardsworth said the piece only in part reflected his experiences and said he hoped it did not harm the newspaper’s reputation: He added: “The piece was written to be phenomenally, obviously and rigorously ridiculous - not genuine advice.”

He added he offered his “full apologies” if it had caused any offence.