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Lady Pat R. Honising: Out-Of-Depth Anon

"No matter how much you relate to Cinderella, the closest thing you’re getting to a Fairy Godmother is the nice barista at Pret who occasionally gives you a free coffee."

Dear Agony Aunt,

I’ve been at Oxford for nearly two years now, and I am only just going to my first ball this weekend. I’m so nervous and need some serious help navigating my very first time!

Many thanks,
An out-of-depth Anon.

Dearest Anon,

You have nothing to worry about – rest assured, you’re in safe hands. Ball season is rapidly consuming Oxford culture, and you’re not the only first timer at this black-tie rodeo. You’ve seen the countless Instagrams, profile picture bumps, and Facebook events with generic buzzwords that would be better suited in the reject pile of the Apprentice team naming process – now the time has come for you to experience it all yourself. Don’t sweat it, just sit back and listen and soon you too will be the Prom King or Queen that you only everdreamt of.

With Ball season fast approaching in the next coming weeks, I can only hope for your sake that you are all sorted in the outfit department. Shame on you if you haven’t exploited every Nasty Gal 50% off day for the last month for a bargain ball gown, or even scoured every last “Soooomuch cheaper than RRP! Really don’t want to say goodbye to it!” Depop listing. Amazon Prime may have to be your best friend for that last minute “I fancy something a bit different” bow tie or pair of heels that will definitely not last the evening. Either way, looking good is the key to feeling good, and snapping up that last-minute bargain will get you far, kid.

There’s also the cut-throat business of how to get a ticket for a big ball. Do you wake up with enough time to have you finger hovering over four different smartphones in the hope of snagging an early bird affair, or do you risk buying one for double the price from a someone on Oxtickets with a super quirky facebook name that shows just how interesting they are? No matter how much you relate to Cinderella, the closest thing you’re getting to a Fairy Godmother is the nice barista at Pret who occasionally gives you a free coffee.

You would’ve thought that from here on in it would be plain sailing, but oh no my child: let’s get you ready for the big day itself. Obviously you’ll need to make the most of that £100+ ticket somehow, and what better trade-off is there than using it as an excuse to take a whole weekend off your much more expensive and arguably more memorable education!

Getting ready can absolutely be a whole day job if you make it one. Once you’ve spent approximately six hours doing your hair, makeup and getting ready, you’ll still inevitably be late, either by your own doing or having to get the already disgruntled taxi driver to turn around because classic Kate has only gone and forgotten her wristband again.

If you’ve all managed to get there in one piece with the knowledge of the whereabouts of at least half your friends and a nice selection of golden hour pictures stashed in your Instagram drafts, you’ve only gone and made it! It’s all you from here on in, relax and go with the cripplingly expensive flow.

Have an absolutely cracking evening of standing in assorted queues for watered down glasses of cava and “bottomless” cupcakes until they run out at 9:45, and don’t forget to party like it’s 2009 to the dulcet tones of whichever Year Six Disco Headliner they’ve managed to get hold of!

Have a ball,

Lady P. xoxoxo

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