Dear Vice Chancellor,

I have a rather, ahem, embarrassing issue. On Wednesday of Torpids week after Park End, I became, um, intimate with the Merton College M3 boat captain. While my soiree with him was, I suppose, pleasant, my concerns were raised the next morning. While drinking his instant coffee with slightly sour milk and perhaps a little too much sweetener, I idly asked him what time he needed to get down to the boat house. At that, his expression hardened and he said that his boat had failed to qualify for the rest of Torpids because, and I quote, “we caught too many crabs because of the incompetence of our cox”

A couple of things about this worry me. Firstly, why would crabs prevent them from qualifying? Is it because nobody would sit still in the boat? I’ve never heard of this sort of thing happening before. Secondly, this cox – isn’t it a bit problematic to put all of the responsibility on her? Surely both parties are obliged to be vigilant, and the M3 boat should have checked whether she had crabs beforehand? Third, and most importantly, do I now have crabs too?

All the best,

Was that a phantom itch or a real itch


Dear “was that a phantom itch or a real itch”,

I am unsure of how I may pacify you in this instance; my role as Vice Chancellor, methinks, prevents me from condoning these profligate late night parties after the discotheques have ended. As far as I can tell, you ought to have been plugging away in the library, rather than being plugged away in the bed of a stranger. Nevertheless, what’s done is done, and there is no use crying over spilt milk, if you catch my drift.

Regarding the crab-catching, it is unsurprising to me that an M3 boat would catch so many that they fail to qualify for the rest of Torpids. M3 is often a novice boat and you should hold your judgement. Secondly, regarding cox accountability: while it is down to the rowers to ensure that their technique does not result in crabs being caught, the cox really should work with the boat’s coach to correct their postures. There are also some ancient texts on positioning the body for achieving maximum pleasure and success in this matter. Lastly, I am not sure from where you got the notion that you too might catch crabs: do you row? Unless I am mistaken, aren’t crabs only caught on the water?

All the best in bemusement,

Your Vice Chancellor x

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Optionally add an image (JPEG only)