Formal Meals

observe anthropological wonders and the five stages of grief in a single evening

Hatfield Formals take place every Tuesday and Thursday. Formals are an unusual experience, so we asked a world-renowned zoologist to observe and describe the event.

Here we observe the Hatfieldian in their natural environment. The Hatfieldian dons a mediocre suit or dress and covers their shame with the black gown. In hand they carry a bottle of white wine. In stomach they carry an evening of banter.

The Hatfieldian takes their seat and quickly grasps their fork ‘n’ spoon with glee, for what follows is their greatest joy for the evening. Once all the Hatfieldians have taken their seat and the doors been shut, they embody the spirit of drum sergeants from wars since passed. Alarmingly well drilled, they strike the table with as much might as could be summoned from their ancestor’s dinning silver and command the servers to bring them food.

While it might seem impolite for a bunch of barely adults to use their cutlery as drum sticks on the finest tables that could be sourced this side of the Watford Gap to demand food, we have to understand that it’s simply a different kind of culture.

After the Hatfieldians calm down, High Table enters and all stand. When they sit, they all sit.

The wine will be uncorked and glasses will be filled. “Pennying” is a common occurrence, “corking” is acceptable as well (consult your friendly castellan for details). The non-Hatfieldians, already bemused by the display will find themselves in further bemusement as it is “tradition” to get any outsider exceptionally wasted.

Scientists of today are still in debate as to where this tradition originates. While promising theories have been suggested, evidence does not yet support the claims that have been made.

The starter will oft occur without fault. A soup. Nothing serious of mention.

By the main, Hatfiedlians are becoming excitable. Corking and pennying are frequent. 

By desert they do something most unusual. Hatfieldians opt to eat their deserts with cutlery. Those of us from more acceptable backgrounds may find it quite unusual for a college to encourage behavior like this, but we must be open minded when observing them.

It should be noted that if you are not respectful of their culture, they are one of extremely few tribes to have member of their in-crowd awarding fines. However, it is unlikely that you’ll be requested to pay these. 

Afterwards they took me to the bar. They had discovered that I was not one of them and proceeded to encourage me to have the nightender. By all recollection, at that point the night ended.


Hatfield formals are open to all esteemed members of Hatfield JCR and the guests of those who have excess quantities of banter that they feel need to be diluted by outsiders. If you would like to book a place on a Hatfield formal, please click on this link.