This Charmless Man

By Mark Walsh

Hello . I’m Mark and I’m the society section’s columnist this year. I’m going to be sent to things – social things – and then review them. A social diarist, that’s me. Just like yer wan in Sex and The City. I actually had to Google that to see if it’s Sex and The City or Sex in The City.

It was actually pretty silly of me to agree to write this column. I don’t really enjoy doing things. In recent months I’ve realised that I seem to be at my happiest when I’m at home doing nothing, wondering why I’m not out doing things. Breaking news: Grass greener on other side!

I think my enthusiasm for social events peaked at Freshers’ Week in first year. The Fresher optimism is something I actually miss. I’m going to talk to everyone and do loads of things! I’m going to join lots of societies and get involved, not like in school where I did nothing all the time! I’m going to go on dates instead of just meaningless scoring girls on nights out! I’m going to study too though, gotta make sure the grades are good! Maybe I’ll do them Schols exams, if I study hard enough I’m sure I could do it! College is great! Life is great! I’m great, but in a totally humble modest way!

Then a month passes, and you find yourself sitting at home alone on a Tuesday afternoon, missing lectures because it was raining and you weren’t arsed, watching Sky Sports News for hours on end, in your pants, eating beans on toast, and groaning as you get a text from one of the numerous useless societies you stupidly signed up to in a foolish haze of optimism and false hope. The texts from societies really do irritate me.

One in particular, the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), especially gets on my nerves. I only joined it because I’d been listening to too much Rage Against The Machine at the time, and they have a similar logo – the fist thing. Their texts come from a regular looking phone number, so whenever they text, I get that momentary mixture of fear and excitement that comes with receiving a message from an unknown number. Oh god, what if it’s a girl? An attractive girl that I’d like to have sex with. That’d be class. Then again, what if it’s something bad? It could be an anonymous threat.

The SWP acronym bothers me too, because I’m a football fan and I’m used to that acronym standing for Shaun Wright-Philips. And I don’t like Shaun Wright-Philips either. But that’s neither here nor there.

Freshers need to note that as you walk around Front Square during Freshers’ Week, some people from Cancer Soc will approach you and ask you to join. “It’s free!” they’ll say. It goes down really well if you act incredulous and say something like “Cancer Soc? Why would I support cancer, it’s awful!” Everyone will think you’re really cool and funny if you say that. Women all over Front Square will say things like “Get a load of the really cool, funny guy over there. I think I’ll have intercourse with him.” With sterling social advice like the above, aren’t you glad to have me writing this column every week?

Socially the past few months have been dull, with so many of my friends going away doing irritatingly exciting things with their lives. My best friends over the summer were the World Cup, the customers where I work, and right at the end, the X Factor. I even downloaded it once when I didn’t catch it on TV.

The other week I was watching it with my sister as she got ready for a night out. At one point a lad called Mark auditioned. Cheryl Cole told him it was a yes, and he was through. I noted to myself that I could probably take the soundbite of Cheryl saying “yes Mark”, and listening to that on repeat would basically be like she was having sex with me, right? Then my sister finished straightening her hair, and asked if she could straighten mine. And I let her.