This Charmless Man

By Mark Walsh

I was really looking forward to being back at college. “I’m really looking forward to going back to college” I said. That’s well and truly worn off now anyway. I planned to be more frugal with joining societies this year – failed that one. Signed up to a good few, and not just the ones with the best free stuff.

The highlight for me was TFM. They had a big bag of stuff, which was basically just leaflets and a couple of vouchers. And then, at the bottom of the bag, I saw it. An envelope. A plain white envelope, lurking there with nothing written on it.

I got very excited. It must be something really good if they decided to put it in an envelope. It might be something important. It might be loads of money that fell in there by mistake. I opened the envelope. The contents? A teabag! A fucking teabag! Bless their little radio-loving hearts. I reckon they were sat around the room going “lads, the goody bag is a bit shit looking, we have to find more stuff to put in there”. They looked around the room and all they could see was teabags and envelopes. “Fuck it, throw ‘em in. What harm?”

The free pizza on Freshers week causes me so much stress. Even if I’m not hungry I feel like I absolutely have to get some of that free pizza.  Then everyone starts pushing. Free food? I need food to live! If I get free food I’ll stay alive for longer without having to spend money, because it’s free! GIMME THE PIZZA!

Last Monday I went to a Publications wine reception. I remarked about how I hadn’t drank wine in so long. That is because I only ever drink it at these things, when it’s free and the only option. I fucking hate wine. The highlight was that the important people had to wear stickers with their name and publication info on. Most of the women wore these on their breasts. This is good because usually they point at the sticker when introducing themselves. This means they’re accidentally giving you a perving opportunity. They think you’re looking at their name and job title, but no. You’re assessing the ol’ mammary glands.

It was actually a really nice evening. The only problem was that I had a bit of a cold. It’s impossible to fully enjoy yourself when you’re focussing at least 50% of your brain power on trying to figure out how to test just how snotty you are. I’ve never been one to blow my nose in public – it’s too risky. You could make the whole situation worse. I think maybe I’m just not the most proficient in the nose-blowing department. I remember when I was younger and used to see footballers doing that thing where they blow their nose without tissue. The put their hand to one nostril and the snot flies effortlessly out of the other. Sheer brute force. I tried that myself once and it went horribly wrong and I said never again. Tissues were invented and are still selling, so I mustn’t be the only one who needs ‘em.

There’s been a good few events in MacTurcaill’s lately. Not that I went to any of them. I was at a going away party in there recently. I was buying a drink at the bar and began chatting to my mate who was doing the same. When we both went to pay, the barman said “are you two together?”

We said “no no, we’re paying separately”  and gave him our money. He took it and said “yeah but, are you together?”
We looked at each other with our confused and unquestionably heterosexual eyes. I didn’t quite know what to say, so just decided to completely clarify the situation, and said “eh, not sexually”.

The barman laughed and said “Fair play mate, you’re on the ball, you”.

I was delighted with myself. I’d engaged in some barman banter. I considered starting to use gruff man terms such as “suckin’ diesel” and “fierce” and stuff like that. I then decided that I wasn’t ready for being THAT manly just yet, so I’ll stick to knowing about football and enjoying my own farts.

Later on I was at the bar with a girl. The same barman again asked if we were together. Again I clarified we were paying separately. And of course, he said “yeah, but are you together?”

It worked before, so I just said “eh, not sexually”. Again, he laughed and said “Fair play mate, you’re on the ball”. The exact same exchange! I don’t know if he remembered our previous conversation or not. Not to worry anyway. I’ll never go back there ever again, just in case he asks me that question. Problem solved!

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