An ode to the irritating twat you’re going to have to live with for the next year

You need an unpopular shitbag to unite the rest.

An ode to the irritating twat you’re going to have to live with for the next year

Butterflies, moths and small birds fill your chest cavity. It’s arrivals weekend and you anticipate a debauched fortnight of introductory lectures and quiet seminars.

That’s not where the misadventure begins though. No. Day one is a long drive at the hands of one or more sobbing parents, with whom you suffer a minor disagreement over how best to unpack, and who refuse to leave until they’ve become such an unwelcome part of the scenery that you can muster only a grateful nod and a muttered ‘thank god’ in farewell.

Left to contemplate alone the four walls of your disappointing new home, it becomes clear that it is time to meet new people. Depending on your habitual social outlook, skill and bearing, this is either the very best or very worst of imaginable prospects.

In either a triumphant demonstration of fearless theatre or a much internally debated, crept and swallowed ‘hiya’, you find yourself seated with six strangers at an empty kitchen table.

Each new arrival is asked whence he or she came, which prior qualifications he or she has obtained and, in a nod to the present, what he or she intends to study henceforth.

It is not an interesting situation. Everybody is obsequious. Everyone laughs when anyone laughs. Each seeks common ground with a lacklustre lust. The one gratifying discovery of the debacle is that at least one of your new kitchen-mates is an arsehole.

In itself, the revelation that you share a microwave with a shitbag holds no allure. In point of fact, it’s the dried-out Pritt Stick that will sustain polite intra-kitchen good humour for three terms.

Behind-the-back bitchin’ turns the square wheels of British society, and a pre-ordained scapegoat with an unfortunate manner, with mental health issues that really deserve support rather than revile, or a compromising set of interests is precisely the hapless soul the rest of your kitchen needs.

What commences as a ‘kitchen bitchen’ Whatsapp group chat swiftly devolves into the last shred of solidarity you share with Sarah from Surrey and her runtish boyfriend. Indeed, were it not for the mutual relief that neither of you happens to be the aforementioned arsehole, your emotional exchange with your incidental milieu would scarcely exceed that of pigs passing one another in a shit-heap. If now you are thinking back to your inaugural days as a starry-eyed campus dwelling undergraduate and remark to yourself “how lucky was I not to have an arsehole in my kitchen?”, hopefully, the cogs of your mind will now clock the cause of the vacuity of conversation shared with your co-location colleagues – it is time to accept that maybe the arsehole is you.