Cambridge Types

PHOEBE LUCKHURST helps you spot the types you’re competing with and where you fit.

jack wills

Just as the animal kingdom comprises a myriad of different species great and small (from peacocks flashing fantastical plumage, to poisonous frogs that looks like a squashed tea cake), Cambridge too is a jungle of different types vying for supremacy at the bar at Cindies and it’s survival of the fittest. Your place in the food chain depends on how you dress, speak and behave and where you end up affects how your peers, or rather predators/prey, perceive you. Whoever knew that your choice of colloquialism could be so damning (‘safe’ anyone? ‘Standard’?). Should have taken those elocution lessons after all. (Or maybe you did, yah?)

Of course, it’s Cambridge and we all like to think we’re above all these Mean Girls-esque cliques. We did four A Levels to get here, thank you very much. Ha. As if. No matter how many AEAs you did, you cannot escape the jungle politics so you might as well try and work out how to spot the types you’re competing with and where you fit.

The Yah

Defining traits: The undeniable Queen Bee of the bubble, her entrance into a room is marked by a gaggle of cackling cohorts and an almost overpowering wave of Charles Worthington hair product. Very selective about who she talks to: if you’re in, more often than not it’s because she wants your lecture notes.

Outfit choice: Any given page of the Jack Wills catalogue, a scarf that’s supposed to look like she bought it on her gap year but which she actually bought at River Island, Uggs (of course), a Tiffany’s necklace that Daddy bought for his little princess to celebrate her obtaining her place to read Land Economy.

Fashion influences: The WAGs.

Mating behaviour: Rigging swaps so that she and her gaggle get to sit opposite a rugby Blue; wearing micro-mini, skin-tight dresses to Cindies and thrusting provocatively up against any guy wearing a blazer and chinos.

Most likely to be heard saying: ‘Yah’. Duh.

The Boatie

Defining traits: Pros – Body of Adonis. Cons – quite likely to fall asleep at hall/in the bar/in a supervision. Admittedly, 5.45am is an inhuman hour to wake up but to be honest, we’d be lying if we blamed the Boatie’s poor chat on sleep-deprivation.

Outfit choice: Skin-tight rowing gear (stop staring); a blazer and chinos for hitting the town with the first boat.

Fashion influences: The England cricket team.

Mating behaviour: Frankly more interested in downing infinite shots, bellowing at ‘the lads’ and then hitting the sack at 9pm. No nookie before bumps, it’s a rule.

Most likely to be heard saying: ‘I’d better not, I’ve got to get up for rowing in the morning.’ ‘Protein-shake, anyone?’

The English Student

Defining traits: Usually travels solo, wearing a slightly bewildered expression, a floral tea-dress (girl) or blazer with patched elbows (boy) and smoking a rollie. They’ve probably been ditched in the past for being ‘too intense’. Vague plans of a career in the theatre and are working on a novel but it’s ‘not very good or anything’.

Outfit choice: Boys seem to favour clothes that look like even a charity shop rejected them, think patches, holes, ragged hems. Girls favour floral dresses and long cardigans, penny loafers, lots of necklaces with obscure symbols.

Fashion influences: Tramps, obscure indie singers, Alexa Chung.

Mating behaviour: Reciting a sonnet crafted by their own fair hand. Or hitting Kambar, eyeing up cute fellow English student across bar. Bashful blushing ensues; both go home alone.

Most likely to be heard saying: ‘If you could be any literary character, which one would you be and why?’ ‘<Insert obscure foreign Medieval author here> is a GENIUS.’ ‘I see myself as more of a Marlowe man than a Shakespeare, to be honest.’

The Drama Kid

Defining traits: Closely related to the English student but far less shy and retiring and interest in theatre is more active than English student’s vague use of ‘theatre’ as a justification for what they might be able to do post a degree spent reading books for three years. Bouncy, clearly inhabiting their own planet half the time.

Outfit choice: STASH from their most recent play.

Fashion influences: Drama teachers.

Mating behaviour: Simmering sexual tension between a co-star throughout three weeks of intense rehearsals; get off with them at the play after-party. Fizzle. Next term you end up on the same stage space once again. Repeat.

Most likely to be heard saying: ‘Oh, lovely!!!’ ‘Amaaaaaaaazing!!!’ At least three exclamation marks are requisite in order to express their enthusiasm for everything.

That Girl Who’s Always Drunk

Defining traits: Always drunk. Either crying, throwing some (pretty violent) moves or collapsed in a corner but it’s ok because she has long since learnt the art of falling asleep in the recovery position.

Outfit choice: Fancy dress and almost certainly completely inappropriate and liable to fall down after a few drinks and leave people unsure where to look.

Fashion influences: Whatever everyone else on the Pimps and Hoes/Cowboys and Indians/Barbie and Ken swap she’s on is wearing.

Mating behaviour: Get drunk, hook up with the most drunk boy on the swap, spend two hours the following morning doing the marathon of shame trying to work out how to get home from Fitz.

Most likely to be heard saying: ‘Tequila!’ ‘I can’t find my shoe.’ Becomes increasingly incomprehensible and teary as the night proceeds.

The Recluse

Defining traits: You probably don’t know who he is. Emerges periodically from his cave in the basement of the oldest building in college to sample some delights at hall before slithering back there, next to be sighted several weeks in the future, and definitely sporting laptop-screen jaundice.

Outfit choice: A massive oversized white t-shirt, non-descript jeans, hiking boots. Possibly an anorak. A suit at all times if he’s really weird.

Fashion influences: Will from The Inbetweeners. Whatever his Mum bought (and labelled meticulously) for him before he came to Cambridge.

Mating behaviour: Splits in two like an amoeba.

Most likely to be heard saying: Not much. When he/she/it does speak, it tends to be in equations.