Tab Tries…Lying Through Your Teeth

“Everyone knows Freshers’ Week isn’t really for Freshers”. MATT BURNS tells a collection of choice whoppers to naive newbies. Read how he got on here.

2010/2011 Cambridge Catz College Fresher Freshers Week lying Matt Burns

We all know Freshers’ week isn’t really for Freshers. It is for older students: an ideal opportunity to reinvent oneself, without the intimidation of the first week at university.

So this week, I bare-face lied. I’m not talking “that shirt looks great”, “your parents seemed lovely” or “no honey, you’re not fat!” little white lies. I’m talking mighty whoppers; not always easy to pull-off, but great fun if you can get away with it.

The Lie – Claiming you come from somewhere exotic

In this case Newcastle…maybe exotic is a strong word.

Difficulty – This depends on your talent for accents. If you can produce a consistent Aussie, Glaswegian or Texan voice, and others accept it early, you’re laughing. Be prepared to answer many questions about your chosen “birth-place”.

The Response – Goes down very well. There aren’t a great variety of intonations in Cambridge so you stand out from the crowd. The line “I swear I’m the only Geordie in Cambridge” was the deal clincher.

The Downfall – Getting fined for lying. Make sure your comrades know you’re in on the act. You appear a lot less interesting when you’re forced to speak with normal southern tongue.

The Lie – Claiming you are a university cheerleader

Difficulty – Very easy if you have the frame for it. Rugby players might struggle.

The Response – Average. After a few questions about it, attention turned elsewhere. They didn’t even seem interested in my European championships in Rhodes.

The Downfall – Too easily believable. Perhaps surprisingly unimpressive. In fact the contrary was the case. I believe the phrase “I actually think a lot less of you now” was used.

The Lie – Claiming you write for a national newspaper

Difficulty – You have to appear old enough and smart enough to pull it off. Claiming you are doing research on binge drinking, university Freshers’ weeks or drinks prices in bars gives you a logical reason for being there. You also have to be relatively sober.

The Response – Generally good. Excellent opportunity to ask peoples names, subjects, etcetera without appearing boring or invasive. If people believe you, they will be willing to natter for ages in attempt to get their name in the press. Also very good as an initial chat-up line.

The Downfall – Cannot be seen raving in the middle of the dance floor later. If you’re using it to pull, it’s probably not the best start for a long term relationship.

The Lie – Claiming you have an unusual name

Difficulty – Proportional to how realistic the name is. You then have to remember to respond to this name all evening.

The Response – Again dependant on the name. In this case the name was Anastasia. The response wasn’t good.

The Downfall – Being very drunk and blurting out, “My name’s Anastasia!” makes you look like a moron.

The Lie – Claiming to be the head of a college society that doesn’t exist

Difficulty – Involves sitting at a college fresher’s fair/squash with a sign for “College Cool Society”. Be prepared to do an enormous amount of ad-libbing in what your society involves, with a lot of hard-selling for sceptical inquisitors.

The Response – A sufficient amount of attention, though many pundits were very confused about the idea. Having to come up with a cool nickname was an issue for certain individuals. Having said that, 22 names on a sign up sheet speaks for itself.

The Downfall – You have 22 names on a sign up sheet for a society that doesn’t exist. What to do with that list next is anyone’s guess. You can also be certain that those 22 are not cool, and that neither are you.

The Lie – The improvised whopper that runs away with itself

A fresher asked whether a female colleague was my girlfriend. I replied, “No…but…”. What followed was an hour-and-a-half of detailed conversation about how I had been in love with said colleague for three years, but that this love was unrequited. Even a surprise Valentine’s Day trip to Prague couldn’t provoke her desire to return my feelings. So here I start another year hopeful, but ultimately humbled and alone.

Difficulty – Fairly easy, especially if your friend plays along and you’ve found a gullible fresher with a soft spot for a broken heart.

The Response – 90 minutes of attention, compassion and empathy.

The Downfall – Feeling morally vacuous. So much so, that half-way through a sentence about your poetry, your conscience forces you to apologise profusely and inform the victim of the stunt you’ve been playing. Watch them leave knowing that they will hate you forever.