Be Kind To Your MML This Michaelmas

The 4th year linguist has always been an enigma. BEN DALTON tells you how to crack the code…

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The repatriated MML is, for most, a site of breathless, undying horror. There’s something about that shadowed body in the corner – too mutton to suit a Student Loan yet still too lamb to suit a swivel chair – that brings your back-hair to erection a way you haven’t experienced since Jacqueline Stallone entered the Big Brother house.

Who are these spectres from Q block? The tinny echoes of a past life now forever lost? Protoplasmic dribbles leftover from the Freshers Week of a yesteryear twice forgot? Yes, all of this certainly. The 4th year linguist, however, like all worthy marginalities and subalterns, deserves a voice. (S)he may have all the neuroses and abandonment complexes in the book – think Jesse from Toy Story 2 – but this doesn’t change the fact that (s)he might be a lovely person named Susan who’s more than willing to lend you a pincushion or help ice your buns. The following guide will help you reach an accurate diagnosis of your resident 4th year MML and suggest the appropriate ointment. Once cured, they can make for faithful friends and/or guide dogs.

The Vida-Loca MML

Symptoms: The vida-loca returnee can usually be characterised by a tendency to weep passionately and abruptly following phrases such as “I have left my heart in Chile and I fear it shall never be retrieved”. Whatever their options for fancy dress Superhall, they will invariably choose an alpaca zip-up. Whilst the vida-loca might have been a tolerant kitchen-sharer “before” (a past life that you have no need to know about), dirty dishes will now be met with hot verbal vitriol and arms raised to the vertical.

Treatment: Replace their water supply with a vat of tepid Mojito mix to restore the balance. Should no improvement be noticeable after a week, double the dosage. Past Vida-Locas have also been known to calm instantly at the sound of a maraca; an unruly Blastoise immobilized by the Jigglypuff’s sweet siren.

The Outre Mer MML

Symptoms: The Outre Mer is more visibly recognizable than the vida-loca, sporting head-to-toe scarring where a golden tan used to be. If there remains any doubt, sniff a lobe (any lobe) and it’ll smell of chlorine, Piz Buin and pirates. This specimen wears the common flip-flop with an erotic sneer similar to the way a vampire wears a vintage smoking jacket. Known to show physical signs of psychosis at the onset of winter.

Treatment: Treat this specimen as you might do an anaconda in captivity. To ensure the Outre Mer doesn’t dry up, take them regularly to Girton for a plunge, being sure to throw in the odd inflatable turtle. If you are in possession of a car, treat them afterwards to a stint in the front seat with the air-con on full red. Place a naked flame behind a sheet of tinted crepe paper in their bedroom for an instant heat-lamp, and add gravel to their sandwiches in the name of “beach picnic” nostalgia.

The Outre Mer won’t be in any hurry to forget this.

The secret stay-at-home MML

Symptoms: A Facebook void since the end of their second year, apart from a family holiday to Montpellier which seems to have been honoured with unprecedented photographic coverage.

Treatment: Stay clear of the topic of Year Abroads with a silence as policed as when you took your German exchange student to visit your Grandpa and you filled his mouth with water for the duration to avoid him Mentioning The War. When the truth finally outs, comfort the hapless Stay-At-Home with a convincing argument that “in a way, Hounslow has probably taught you more than Baden-Württemburg ever would have”.

The secret stay-at-home won’t be feeling so buoyant about Tripos.


Symptoms: The ex-BNOC will be a formidable and strident presence on the Freshers Facebook group. Usually they will be bandying themselves around under the guise of “Your Go-To (Wo)man” for any domestic questions and/or Unforgettable Nights Out In Life (do not tell the ex-BNOC that Life is now Kuda, for (s)he might become aggressive). In the more desperate cases, they will be attempting to reassert their Ke$ha-esque nonchalance with alarming and endlessly destructive responses to freshers’ questions such as “nah, forget the dictionary, just use Babblefish mate!” or worse “no one gives a shite about those weak masculine nouns!” In all cases, the ex-BNOC will have changed their profile picture back to the one of them doing jelly shots off the college barman’s left pectoral. They are part of the furniture here, and they aren’t about to let you forget that.

Treatment: Listen to the ex-BNOC’s stories and clap along, having been sure to take a sedative beforehand. You might find that (s)he will want to teach you something; how to trick the vending machine out of that second Roundtrees Randoms, maybe, or how to get that word count down by adding letters in the spaces and then colouring them white. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing, and I bet you didn’t know how to do those things previously. This mode of exchange will be therapeutic for the ex-BNOC and endlessly instructive for you.

The Big-Reveal MML

Symptoms: The Big-Reveal will have deleted any online footprint of themselves at the end of second year. They will have then proceeded to hire a personal trainer named Mario, take regular sex tips from a particularly virile Russian ticket collector, change their name to René(e) and update all stationary to Moleskin.

Treatment: To deny the Big-Reveal his or her “Tada!” moment could prove fatal to the patient. Whilst you have no idea what the person entering through the fire-exit double doors in the pink Lycra and diamanté tiara looked like before, applaud as raucously as you can and, if financially viable, let that Diet Sprite crash to the floor in faux-surprise. In the weeks that follow, prescribe the Big-Reveal a “Be Yourself” narrative as told via low-budget English cinema. Start with Bend It Like Beckham and navigate through to Angus Thongs And Perfect Snogging. You don’t love the Big-Reveal purely because of those impeccable new buttocks, and (s)he needs to realise that.

The Big-Reveal is a bastion of self-worth

Off you go then. Take your 4th year MML for their various jabs, treat them for nits and reinstall them into society. You’ll have made someone very happy.