Why I’m just not edgy enough to be a Leeds University student
Georgie is a second year Philosophy student / Raspberry Mojito enthusiast. When she’s not thinking or drinking, you’re likely to find her experimenting with new recipes or stalking Caitlin Moran on Twitter. She likes bargain hunting and trips to the seaside, and despite her best efforts to be cool, has become resigned to the fact that her life bears a striking resemblance to that of Bridget Jones.
With its reputation for outstanding education and picturesque campus it’s no wonder that the University of Leeds’s prospectus doesn’t have the pages spare to mention who, rather than what, you can expect on campus. It’s hard to pinpoint who the ‘average’ Leeds Uni student is, since this is a concept everyone here seems to be actively fighting against, but one thing most people will agree on is that Leeds has a nation-wide reputation for being ‘edgy’.
If you’ve met me, however, you’ll be aware that I am perhaps the least edgy person in the world. So far from edgy you might almost describe me as ‘central’ and the intriguing world of the cool student that I observe on a daily basis is something I’ve come to realise I will never be a part of. I’m pretty sure I just about break all the membership rules of this prestigious club.
1) I really like rubbish films
I like films with semi-decent story lines, good looking leading actors and a cheesy soundtrack. I know every word to Mamma Mia (not just the songs) and I watch Love Actually when it’s not even Christmas. However, I was utterly unaware until I came to Leeds that this is a very uncool approach to cinema (not films, cinema). Unless it’s witty, thought provoking or subtitled, it’s unlikely to appear on the ‘Recently Watched’ section of a Leeds Student’s Netflix. I know this, of course, from the experience of having to smile politely at the plethora of movie references made in conversations around campus that I just don’t get. I’ve stopped trying to make sense of them since my disastrous attempt at asking if Breakfast Club is “that one with Audrey Hepburn,” a smile and a nod are the approach from now on. I’ve also learnt that it’s cool if edgy people watch rubbish films because when they do, they do so ironically. I’m not sure how you watch a film ironically but I’m quite certain it’s a talent I don’t possess.
2) I have never felt excited about the concept of sushi
If someone came up to me and tried to feed me raw fish there’s a strong chance I’d report it as harassment. But for the average Leeds student it’s completely acceptable to actually pay for this service and, rumour has it, enjoy it. I’ve tried to like sushi but it simply doesn’t work for me. Those little seaweed wrapped bundles all taste exactly the same to me; on their own – fishy, when doused in soy sauce – salty.
I see no pleasure in eating a meal guaranteed to leave me hungry half an hour later that sets be back ten quid while doing so (at least you get a free pair of chopsticks I guess). I’m not even all that convinced that the edgy ones among us like it that much. I’ve seen you, grabbing the chicken version when you think no one’s looking, spending half your meal time trying to get the perfect Instagram photo rather than actually eating.
As a side note, I also think it’s possible to eat a healthy meal without telling everyone I know about it, which I’m convinced is against the club rules too. Even the opportunity to use #cleaneating on a photo doesn’t tempt me, I’d rather wash a steak and call that clean than pretend to enjoy cabbage wrapped rice. Soz guys.
3) I don’t think that Dr Martens go with everything
Call me old fashioned but I strongly believe that boots are for winter and sandals are for summer. While the summers of Leeds leave much to be desired (i.e. the sun), I still cannot come to terms with wearing knee length lace ups with a floral frock.
This might come from my underlying belief that an outfit should actually match, another concept deeply disputed in Leeds. As nice as Dr Martens are, I feel that most students see them as a way of life rather than simply as footwear. As soon as the summer months draw in I find myself increasingly intrigued about how sweaty my fellow students’ feet must be in such constricted conditions.
Maybe where I’m going wrong is that all a person’s edginess is actually stored in their feet, and I’ve been letting mine drain away from years of wearing flip flops. Or perhaps I just don’t get it.
4) My hair does not look good when left to its own devices
This may stem from jealousy of people who can roll out of bed 20 minutes before their lecture and look semi-decent, but my hair has never looked good when it attempts to be natural.
While some can strut around campus with their unbrushed, windswept-even-though-there’s-no-wind barnet and look like they’ve just bounced straight off the cover of NME, I tend to look more reminiscent of something from the cover of Wildlife Weekly.
I’ve convinced myself that I don’t have the edgy-gene it takes to pull off such a look, or any other associated with the cool kids. It takes me 20 minutes of effort to perfect the ‘effortless’ ponytail and even then, with my hair off my face, I bear a striking resemblance to Mr Bean. I’m not exactly worming my way in to the edgy club here, am I?
5) I’d rather spend a week on a beach than in a muddy festival field
I’ve done the festival thing. I bought floral clothes covered in tassels and flowers for my hair, and I relished every second of looking like a member of the cast of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. However, the mud, rain, tent, overpriced food, barbaric toilets, sleepless nights, god-awful hangovers and a week of back pain from sleeping on the ground and having to carry my life in a backpack made my festival experience one that I do not want to repeat any time soon. The music was good and I especially enjoyed the 3 out of 300 bands that I’d actually heard of but, for the price of a week away somewhere sunny, I know where my money will be going in future. While the whole experience did give me a newfound awareness of how lucky I am to have access to running water and a cosy bed, it only made me feel cold and certainly not cool. If it’s a choice between being edgy and getting a tan, I’ll chose to take my passport any day.
I do have a lot of respect for people who can pull off their edginess; those who wear it so effortlessly, not as a badge of honour but simply as who they are. I will, however, ask them to be a little more mindful of those of us who aren’t part of their club. When your Pulp Fiction reference goes over my head, when I have no idea who that hairy guy on your t-shirt is and when I confess that no, I’ve never heard of the band I’m pretty sure you’ve made up, please don’t smirk. Just remember, you’d look just as flummoxed if I asked you to name every member of One Direction.