When I went to A Level college, I made my first posh friends. They attended the college as a form of protest, rebelling against their much grander public-school sixth forms. They spoke differently to the pupils at my comprehensive school, wore dark crushed velvet and thought Nietzsche was cliché.

They successfully taught me how to fix my tights with nail polish and failed to teach me the correct way to arrange my face to show utter distain, by not showing anything at all. It was fashionable to act like a ‘ladette’ at this time, so we often went to the pub for breakfast pints of cider before attending our first psychology class of the day. Just the one though – my posh friends took their classes seriously.

They were cool, worldly and never lost control. If they had boyfriends, they didn’t talk about them. They had other things to worry about, like feminism and cystitis and setting up a fake student-ID business that made us legally old enough for breakfast pints. I was grateful to be included and tried to share some of my comprehensive-school wisdom with them in return. They weren’t sure about some of the language I’d picked up – not that they were scornful, rather they found my strange combination of Swedish and Kentish slang hard to understand. For example, I never quite mastered the correct pronunciation of “are you alright?”, settling instead on a one-syllable, prolonged shriek of “YOOOAAAAAAAAAIIII??!” They did approve of my edgy makeup tips, however. Applying brown lipliner outside of your lips really does make them look fuller… from a distance.

Maria Smedstad bio Scan Magazine

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