Maddy Sanderson for Varsity

Picture this: it’s 5.21pm on a Sunday and I’m bolting like a maniac across the bridge on the King’s backs, my sweat thankfully but a few drops amongst the torrential rain that soaks, along with the feeling of impending doom, slowly down my back. I’m beginning to wonder whether agreeing to go on a blind date is really the most productive thing I could be doing on the lord’s day of rest. But this isn’t just any blind date: it's with one of the most prolific - and, depending on just how many times you’ve been accosted on King’s Parade, controversial - A-list Tiktok-ers in Cambridge. This is a Varsity blind date with OshuClips, the kind of hard-hitting student journalism you’ve been waiting for.

We begin to delve deeper into each others’ lives, bonding over shared stories and the candlelight

I arrive on the scene and feel a pang of guilt as I am accosted by the sight of Oshu in his signature backwards cap, gently marinating in the rain running off the roof of Benets where our two lonely hearts have agreed to meet. But I needn’t fear - judging by his dedication to the grindset, Oshu is for all weathers, and having generously paid for my mulled wine and a tap water for himself (his body is a temple, mine more an old shed rotting at the back of the garden), he is happy to lead me upstairs to the sky lounge (a.k.a. the Benets upstairs window seat). I wonder if this is how it feels to be a celebrity girlfriend, or at the very least, some sort of mid-tier premier league WAG. But, before I can be taken too aback by the passion that threatens to engulf us, the conversation begins to flow.

Strangely, our first topic of conversation is not which songs we have been listening to. Rather, Oshu, derived from Joshua, reveals to me after much persuasion the Santa Claus costume stashed in his work bag that has presumably been gracing the catwalk that is the streets of Cambridge. I make a mental note to stay tuned for the upcoming Christmas special.

Maddy Sanderson for Varsity

Despite his evident connections, the clock strikes six and the Benets staff kindly tell us that it’s time for us to go, so we head towards Parker's Piece. Up until now I had assumed that the grand external appearance of what I soon discover houses the University Arms Hotel was some sort of austere, official government building. Never did I think I’d be inside its hallowed halls, nor had I ever envisioned myself sipping coffee across from Oshuclips in the Parker’s Tavern cocktail lounge inside. One bathroom break deep and I soon realise that this is a place far above my breeding. Oshu knows the staff here too - it appears he knows just about everyone - and sitting opposite me, we begin to delve deeper into each others’ lives, bonding over shared stories and the candlelight. I soon remember that I am now the one on company time, and get to work getting to know the man behind the TikTok.

He warns me that he could turn the charm on and off at will

Here are a few fun facts about Oshuclips. He’s lived in Cambridge all his life. He doesn’t like cats, but he’s working on himself to change that. He drives a Volkswagen. He loves his mum. He’s worked at Tesco, where he won an award for his duties to customer service - although he warns me that he could turn the charm on and off at will. He doesn’t really drink (I begin to regret the instinctive mulled wine order), but if pushed, his drink of choice is Malibu and Coke. His favourite establishment in Cambridge is Wilfreds, the sweet shop on King’s Parade, whose manager he is also good friends with. Like me, and I presume most of the local area, the opening of the new Taco Bell has had disastrous ramifications for his gut health (I ask him if he has tried the ‘Volcano’ burrito, he shivers, I understand). I ask him about his friend and King’s Parade accomplice, the barefoot man, and why he chooses to remain barefoot, but am told this “is a story that has to come from him”. I wonder hopefully if this means I can wrangle a blind date with said barefoot man and hear this legend for myself. I ask him what the goal is when he films videos erring on more sensitive topics, such as preferred pronouns, body image and body count. He says that he regrets when the conversation turns sour and battles ensue in the comments. I muse if sometimes controversy may be good for his algorithm, and believe he already knows this.

Maddy Sanderson for Varsity

Then, something disconcerting begins to happen. Oshuclips begins to delve deeper into the ‘fun’ facts of my life. I fear that he may switch back into content mode and a flash of fear creeps through me at the prospect of being probed on my own preferred pronouns, body image and body count. It’s not quite that. He asks me if I’ve ever been in a long-term relationship, or, heaven forbid, situationship. I fire the question back at him. We both skirt around the answer. He asks if I ever want to get married. I answer no - although, come back in five years when he and barefoot man are Tiktok multi-millionaires, and I might just change my tune. He asks what the one piece of advice I’d give a stranger is. I rattle off some bullshit about self-reliance because I’m obviously such a #lonewolf #sigma. I ask him what his is, and he replies “talk to everyone”. I guess it’s been working out okay for him.

Then, here comes the big one. Oshu asks the one question you must never, ever confront an English student with. He asks me what I want to do once I finish university. A silence ensues. I resist the instinctive urge to surrender the image of myself as terminally unemployed and living off tinned food in my parents’ basement for the rest of my miserable existence and mutter something about journalism or the media (because those pay oh so well). I realise I have been calling him ‘Oshu’, and not Josh, to his face for the entire blind date, and hastily apologise. 

The hours fly by as the date begins drawing to a close. At home I have another hot and steamy fling ready and waiting for me - my second year dissertation - and Oshu needs to rest his legs before he once again begins the city circuit in the morning. Having taken our obligatory selfie (love you, editors xoxo) on my blurry, greased-up front camera earlier in the night, we finish our drinks and say our sweet goodbyes. Although parting is such sweet sorrow, there’s no confirmation of a second date. Can a snapback/surfer shirt/microphone-wielding boy and a Sidgwick site bandana/skinny scarf/Doc Martens girl fall in love? Who knows, but one thing’s for sure - the next time I’m running post-breakdown on the streets of central Cambridge, I’ll think of the brief time we spent together, and dodge the cameras knowing where they came from.