Everybody knows a sure-fire way to make friends and impress people (same thing, right? Am I missing something?) is to hang out with the most terrifying person you can find. Having scary friends mean you immediately gain street cred from your peers, while simultaneously implying to the general public that you’re totally hard. Even if the whole plan backfires and you end up spending three weeks trying to break up pub brawls and apologising to weeping TfL staff, you’ll still get shit-loads of attention and sympathy in the fall out. (I’m thinking Chris Brown and Rihanna. You dig?)
If, like me, you’re softer than a marshmallow rolled in icing sugar, and you constantly snort, giggle and blush when strangers look at you in the face, then you’re going to need to recruit a friend who’s willing to dress the part, rather than going out and finding the real deal. (Because that would be scary.) I recruited our intern Patrick, because he looks like the kinda guy who'd attack a traffic warden on your behalf. He’s also very friendly and incredibly beautiful and I wanted to spend an afternoon taking pictures of him.
That's him up there, under the sheet. If you haven't got ahead of yourself, when you scroll down you'll be surprised to see that I’ve dressed Patrick up in four different ways so that you can vote for which type makes him look the most fearsome. Perhaps try it out for yourself if you are as scared of life as I am. All you need is a willing friend to wear some clothes from Oxfam and a sullen expression, and you'll be vicariously putting the fear of God into people and basking in social heaven in no time.
Skinheads are scary, right? I mean in my experience they always just smile a lot and smoke loads of hash, but aren't they meant to really love chasing people down the street and kicking their heads in? Although the whole Dr Martens and bomber jacket thing is all a bit Urban Outfitters these days, I thought we might as well give it a whirl.
This was the outfit Patrick felt most comfortable in, so it was necessary to make him scale this fence in order to make him look less happy and calm. Unfortunately, bar This Is England, I've never really experienced violence at the hands of a skinhead. So although he looked super adorb in the get-up, I wasn't satisfied that he was filling his full freaky potential.
2. GIVENCHY COKE DEALER
Okay, I know what you're thinking, not scary. But can you imagine this coming towards you down a dark alley on a drunken stumble home one Friday night? Wake up you moron, this guy is wearing a huge fake chain, a woman's jumper, a sleeveless hoodie and cycling shorts; if he's not hard as fuck he'll be killed the second he steps out of Dalston Superstore on a Monday night.
It takes serious nerve to go out with so much leg showing, and I don't know about you, but generally I associate "nerve" with "the ability to make mashed potato out of haters". I apologise for the highly professional element to this shot, I can't help being an incredible photographer and I can't help that Patrick is BEAUTIFUL, OK?! Jesus.
3. MIDDLE-CLASS RUDEBOY
Another guy who's had to learn to either run for his life, or fight his way through all the Streatham kids who (kind of fairly) want to stab him outside his dad's Islington mansion, is the private school pikey. Although a middle-class rudeboy won't provide you with the optimum fear factor that a regular, South London gang member would, they're probably a hell of a lot easier to source and spend time with. He will also have a trust fund and great inherited bone structure, so if you decide to elope, he'll drop the act after a while and revert to being an Evisu-clad art dealer with a motorbike and one hell of a chip on his shoulder. Did someone say "husband material"?
It's like getting your dad a sex toy to use on your mum for Christmas: weird at first, but everyone's happy in the end.
4. A SMILING GOTH
To be honest you might as well forget everything you've just read, because really there's only one type of guy who knows what scary means, and that's the psychotic, smiling goth. Often lurking in dark passages off main roads at disturbing times of the day, like 8AM or 3.35PM, these are the type of person who live off cheese and onion own-brand crisps, and the dark twisted hatred of their parents.
As you can see, Patrick's lipstick is smeared all over his face, making it difficult to know where to look when approached by him. This immediate intimidation is followed hot on its heels by the unnatural sight of a shaved head in a suit jacket topped off with some particularly Boy George-esque jewellery. The best thing about smiling goths is that they're incredibly easy to find, just seek out a regular self-loathing goth and then tell him Sisters of Mercy have re-formed.
So, now it's crunch time: Who is the scariest? It's vitally important that you vote in the poll above. As an added bonus, one lucky winner could get to spend the day with Patrick dressed as whichever scary person wins the vote. If you feel like that'd be a productive way to spend your time, just say so in the comments below.
Follow Bertie on Twitter: @bertiebrandes