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Single survival

The post-breakup bachelor pad survival kit

So you’ve broken up, you’ve packed and unpacked boxes and now find yourself standing in the middle of your one-bedroom flat – or studio if you’re very unlucky – single, alone, solo. And solely responsible for the Council tax bill. You can survive this, of course. All you need to get through it are a few essentials that will make your time in your bachelor pad – or bachelorette pad, of course – bearable 1. White bed linen Not only will white sheets make your no doubt pokey bedroom look lighter and...
Bad dates

The Selfie

Imagine being the most selfish person in the world. Never letting people pass on a narrow pavement, never caring about anyone else’s feelings, never censoring what you say, just barging your way through life satisfying only yourself. I've often wondered what it would be like, but I'm not really a selfish person – it has been my downfall over the years. I've spent many lost hours wanting to claw my own eyes out in frustration at other people's self-centeredness, or waiting – endlessly waiting – for people who can't be...
Brief encounters

The Charm Offensive

I am 24 and at a friend’s flat. She is having a party. Well, I say party – the lounge is full of people, there are bottles of vodka and dubious mixers on the kitchen table and there is a queue for the toilet. It’s as close to a party as we’re going to get this evening. I am a different animal as a 24-year-old. I’ve yet to endure all the various, turbulent life experiences that will teach me to be kinder, more humble, accommodating, friendly – all that shit....
Bad dates

The Hold-Out

A restaurant. I hate going for food on a first date, but my date suggested it and so here I am. Leo is a student and 22 – that enchanted age where anything seems possible, but you’re still not old enough to realise none of it will ever happen. His pictures were, to put it bluntly, deceiving and he is not very good-looking at all, but I’m here now and we can at least have a nice dinner. I can tell he’s not a serial dater, as he’s picked Chinese –...
Dating 101

Know your dating enemies: The bicycle

When you have been on as many dates as I have, there are lots of things you dread. Spending three hours downwind of someone’s halitosis, hearing about their ex and wondering whether that a boil, a mole or worse on the end of their nose can all be terrifying events, but one thing that used to really make my heart sink on a date has two wheels and a seat just for one. You are Diana to its Camilla, and it’s got its eyes on your throne. What has the...
Bad dates

The Reluctant Mean Girl

Midweek. Another bar. Another pint with a stranger. I sit and wonder where I'll be in five hours. Will I be back in my flat ignoring the ironing or will I be tangled in Egyptian cotton and kisses with tonight's contestant?  You just never know. “And you wore pink!" I nod at his polo shirt, knowingly. “Perfect shirt for tonight!" My date tonight bristles with efficiency. He was on time, buying drinks and sitting opposite me with a rictus grin on his face, in his pristine baby pink polo, before...
Brief encounters

The Boy in the Apple Store

The Apple Store is a strange place. It does its very best to pretend it isn’t a shop. There are no tills ringing or sour-faced shopgirls stacking shelves with garish product or hurrying along pretending they’re too busy to help you, no groaning rails or higgledy-piggledy stacks of boxes. The Apple Store, especially the one in London's Covent Garden, is more of an ‘experience’. Smiling pretty boys in skinny jeans loiter at the doorway with eager smiles and eyes so wide they can only be the result of a recently...
Bad dates

The Pedal Pusher

There are some dates you feel you should go on, even if you really ought not to. Maybe it’s because somebody incredibly handsome has deigned to ask you out, or perhaps you are lonely, and your diary tells you this coming Friday is a blank space, its page a polar landscape. Whatever the reason, sometimes we say yes when we should be raising the drawbridge in an emphatic no. Johnny, 28, is such a no. But his square jaw and icy blue eyes draw me in, and he pets my...
Good dates

The Late Great

Stats: 26, 5’9”, brown/brown, Midlands Where: Brixton, SW2 Pre-date rating: 8/10 Punctuality is the politeness of kings, my grandmother always used to say, and while I’m not particularly regal, I do believe the least you can do on a date is get there on time. ‘Fashionably late’ is a flawed, dangerous concept. One man’s height of style is another’s fashion faux-pas. You mustn’t leave anything to chance. I have just arrived at the bar for tonight’s date with the latest inked entry in my increasingly pathetic social diary. All I...
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