I started my blog five years ago today.
It was hot outside – though not as hot as today – and I was sitting in my tiny, muggy top-floor flat, baking gently on Gas Mark Bored. I was probably wearing just my underwear, which would be a terrifying proposition now, but back then I was 34 and ran every day and hardly ever ate because I had forgotten how to cook for one.
I don’t know for sure, but, if I know me then, there will have been washing up in the sink.
I was feeling sad and a little bit lonely and like everything was possible and yet nothing was.
I remember a thing on Twitter a while ago where people would tweet about what they’d say to their 16-year-old selves. I wouldn’t say anything; 16-year-old me would not be interested in anything anyone my age had to say, but also, any words of encouragement I would have for this awkward teenager would feel false. I’d be too much of a coward to tell him how hard things were going to be, and that being himself probably wasn’t an option for quite a while. How to explain to someone enduring the 1990s in Yorkshire that things would one day be really great, but for a long time they’d be awful? He’d give up, he’d never try. He wouldn’t believe.
So instead of time-travelling to my badly decorated wankpit of my teenage years, I’d instead transport myself to 2010, the day I started the blog. Continue reading The Fifth
Some are scared to be by themselves, while others revel in solitude. And most of us nestle somewhere in between. Give us a roomful of people and we’ll crave a padded cell, yet watch us walk into an empty room and cry for company like a puppy spending its first night away from its mother.
I am moving in with my boyfriend next month. It will be the first time in five years I have had to live with anybody. I knew this time would come eventually – that day of reckoning when my arrivals back at home, pissed, clutching a McDonald’s and staggering into the furniture would have to end. Or at least happen only when he’s away.
When I first started to live on my own, I was in a state of shock, I think. On the first night, a friend who’d helped me move stayed with me, but as I closed the door on her the next day, I sat on the sofa for a while, listening to the wailing sirens and unfamiliar voices from the streets below – streets I didn’t know at all – and wondered what I would do with all this space. All this freedom. All that time. I had never felt so free. I had never felt so sad.
I was coming out an eight-year relationship when I moved house and my fragile state shows in unpacked boxes I have had to look in for the first time in five years. Books I must have known I would never read, old notepads filled with “just popped out” or “I love you” messages between me and my ex and, amid the valentines, birthday cards from dead relatives and pictures my little sister used to send me, an old Greggs bag.
I wondered what had been in it to warrant its preservation. And then I remembered, it was the first thing I ate after the last box had moved in. My first pasty as a single man, a bachelor. Alone. Not realising its significance years later, I must have shoved the wrapper atop the nearest box and thought nothing more of it. Continue reading How to live alone
It’s the noise every singleton dreads in the summer – that gentle thud on the doormat. Yes, it’s a wedding invitation with your name on it.
Even if you’re given the opportunity to take a +1 with you, flying solo at a wedding can be a harrowing experience. And at least one of these things – at least – is totally guaranteed to happen to any single person at a wedding.
1. You are seated next to another single person.
This person is boring.
2. You may even be lucky enough to be at an entire table of single people.
The bride and groom had a little chuckle about this as they did the seating plan, but they’ll be laughing on the other side of their faces once you’re all drunk and heckling the speeches.
3. You are warned not to catch the bouquet.
“It’d be a waste,” they say. “You haven’t even met anyone yet.”
4. One half of every couple thinks you’re out to steal their man.
5. The other half of that couple wishes you would steal their man.
6. A married man confesses he’s always fancied you.
You’re the third person he’s said it to, so don’t get excited. Continue reading 27 things that happen to single people at weddings
When you’re single, it is very easy to blame smug couples for all your ills. But, here’s a newsflash, you can be just as irritating.
And every once in a while, couples are dragged out of their loved-up reverie by their single friends who are, almost without exception, an absolute nightmare.
1. Arrive to every social engagement hungover.
Whether you’re making a beautiful lunch for all your friends, meeting for a few drinks for your birthday, or getting married, your single friend will arrive either drunk or woefully hungover. This is because they can.
They have no partner to tell them they’ll feel rough in the morning and nobody to give them the silent treatment if they ignore that advice. Before they’re even halfway through their starter, they will push their plate away and signal the waiter to bring them another martini and every couple around the table will dream of lacing it with arsenic.
2. Ask if you have any friends to hook them up with.
“Surely you must know some nice, single, hot men for me?”
3. Then get offended when you try to hook them up with somebody.
“God, I’m not that desperate. Don’t you think I can do a little better than that?!” Frankly, no.
4. Moan “I just want to meet someone” yet reject perfectly acceptable people for ridiculous reasons.
“I didn’t like his hair.”
“You should have seen the way he twisted the noodles round his fork.”
“She pronounces ‘bath’ like ‘hearth’ – it’d never last.”
Christ. Continue reading 17 things single people do that make couples want to kill them
You’re in a half-empty pub.
Perhaps you’re waiting for a date, but more likely you are idling away the hours alone with some much-needed human company before going back to the stark solitude of the dungeon walls which hold up the roof on your supposed bachelor pad.
Suddenly, you feel a tingle. Someone in your vicinity is being romantic, you can feel it. Maybe you’ve heard the gentle, sickening slurp of a kiss or caught a glimpse of interlocking fingers out of the corner of your eye.
Whatever it is, you look up and see them, or it, if you think of them as a singular unit. They certainly do. They are your enemy, your nemesis – the beast that mocks your single status just by being. Yes, at the next table, you can see, in their natural state of togetherness, a couple.
They’re looking at a menu, you notice. They’re both doing exaggerated gestures as they slide their fingers up and down its offerings, making half-hearted suggestions and scrunching up their faces in mock disgust at the dishes they don’t like. One half of the couple, possibly the smuggest of the pair, will utter the standard line that comes in every Berlitz ‘Teach Yourself To Speak Couple’ phrasebook: “No, I don’t mind if you get the same as me. Go on, you like it. Honestly. You have it. Maybe I can get something else”. Continue reading Say no to couple envy
Aside from the mindless shagging, off-the-peg hedonism and thrilling Uber rides to the clap clinic, being single can be something of a trial. Sure, you can do what the hell you like, when you like, but sometimes you long for the touch of another, for someone to care that you’ve left the fridge open, the thrill of orgasming with someone else in the room.
And as if all that wasn’t enough, you’ve got dickhead couples pulling this kind of crap all around you, reminding you how unloved, lonely and insignificant you are:
1. Share puddings.
“Two spoons, please” is a knife in the throat of any self-respecting singleton. And food-sharing is really unsexy. Especially if it’s a recently defrosted cheesecake in a Harvester.
2. Hold hands everywhere.
No, seriously, you’re in my way. I have to be somewhere. You may want to spend your days ambling dreamily hand-in-hand, but, guys, you’re in the middle of a really busy Tesco Express and I’m trying to reach the tenderstem.
3. Argue in Ikea.
The most boring, cliché, coupletastic thing any gruesome twosome can do. Even worse is boasting about getting round the entire store without arguing. Well done you. It’s a shop, not the north face of the Eiger. Continue reading 17 things couples do that make single people want to kill them
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 larger, glistening brilliant-white sheets are a singleton staple.
They’re your studio for all those #hungover selfies or Grindr/Tinder profile shots you’ll be snapping when you’re feeling super-desperate, plus when you bring someone back to your flat for an awkward fumbling, white sheets reassure them that the bed has a good chance of being semi-clean, as they need to be changed pretty regularly.
Patterned duvets – especially ‘achingly lonely single man’-style geometric shapes on a dark background – simply scream “this man is a stranger to Persil”, as they can hide a multitude of sins. If you’re quite slovenly, just cover your questionable whites with a nice throw. Continue reading The post-breakup bachelor pad survival kit