Tag Archives: singledom

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 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

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7 things to ask yourself before you contact the person you kissed at midnight at New Year

What is it about those magic bells as December turns into January that make us desperate to lock lips with someone?

Despite having a perfectly acceptable time all night flying solo, the impending “clanging chimes of doom” (thanks Band Aid) of New Year suddenly make us feel more alone than ever. And most years, if your significant other isn’t already a) a thing that exists and b) somewhere nearby trying to pee into a beer can to save having to go to the loo, you end up reaching out to someone for a New Year snog.

But is this the start of something beautiful or merely a germ-swapping exercise to make sure you get most of January off work thanks to snog-flu?

Before you start tapping out your “So…? How’s it going?” text, run through this very quick checklist. Continue reading 7 things to ask yourself before you contact the person you kissed at midnight at New Year

Awkward! Three situations guaranteed to give you that ‘morning after’ cringe

We’ve all been there. You wake up, slightly disoriented, amid bed linen which feels unfamiliar. Strange sounds emanate from a mass not too far from you. As you open each eye slowly, cursing them for the amount of time they’re taking to adjust to the light, you realise you’ve done it again – you’re back at theirs, for the first time. It’s the morning after the night before.

You may have no regrets at all at the dawn after a night of passion, and the person lying next to you may be the one you’ve been dreaming of, but even if it’s a one-nighter, there’s still plenty of opportunity for mortification. Behold a mere 3 things you’d really want to avoid the morning after.

Messy flat
As if waking up in a strange place wasn’t bad enough, having to contend with your date’s dubious household hygiene standards can take awkwardness to a whole new level. On the nightstand, a flat glass of Diet Coke, empty food wrappers of brands you didn’t think they still made any more, and enough dust bunnies to make a life-sized model of the tornado from the Wizard of Oz.

You creep through to the bathroom only to find there must have been some industrial accident: a shower curtain in shades of green and orange never seen in nature; the remnants of what appears to have been a cat’s Jacuzzi party in the bath plughole and a toilet bowl that, were it sentient, would bring its owners to trial as war criminals.

Tip: If you’re having someone back, have a whizz round with a cloth and a bin bag. If you’re the one confronted by the mess, make sure you’re wearing rubber gloves if you plan on seeing them again.

Lack of a quick exit
If there’s one thing you want after a one-nighter (or the first of many nights), it’s the ability to beat a hasty retreat. Awkwardly dressing while they watch? Getting discovered creeping out? Opening the bedroom door to find a houseful of roommates eating breakfast and staring at you like you just fell from the sky. If you can (and are sober enough or not engrossed in ‘the moment’), pay attention to the way you get into the place, as you’re sure as hell going to want to be exiting as painlessly as possible, at twice the speed.

Tip: If confronted by stunned flatmates or, even worse, a rogue parent or sibling, pretend to be a workman who has been doing essential, erm, overnight repairs. This may mean you to have to dress in overalls for every date you go on, just in case.

Regret
We know that you’re ultra desirable and no end of bright young things would be desperate to wake up with you, but sometimes, well, you can’t guarantee that the guy at the next pillow is going to be glad to find you there.

Yes, coming face to face with someone who last night was all over you but this morning clearly preferred you with a few pints behind you. Or maybe he was caught up in the moment and now that moment has definitely come to an end.

You can usually tell if the night before won’t be turning into a happily ever after. Talking in clipped sentences; no offer of a cuppa; getting up and walking out of the room, only to come back into it showered and dressed; saying how “tired” they are and telling you the best bus routes to take home. Like they care.

Styling it out can be difficult, but just shrug and get on with it. Pull on your socks, locate your shoes and breezily say your goodbyes as you open the bedroom door, no need for whys and wherefores and number-swapping. Oh, you’ve walked into a cupboard. Never mind. Try again. Another cupboard. Crap. What did I tell you about ensuring you had a clear exit? Don’t look at him, just open the next door and walk forward. It has to be this one, right?

Tip: Hang your underwear (a sock will do – you’re not a stripper) on the handle of the door that gets you out of the bedroom so you know where to look. Make sure you hang it on the inside, too – you don’t want the rest of the household knowing your SHAME.

Coming soon: The perils of ‘waking up second’.

Say no to the misery of matchmaking

Imagine at what distant depth of ebb you’d have to be to ask a friend to set you up with someone. To be plundering your friends’ friends for potential dates, like Google with a stiffy, you must have truly run out of options. People may scoff at online dating or even picking someone up in a bar, but to cast your incestuous net only as far as the puddle next door shows a lack of pluck and imagination.

Agreeing or volunteering to set mates up with each other is the worst idea you’re likely to have, save for those orange slacks you thought would look good on you in the ‘90s. Whether your forlorn singleton friend has had their eye on a particular someone within your social circle or is just throwing out a speculative “Surely you must know some hot, single guys for me?” there’s seldom a pot of gold at the end of the matchmaking rainbow. Well, for you, at least.

It’s a common misconception that people you know, or your friends know, will like each other.
“Well, I like my friend and my friend likes me,” you may ponder, as you stir your Starbucks and idly stare out of the window at the crotches of a series of passers-by, “so it would follow that they would like my friend too, so that’s one thing they have in common straight away!” This rather inconveniently ignores the fact that we are all about a million different people from one social situation to the next – what one friend likes about you may be the very thing that makes another back away from you in horror. So, matchmaking. No. Here’s why:

As its instigator, you’ll get to hear every mind-numbing detail of the courtship
We all love a little bit of gossip, true, but hearing relationship details is only really fun when you know just one half of the couple. It can all get very personal. Intimate, even. If you want to know what your friends are like in bed, why get it second-hand from whoever’s banging them right now? Just fuck them yourself.

You’ll start to like one of them less
There are two sides to every story and, as the piggy in the middle, you’ll get to hear them both: imagine Fox News blaring into one ear, while BBC Radio 4 chirrups in the other. What a thought. It’s inevitable there’ll be discrepancies; we are all unreliable witnesses at the best of times.

Eventually, your loyalties will skew toward one more than the other. It’s impossible to predict what will finally sway you – maybe you too can’t stand wet towels left on the bedroom floor or you discover your friend wipes their earwax on the bedside table. Whatever it is, you’ll never look at your friend in the same way again. That’s a shame, isn’t it?

You’ll get the blame when it all goes wrong
Relationships are beautiful at the beginning as they blossom. Like a proud curator, you will watch as your charges – who you brought together, don’t forget – enjoy the trappings of love and romance.

The rot of acrimony is never far away, of course – it suckles at the teat of devotion and waits for the right moment to strike. Once it does bite the nipple which feeds it, its victims will be looking for someone to blame, and as soon as they’ve stopped screaming at each other, they’ll turn their attention to you. How could you even suggest they got together in the first place? You knew what he was like! Why didn’t you warn me?

Your friends will start to hate you
Matchmakers get a reputation. I would say a ‘bad rep’, but I abhor the term and, frankly, you have brought it all upon yourself. Matchmakers are like the über-busybody, with a strain of OCD that sees them want to tidy people up into pairs, as if being single was the worst thing that could happen to anybody. Every time you drag a single friend along to an event, any other single friends you have will suddenly have the urge to stand anywhere other than near you, in fear that they too will fall victim to your hopeless, catastrophic matchmaking.

So resist. They may beg, they may plead, but setting up your mates will lead only to heartache and a lot of awkward texting. Let your pals live alone, unloved – your conscience will be clear.

Why supermarkets make the singleton sad

The strangest things bring a tear to your eye when you’re single. You can sit through a weepie romcom with barely a flicker, connecting emotionally as you would to watching a lawn getting mowed, and the death of an elderly relative can bring a temporary heavy heart yes, but the real tearjerkers aren’t the huge sad moments or highly emotional events. No, it’s the little things that get you. Like supermarkets. Supermarkets make me sad.

Unless you’re unlucky to be partnered up with a congenitally lazy retail-avoider, the weekly shop is a team event. You do it together, from opening and closing endless cupboards to check stock levels, composing (and arguing over) the shopping list and trundling around the aisles with a trolley to lugging it home and unpacking, cursing at whatever you left behind amid the piles of carrier bags at the checkout. While wrestling with the grocery shop could hardly be called a fun activity, and as romantic as cleaning the toilet, it’s a shared experience all the same, with mutual benefit. It leads to cooking together, sampling a glass of wine and saying “Ooh, that was nice – we’ll buy that again”. It’s a bicycle built very much for two.

Venturing into the supermarket alone, unless it’s by choice and your only escape from a noisy family or irritating other half, is a joyless experience, reduced to a shadow of its former self. It is a grey, tasteless necessity rather than a gateway to an exciting feast. “Well, I suppose I’ve got to eat,” you’ll murmur yourself as you plod, zombified, from aisle to aisle with your basket slamming against your knee. And it’s always a basket, there’s no fun in a trolley any more. You’d never be able to fill it, and there’s nobody else there to take a turn in pushing it when you need a break or want to stroll off and squeeze some tomatoes.

Almost everything sold in the supermarket is aimed at an audience of two or more. Your hand hovers over the English muffins, packed in sixes. You’ll never eat six, not before they go stale. The only way you could get through six muffins before the mould hits is by having them for every meal for the next two days. You’re not eating as much as you used to these days, you see; you can’t afford the extra ballast and tucking into a huge meal alone feels like gluttony, an expression of sadness. And so it goes on, multipack after multipack; nothing is sold in quantities which wouldn’t very easily feed both an army and a wedding in one sitting. Your only respite is the odd individual pack or tin – soup, perhaps, or a ready meal. It will make it clear that it’s for those who don’t have any potential sharers to hand. “FOR ONE” it will scream on the packaging. Out of principle, you refuse to buy it, unwilling to be marketed at like you’re a hermit. Vegetables, prone as they are to rot as soon as you get them home, become strangers to you. You can’t bear the sight of those shrivelled leeks and unloved, slimy mushrooms glaring at you from the bottom of the fridge in memoriam at another meal for two you’ll never eat again.

But if a sting is yet to come to your eyes, look around instead at your fellow shoppers. Duos abound. Hands are held, smiles exchanged and light bickering takes place over whether to buy shop-brand soft cheese or Philadelphia (go for the latter; the former is never the same). Their trollies heave with all manner of goodies for the week ahead, yet a lone can of Baxter’s rolls around your plastic pannier. Your solitude takes over you, wearing you like a cheap scarf. You make your way to the checkout, your eyes glassy and your cheeks tingling as your throat constricts. Packing your carrier bag – no point in bringing a ‘bag for life’ for your few pathetic comestibles – you resolve to make a proper list next time, get some ingredients and make a big meal, and freeze some of them. A supermarket is no place to be lonely.

But before you leave, run back to the aisles and look and listen carefully. Squeeze by a couple’s trolley and notice one of them turn to appraise you. Then see their partner notice the distraction. The bickering turns from light to heavy in a matter of moments, but the argument isn’t yours, you can carry on unabated to the next aisle. Look again, then, at the contented tummies of the dynamic duos, the trollies filled to the brim with crap that they’ll shovel into their mouths and the booze they drink to bleach out the monotony of another night fighting over the remote control. So only soup awaits you for dinner. Your freedom is worth all the puddings in the world.

Oh the supermarket can bring on the tears all right, but they shouldn’t be yours. Dry your eyes. There are better ways to find an unexpected item in your bagging area.