I've been single for so long I've actually become some kind of born again virgin/nun type person. It's been that long that I can't even remember what it's like to wake up in a bed with someone next to me. Or have to call someone to tell them what time I'll be home.
I can no longer quite fathom what's great about being linked to one person all the time. And not being able to move without being asked where you're going or what you're doing or when you'll be home or what shall we eat for dinner...
God. Supermarket trips with your other half. Is there anything more deadly fucking boring than working out what you want to eat for dinner for the next week? And ending up fighting about it. The mere thought of it brings on my commitment phobia.
I didn't used to be like this. I was in a relationship for most of my 20s. I lived with a man and everything. Slept in the same bed. Ate the same food. Did the shopping together. All of that stuff. He was - well, still is - 6 ft four, so he's all arms and legs. How did we ever sleep in the same bed? How? I have a double bed now all to myself and there is no room for anyone else, apart from Fatman. No room at all. What with my iPad, sometimes my laptop, my Kindle and the four or five books I have on the go, my two duvets, my comfort blanket (yeah, don't judge me) and my heated beanbag things, how the hell would I fit a bloke in there? And, more to the point, why would I want to?
I used to feel like a relationship was necessary to my life, that I was only half a viable thing without one. I felt left out of all the engagement parties, weddings and general normalcy of most of my friends. I felt sure that there must be something very very wrong with me to not have that, and to have had both my proper relationships end in cheating and horribleness.
But over the last few years, an appreciation for my freedom has crept up on me. For instance, I haven't shaved my legs for about three months now. I know, right? And I don't care. It's not a big deal because I seem to only grow baby hair anyway, but the point is, I haven't groomed myself in the way that you do when there's someone who's going to be wanting to stroke you, fiddle with you, poke you or sex you up at any given moment.
And sex on tap is brilliant. For the first few months of breathless, can't get enough of it passion. And then it becomes something else. In my past experience, and this is definitely to do with the quality of the relationship itself, it became a chore and a performance. Something to do to impress or to placate. Shudder.
Also, the bikini waxes. Seriously. My last ex very much preferred the hairless look (which I have to wonder about - am assuming it's something to do with an over saturation of porn rather than a predilection for pre-pubescence. Well let's hope so) and I basically lived to try and please him so every month I'd hie myself down to the beauty salon and spend £35 (yes, you read that right) for some Thai lady to make me wear paper knickers, crouch on all fours and endure her ripping out every hair I have 'down there', just because my boyfriend liked it better.
In fact, when we first started getting intimate, he expressed utter incredulity that I didn't have it like that all the time. That I had merely trimmed it. As if that was somehow disgusting. Now I don't want to go on a massive feminist rant here, and it's important to remember that he was a controlling, emotionally abusive mofo, so it's not like his opinion is the norm, but how the fuck does it disgust a man that a woman has pubic hair? I mean, really? Shouldn't it disgust them more if she doesn't? Because that would mean she hasn't actually reached puberty yet... and... well...
So that's sleeping on my own and only dealing with my hair on my body when I want to. Those are two pretty massive yays for being single. What else? Oh. Reading for eight hours straight. Just because I want to. And not going out on a Friday to the pub because otherwise I'm boring. Maybe I am boring. The important thing to remember is I don't give a fuck. If you measure your life by which rathole bar you're pissing your money away in of a Friday night then fair fucks to you. But it's not my bag anymore. I mean, I don't have anything against pubs per se. And I like going to them every now and again. It's just the pressure I've been under when in relationships to do stuff I don't want to do.
"We have to go out, it's FRIDAY"
"What are you? 12?"
"You're so boring."
"For fuck's sake."
I mean I know I am boring. Utterly boring. My favourite thing to do these days is sit in near silence and write and read. I fully understand why that's boring to some people, particularly to the kind of boyfriend who wants to be entertained all the time. But that's my point I guess. Having the freedom to do the things I want to do without feeling guilty is another yay for being single.
Also, having toast for dinner. Followed by pineapple chunks. Eaten out of the tin. Not having to give a shit about what's for dinner tonight. I have an unholy fear of having to plan meals. I don't even know why. It just seems so so so so dull. Like planning to go to the garden centre of a weekend. Or doing the 'weekly shop' on the same night at the same place. Arrrrrgh. The thought of it. It makes me think of the 1980s. And Sunday afternoons. And the cloying sameness of growing up.
There is such a lot of pressure for women to not be single. To catch a man. To get married and to have kids. We pretend that pressure isn't there because it's 2013 and everything. But it is. You can sense it in your friends, as they begin to get married and have kids. You begin to fit in even less. And then you're not invited to stuff anymore. Presumably because never being able to bring a plus one makes it all a bit awkward.
And there's such a lot of negativity about being single in itself. Like all single women cry into their cat every night and lament all the men they wish they could have. But actually, it's not like that. It's not like that at all. Being a single, properly independent woman is good. It's freedom. And it definitely cuts down on the cash spaffed on waxing treatments...