Cosmopolitan would have us believe that being single is one long, sassy roller coaster ride of disastrous dates, tumbling into bed with dishy strangers and hilarious escapades to be cackled at over raunchily titled cocktails with the girls.
It isn’t. I couldn’t be less sassy right now if I tried. My legs look like two stollens dipped in cat hair. My duvet is 40% cotton, 60% crumbs. I can’t tell where my chins end and my neck begins.
In the last 15 months of singledom, I have gone from being hopeful that I will find The One to accepting that I will probably have to leave my life savings to an animal charity. I joke about dying alone purely so other people will reassure me that I won’t die alone. That is how disgusting I have become.
Okay, so I’m only 25 and being absolutely ridiculous. But it doesn’t help that everyone on the planet (Facebook) seems to be having babies or getting married. One by one, my single friends are being picked off. I imagine this is how people felt during the Black Death.
Following the demise of my only, very long, relationship, I have been flung back onto the dating scene and to be quite frank, I don’t have a clue what I’m doing. The last time I had to worry about getting a boyfriend, I was 17 and all I had to do was write him a rap (see below).
Now with Tinder and Bumble and eHarmony and Nando’s and banter and Netflix and chill, it’s all a bit overwhelming. How does one go about procuring one of these elusive boyfriend things? Does it need feeding and watering and stuff?
“But you’re funny and you’ve got a cool job and you don’t look like something that has crawled out of a swamp,” everyone (my mum) tells me constantly. Well, a fat lot of good that is doing me. Aside from a couple of Tinder dates, I have been perpetually alone, unwanted, undesirable, like a Revel left to languish eternally under a cinema seat.
Being a very awkward, anxious person probably doesn’t help. I can write, but I will openly admit that talking to me can be like trying to squeeze the last remnants of toothpaste out of the tube – with my input in date conversations going something like this:
MOUTH: Hmm yeah maybe.
BRAIN: Is it my turn to start talking? Have I just butted in? Does he think I’m rude? Is he going to tell other people I’m rude? What if that person then tells a future employer? What if I am then blacklisted from all companies in the United Kingdom? Will I have to go on benefits? Does he want to leave? Am I looking him in the eyes enough? Am I looking too much? Does he think I have something wrong with me? Do I have something wrong with me? Are we getting starters?
It’s weird, because as a journalist, I speak to people every day. But I don’t need the people I interview to like me – I need them to trust me. So I don’t get nervous. Dating, on the other hand, is another slippery kettle of fish.
Plus even if someone does fancy me, I never, ever, pick up on it. Like the time a guy asked if I wanted to go back to his to watch a DVD and I said yes because he said he had Confessions of a Shopaholic, and then he took all his clothes off and I didn’t have a clue what was going on and had to leave abruptly. Or when a guy insisted on buying me a drink as he had ‘spilled’ his on me, and I argued until I was blue in the face that it wasn’t necessary because he had barely got anything on me and I was wearing black so it would be fine on a 40°C wash.
Even if I do cotton on, I instantly assume that it is some kind of cruel practical joke, and Ashton Kutcher is going to jump out with a camera crew and scream “Gotcha!” in my face.
I think what this reveals, apart from my crippling self-esteem and need to get a grip, is that perhaps I’m not ready to get into another relationship. So, for now, maybe being an awkward little weirdo is the best thing for me.
In the meantime, if you are interested in dating a slightly neurotic 25-year-old journalist, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.