What being single is like when you are really, really awkward

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.

Tinder

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).

Dan Dating Rap

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.

No one new

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 charlottebrazierblog@hotmail.com.

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The day had finally arrived. The day that Julia was going to tell her husband that she was an alien.

Some might say this was quite a big secret to keep from one’s spouse – on par perhaps with an unannulled marriage, or undisclosed links to organised crime. But some did not know what it was like to be a Gleekon from Jupiter living in disguise in a three-up two-down on the outskirts of Chorley.

Plus technically she was only half alien – her father having relinquished the throne of Clajanka to abscond with a human back in 1979. Her alien heritage, if anything, was merely exotic – like an Italian accent or a rogue red hair gene.

Julia had imagined telling her husband the truth on many an occasion. He’d chuckle, shaking his head in disbelief. “Oh, you,” he’d say, prodding her stomach. Then they’d laugh, put a load of washing on, take the chicken nuggets out of the oven and coo over the drawings their son had scribbled at nursery.

You see, Alfie was nearly three now and the signs of his alien ancestry were beginning to show. The blue skin that had thankfully skipped a generation for her had blighted him with a vengeance. She’d been fake-tanning him for two years, hiding the St. Tropez bottles in a gap under the bedroom floorboards.

But people had begun to get suspicious. Doctors, specialists, Hell even a medium had tried to diagnose the biscuit-y scent, but she had cold-facedly lied. Now there was talk of skin grafts. She had to say something – not just to save her own skin, but that of her son.

“Mark?” Julia coughed as she entered the front room. Mark was sat on the couch with his back to her, his curly brown hair poking over the couch.

“I have something to tell you.”

He didn’t reply, engrossed in the cooking programme on TV.

“Mark, there’s no easy way to say this. You know you and Alfie mean the world to me. I’d do anything for you. We’ve been through so much. And I love our life, our home.” Her breath caught in her throat. “But I’ve been keeping something from you.”

Julia stepped closer to Mark, stroking his hair softly. “Mark, I’m an alien.”

Overwhelmed by the silence, she continued. “I know you’ll need time to think this over. If you need a few days, if you need to stay with your parents, I’ll understand. Mark, please, talk to me.”

She grabbed Mark’s shoulder to spin him around, gasping in shock.

It wasn’t Mark at all, but a load of Waitrose bags with a wig on top.

THE END

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Jessica was sat next to the window on her Cross Country train to Wolverhampton.

She was on the way to meet Josh, her kind-of-but-not-really-because-he-wouldn’t-acknowledge-her-Facebook-relationship-request boyfriend, who she’d met on Tinder a couple of months earlier. It was a cold, thankless journey and with only 7% phone battery left, she was relieved when the train finally shuddered to a halt.

As she jostled her way off the train and through the crowds, a curious sight unfolded before her.

A little boy, perhaps three or four years old, was being pulled along the platform by his father. With one hand clutching his father’s and the other trailing along a grubby toy rabbit, the boy was chattering excitedly. Just as they reached the stairs, his tiny fingers lost grip of the rabbit and it fell to the ground.

Her heart thudding, Jessica had a sudden realisation. This was it. This was her chance to shine. This was the moment her whole life had been leading to.

Everything around her seemed to slow down. She was in a tunnel of clarity, surrounded by a sea of grey, shapeless faces, and she, and only she, could emerge victorious.

Striding towards the rabbit, she called out to the boy. “Excuse me, you dropped this,” she said, as she scooped the toy into her hands and extended it towards him.

“Tha…” he lisped, but Jessica heard him not, as she had whipped out her phone and was logging into Facebook.

Just chased after a little boy who’d dropped his toy rabbit on the train platform. The look of joy on his face when I gave it him back gives me hope #ItsTheLittleThingsInLife she typed.

Her mind whizzed with sums. By her calculations, this good deed would garner at least 57 likes, maybe even a couple of shares. After that, who knew. Her mate Tasha had told a girl she had toilet paper stuck to her shoe in the toilets in BaBas, and she’d gone viral. She’d appeared on ITV’s This Morning with Phil and Holly, released a fragrance and had been awarded an honorary degree from the University of Strathclyde.

But, as with everything in life, there was a catch. It had been decreed that if a good deed was not posted on social media within one minute, time would erase the deed – as if it had never happened.

A bell chimed three times, symbolising that Jessica had 10 seconds left to post her good deed on Facebook before it was reversed.

‘God,’ she trembled, her brow beading with sweat. ‘Smiley face emoji or no smiley face emoji?’

5…4…3…2…

Jessica’s phone died.

“No!” She screamed, falling to her knees.

In the distance, a child’s cries echoed in the night.

THE END

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It was Adam and Georgia’s first date. They’d chosen a cosy little Italian in the exclusive district of Kensington, London. They’d cracked a joke about oysters, Adam had done his spiel about being different to all the other guys, Georgia had made it clear that she wasn’t the kind of girl that slept with men on the first date but had trimmed down below just in case, they’d shared a slightly cold garlic baguette. Now it was time to get down to the nitty-gritty.

“Can we have the bill, please?” Adam asked the waiter, leaning back confidently in his chair.

Georgia smiled coquettishly, fingers stroking the flute of her wine glass. “I’ve had a great time, thank you.”

Their eyes met briefly over the flickering candlelight.

The waiter appeared between them both, coughing politely. “The bill.” He cleared a space between them, clutching the paper in his slender, tanned hands.

Adam and Georgia both paused momentarily.

The waiter nodded knowingly. He’d seen this scene play out more times than he could count.

Placing the bill flat against the table with his right hand, he felt under the table with his left – hesitating when he felt the lever. With one firm twist of his fingers, he yanked the lever down.

The table creaked and shuddered before the centre rose majestically to reveal a glass case of weapons.

Probably should have mentioned this earlier, but it is now the year 3067. Men and women fight to the death for the bill, for their honour, for the love of their countrymen.

As trumpets sounded and diners pushed their chairs back in anticipation, Adam and Georgia lunged forward and grabbed their respective weapons. Adam went for a sword, whilst Georgia rather twistedly selected a flail.

After a gruesome seven-hour battle it was pronounced a draw and they coughed up £46.80 each, including a tip.

Adam and Georgia now live in Surrey with their four children and a Labrador Border Collie cross named Oscar. They laugh about their first date now. Oh, how they laugh.

THE END

 

 

 

10 realities of buying makeup

I have enough makeup to host a West End production of Les Misérables. Expensive stuff, cheap stuff, stuff I got free in a magazine, stuff so old it should probably be carbon dated and displayed in the Natural History Museum. Do I understand what to do with any of it? Absolutely not. But I enjoy buying it, carefully organising it into categories and then admiring it as it sits there untouched, virginal, for months on end because I barely have time to put my knickers on before fleeing to work in the morning, let alone strobe, bake and highlight my face.

That being said, buying makeup can be an emotionally draining affair. Thus I have compiled a list of ten harsh realities of a cosmetics spree:

1) Shop assistants who sneer at you in disgust because you don’t know how to contour your eyelashes.

2) The fact that I don’t know how to contour my eyelashes.

3) The inescapable feeling that you don’t belong and are being judged for your shit eyeliner as you peruse the Bobbi Brown section at House of Fraser. Collection 2000 always had your back.

4) Losing the will to live whilst trying to fathom the difference between inexplicably titled foundation shades like ‘Iridescent Porcelain VII’, ‘Boom Boom White Girl’ and ‘Unicorn Smile’, knowing full well they will all just be ‘Orange’ once you go outside in the sun.

5) Going mental like Augustus Gloop in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory and cramming your basket full of goodies you neither want nor need because they’re on the 3-for-2 offer at Boots and therefore essentially free. MOLE PRIMER? HOW HAVE I LIVED WITHOUT THIS?! RED MASCARA? COME AT ME, BRO! Then getting to the till and having to pay £867 because you are too ashamed to put stuff back.

6) Watching people apply lipstick testers to their ACTUAL LIPS and not being able to slap it out of their hands and tell them how disgusting they are without being arrested.

7) When makeup has makeup on the outside of the makeup.

8) Being concerned that you can’t justify paying £53 for an eyeshadow palette in weird dead people colours because some beauty guru you stalk on Instagram says it’s super-wicked and now everyone has one and it comes up on your Facebook feed as a suggested post and you don’t understand how Facebook knows and you can’t escape the palette it’s everywhere the palette will never leave the palette is haunting you the palette is now on your face.

9) Being torn between not actually wanting a third item for the 3-for-2 offer at Boots and knowing the third item is free and wanting your money’s worth, and therefore panic-choosing something and being bitterly disappointed with your decision for the rest of your natural life. Damn you, Revlon bronzer circa 2003.

10) Purposely buying something that looks absolutely sensational on friends/bloggers/random strangers in the post office and thinking you’ve found the magical elixir that will bring all the boys to the yard but it just looks like a bag of crap when you apply it to your own face.