This may shock you, but I am in my mid-30s and am perfectly happy to be single.
And I refuse to whip myself up into a frenzy of hand-wringing just because I never seem to have a boyfriend, never mind a husband.
It’s true that, if I judged my whole life according to my search for love, I could make myself miserable. But just because I have so far failed to find Mr Right does not in any way make me a failure as a human being.
My 80-year-old grandmother is appalled by my attitude, and thinks I ought to be taking drastic steps towards settling down.
But I shouldn’t be valued solely for my ability to attract a man — I’m a successful journalist, a good friend and sister — and I’m not going to conform to some ‘desperate’ vision of how a single woman should behave.
Frankly, such stereotypes no longer match the reality. Single women are no longer outcasts, or even unusual; in Britain today, there are more of us than at any point in history, more and more of us in our 30s, 40s and beyond.
If you’re aged between 25 and 44, you’re also five times more likely to be living alone than you were back in 1973.
And yet the way we talk about single women has been slow to catch up.
The most familiar ‘singleton’ in fiction, for example, is still the hapless Bridget Jones — a character more than 20 years out of date, who popped up married and with a baby in the latest celluloid instalment of her story.
Fed up of being interrogated on your single status?
This one is for you…
Halfway through London Fashion Week, the Millennial and I fell out. Before this (hot as hell, confirmedly gay) roommate of mine moved in, I could sprawl about all day half-naked, eating mango chutney from the jar, obsessively writing and rewriting my own sentences. But it is such a sad little existence, he begs me to desist.
He’s also fed up with me on the matter of ZZ, the man I “refuse” to stop mentioning. I try to tell the boy that when a man finally arrives in your life and causes you to understand, once and for all, the meaning of Bonnie Tyler’s power ballads and the oeuvre of Bryan Adams, it might be impossible to forget. But the Millennial is much too young, and much too cool, for (Everything I Do) I Do It for You…
When you fall in love with another woman’s man, you curse fate and shake your fists and scream at the sky. If only you had met him first, you’d be living out At Last by Etta James. But you didn’t, so you’re trapped in a Sylvia Plath poem.
It was the strangest thing. It had never happened before. It has never happened since. The instant I fixed on his peculiar eyes I knew he was the greatest thing alive. I wanted to spend all my time just looking at him. I’ve known handsomer men. I’ve known cleverer men. But I was addicted to his jokes and his beautiful face.
Love is the drug. I was completely off my tits…
I will be reading two stories from Bad Romance – my collection of short stories which will be published by Unbound on Valentine’s Day 2018. Please come down for a sneak preview!
‘I’ll tell you how to be single at parties. I met a girl who told me on Saturday night…’
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