Part 6: Reading

(Just in case you’re confused, I’m referring to reading as in as in the thing you do with books, not Reading, as in the commuter town in Berkshire). Okay, let’s begin:

Reading is a solitary activity. Look at you, you’re reading now! You’re all alone in your brain and you’re experiencing pleasure through your eye balls by decoding words from a screen! Only the truly boring want to do reading as a social activity (joining a ‘book club’ sounds like something that could only ever be fun if the books were abandoned, the crashing bores – otherwise known as ‘serious readers’ – were ejected, and it became an excuse for wild, depraved partying – with wine).

I’m going to go as far as to say that reading is the best solitary activity there is (and yes, I know about masturbation).

Reading has literally everything: you can read funny stuff online; or sad stories in heavy hardback books with tattered dust jackets. You can read poems that rhyme, and poems that don’t rhyme but still have a rhythm; comic strips; seminal tomes outlining seismic philosophical shifts in the way we understand the world (see Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time, or Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble); magazines that cost 65p and have articles about ladies who have fingernails growing inside cysts on their ovaries (see Take and Break or Pick Me Up).

Reading is such a good solo activity that it’s actually better than most stuff you can do with other people. I’ve never been to a party where I haven’t, at some point, day-dreamed about being at home, tucked up in bed with a hot milk, reading Irvine Welsh’s Porno for the ninth time (if you’re a bit dark and dirty, there’s moments in that that let you do reading and masturbation at the same time, hurrah!). I’d like to offer an apology to my friends for all the times that I’ve left parties and nightclubs early/locked myself in the toilet/guest bedroom to finish a novel (sorry everyone at New Year’s Eve, Clapham, 2009 – but Juliet, Naked was more riveting than your company). When Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix came out, I ignored everyone at the fabulous barbeque with the free booze at the rich Scottish boy’s daddy’s mansion. Avoiding the sun and all human contact, I sat in a shaded corner on a hard wooden chair for the entire afternoon, with my head between the pages of the book I had queued all morning to buy.

Celebrate! For being single means that you’ve now got LOADS of time for reading. You can make a little cocoon in your flat with blankets and poetry and novels. You can buy sandalwood scented tea lights from Wilkinson’s and light them. You can sit in your candle-lit cocoon and turn the softly textured pages of The World According to Garp, or stroke the screen of your kindle, with your fingers. You actually never have to go anywhere, or do anything ever again – apart from work, and occasionally visiting Waterstone’s/Wilkos, and calling your parents to let them know you haven’t died.

Of course, you can do reading when you’re in a couple. But it’s just not as good. When you’ve got a lover, at any point in the day, it’s possible that the lover might want to interrupt your reading mid-sentence. And because you can’t tell the person you love that the problem/proposition they are about to put to you is definitely going to be less important than this book/copy of Pick Me Up, you have to stop what you’re doing, and give him your attention.

Of course, if you’re committed to the concept of a relationship, I’m sure there are ways of making it work. But like everything that includes putting someone else’s needs before your own: it’s a faff. My most recent long term boyfriend and I came to a compromise that we called ‘Naked Reading’. The deal was this: he liked seeing me with no clothes on, and I liked staring at words in books in silence. If I would do reading wearing only my skin, he would sit and look and not interrupt me with questions about my fidelity. It didn’t really work. The reason he liked seeing me naked was because it…erm… aroused him. And when he was…aroused…he wanted to –er – ‘touch’ me. ‘ Touching’ me distracted me from reading. It was most unsatisfactory. No wonder it didn’t last.

Right now though, well – as soon as I stop typing these words and press ‘publish’ – I will pick a book from my book shelf. What rich choices it holds – but perhaps, for nostalgia, I will choose Roald Dahl’s The Witches. Yes, I will pluck The Witches from my book shelf and I will turn my phone onto silent and I will retire to my bedroom and I will read it all before I fall asleep. No one will interrupt. No-one will try to touch me and cajole me into having fatigued, obligatory, let’s-guess-who’s-going-to-fall-asleep-half-way-through, Monday night sex. It’ll be just me and the scary bit about the little girl who gets trapped in the painting and slowly disappears.

As a final word of warning, I will say this: if you are after having a fulfilling, well-rounded life, then you are going to have to put the books down/turn the computer off occasionally and talk to other people. But, happily, not for long. Morrisey (another committed singleton) puts it better than I ever could, ‘there’s more to life than books you know,’ he says, ‘but not much more.’

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Part 5: Fantasy Lives

The unbounded imagination, according to the French philosopher Paul Ricoeur, is a powerful tool that we must utilise properly in order to produce new realities. This means that we, the human species, gots to start thinking out of the box in order to improve the world.

I’m pleased to tell you, that from a Ricoeurian perspective, being in a relationship is very much thinking inside the box.

When you are part of a couple, you’re essentially using your imagination to play out a prototype that you’ve absorbed somewhere in the process of socialisation. Maybe you’re recreating your parent’s happy marriage, or trying the Johnny Cash and June Carter music, fame, drugs, friendship, heartbreak route to love (actually, that sounds a bit fun). Perhaps you’re living out a real-life horror version of the little Mo and Trev EastEnders’ storyline from the early 2000s (in which case, fast-forward to that episode where she smacked him over the head with an iron). This playing out of existing models of behaviour is an example of how Ricoeur’s ‘reproductive imagination’ operates. And he’s not too keen on its long-term potential. Basically he says, the copy (i.e.: your relationship) is always a shitter version of the original (i.e. June and Johnny’s rollercoaster romance). You will never be June and Johnny. You will probably die of a drugs overdose before the pretty, spunky, single mother realises that you’re the one. It is only when we imagine new things, rather than recreating prototypes, says Ricoeur – this is called ‘productive imagination’ – that we can change the world.

I agree with the man. Who wants to spend the infinitesimal amount of time we have on the Earth slopping about recreating social norms? Vive la revolution! Let’s do something else. And this is where you can trade your time most usefully: IN YOUR MIND… yes you can have hours of fun working with magical ideas that might alter the course of your life. With the added bonus that spending time in your mind costs nothing.

And thus I introduce Fantasy Lives. A game that’s fun to play when you run out of money, and all the social norms seem like they are hiding from you, laughing, while you sob into your pillow. Fantasy Lives is a fairly straightforward activity. In fact, it’s really just that thing where you imagine what would happen if you took on a new persona and moved away or got a new career, hobby or skill. Except with Fantasy Lives, you go a few steps further. Actually taking the initial action towards a change that might begin to turn you into the you of your imagination.

Let’s picture the scene. You’re at home on a Sunday afternoon, it is cold. It’s raining. The sound of the rain hitting the steel bars of the Juliet balcony – a reminder of the fact that you’re trapped in unglamorous northern English town, with no immediate means of escape. What to do?

First you need to engage in some idle daydreaming.

What could you be doing now that would be more glamorous? Well, you’ve always seen yourself as a kind of 16th century buxom wench with 21st-century styling. Oooh, yes! You could be serving beer to… James Gandolfini…on a beachside bar… in Mexico! Wearing a low cut top that reveals your cleavage. Smoking illegally imported Cuban cigars. Laughing throatily and spilling whiskey onto the exposed skin of your breasts. That sounds preferable. Now: can you make it into reality? The answer is yes, probably. And that’s the next step in creating a Fantasy Life. Start planning. Use the Internet to search for bar jobs in Mexico (look! There is a vacancy for a female bartender in San Miguel de Allende) and suitably low-cut tops (the ‘metallic body contour’ on ASOS is only £22!).

At some point in your fantasy planning you are likely to realise that there is a flaw in the plan. For example: there are no direct flights from Leeds Bradford to Guanajuato, and the cheapest one-way ticket costs £1057. You don’t have £1057. Your overdraft limit has been exceeded. You have a single pound coin on your bedroom floor, 28p in your purse, and about 35 euro left over from your Italian holiday last April. Fuck.

But there are more fantasies to be indulged. For example, what about setting up a business and buying a little pet to love? You could be a hard-nosed entrepreneur with a ferret called Sadie! You could make enough money to move back to London and buy a townhouse on the Kings Road! Ah, but you don’t have any ideas for a business. And you’re so bad with money that you frequently have to eat frozen soup at the end of the month because you pissed all your wages away on slightly different shades of red lipstick and OPI nail varnish. What about becoming a foster parent! You could read Adrian Mole to underprivileged pre-teens at bedtime.

The world is full of endless possibilities and one day researching your idle daydreams will pay off. Trust me, this is how I ended up packing in a well-paid job in London and studying council estate theatre in a dreary northern city, marking undergraduate papers to the sound of the rain. You too could be living the dream. It’s like R Kelly said: ‘if you can see it, then you can be it’. Enjoy.

Part 4: Housework (as in, not having to do any, unless you’ve got guests)

The original meaning of the word ‘slut’ according to my Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (Volume 2 N-Z) is ‘a woman of slovenly habits or appearance.’ I am a slut in the original sense and I don’t care who knows it. I will offer you an experience representative of my daily life, as proof of this fact. Yesterday, running late, I clambered into a taxi; scrambling over the seat to retrieve half the contents of my bag that had inexplicably appeared on the pavement by the car. As I settled down and mumbled some directions, the cab driver turned to look at me. ‘Late night partying was it?’ He asked. ‘No’ I said, ‘why? Do I look rough?’ His eyes scanned my face (on which I later discovered a tomato sauce stain and a half inch wide smudge of scarlet lipstick), and moved downwards, coming to rest on the crumpled pink silk shift I’d dug out of the laundry basket a few moments before. ‘Yeah’ he said, ‘you do.’

So now I want to convince you readers that you too, as strong, independent beings, freed from the fetters of other people’s bullshit, might also enjoy wanton sluttishness. An added bonus of embracing wanton sluttishness is that it allows you to imagine yourself as a buxom 16th Century east-end wench. But I’ll deal with Fantasy Lives in the next post, so I digress.

There is something wonderfully decadent about accepting one’s inner sloven. Oh! how spectacularly simple it is to spend all day in an unmade bed, in a threadbare dressing gown, moving only to forage for food and to dislodge the crumbs that have formed a crust at the base of the spine. How refined, to merely step out of one’s oppressive clothes at the end of the day; leaving a warm heap of perfumed satin on the bathroom floor to join yesterday’s discarded underwear. Indeed, arriving home from work, unpacking the shopping directly onto the kitchen sides – without putting any of it away – licking clean a spoon from the pile of mouldering crockery in the sink, and eating cold soup straight from the carton, is the sensual definition of bliss. These are life’s pleasures and they should be savoured.

The problem that can’t be avoided though, is that these are pleasures that are a little bit embarrassing to indulge of in front of anyone else. Once, many years before I realised the delights of solitude, my ex boyfriend found me naked at the foot of the bed. I was eating left over curry from one of those silver foil boxes with my hands. As you can imagine, his wryly delivered ‘what a catch’ was not expressed in a tone of voice that might have been interpreted as genuine. Social conventions, and evolutionary survival instincts, mean that other people are hard-wired to view our lack of hygiene, not as a mark of characterful debauchery, but as disgusting. Disgust is thought to be the evolutionary human response to sources likely to spread disease. Even if you got self esteem as high as mine, you won’t hold onto many mates if they start thinking that the disease spreading source is you.

In the days when I was forced – by emotional or financial need – to share space with others, I was trapped. Forever at the mercy of the fantasy household idyll of my living partner. What is it about organised tidy people that makes them so insufferable? ‘Can you pick that wet towel up off the floor, it’ll start to smell?’ ‘Why don’t you use the coat hooks instead of throwing your jacket on that chair?’ ‘The cockroaches will come back if you keep leaving half eaten sandwiches under the bed.’ Why is there a prima facie assumption that their preferred state of order and cleanliness is preferable to my preferred state of clutter and debris?

Living alone, as a single person, has been seriously good. I highly recommend that every adult human who can afford it spends a few years living in a place that is all their own. Imagine! Complete control of the time at which you put out the bins. No one to have a strop if you miss this week’s collection and have to spend next week with the fragrant tang of rotting vegetables attracting foxes. A bathroom from which the only pubes you will have to sweep up are your own! Carte blanche to leave the washing up in the sink until it grows mould. You can eat pizza off of an old copy of Take a Break and no one will mind.

But, what ever the size of the piece of the world that you are lucky enough to call your own, now is the time for rejoicing. When you are single it is much less likely that someone is going to turn up and share your bed uninvited, or call and give you five minutes notice of their pending arrival. You are not going to have to decide, for a long time, whether it is best to spend those five minutes hoovering and making the bed or scrubbing stains out of the toilet bowl. And if that’s not a reason to be single, I don’t know what is.

Part 3: Blow Jobs

So this one’s for the girls/gays (although I think the gays tend to be a bit more pro-blow, so my girlies, I’ll admit it – this is for you).

Now I’m not saying that just because you’re single you need to forsake your sex life. What I am saying is that now that you are single you can have the kind of sex life that is all about your pleasure. Because – let’s face it – if you’re in a relationship there comes a point (usually during the first few days of a heavy period), where he’s horny and sex is off the cards. Now of course, we’re all strong, modern, self assured grownups who don’t need to suck dick to get respect. Blah-de-blah. I geddit. But sometimes he does them big cow eyes at you and you love and him and you think: fuck it, it’s not always about my pleasure. And because we live in a post-modern, post-porn vortex of expectation – you get down to it.

I don’t believe anyone who says they enjoy giving head. In my experience women who say that are the same women who tell me they can’t orgasm the old fashioned way (missionary), and so I’m always suss about their capcity for pleasure.

See, I don’t care what you say about how seeing him getting turned on turns you on: you MUST be lying. Not only is giving a blow job plain unpleasant, but it is also well boring.I know it isn’t torture, and when you get into it it turns out it’s alright in the way that altruism is always alright: you get a warm love-bubble for doing something nice for someone else. But at least with a charity fun-run you also get to tighten your bum and extend your life expectancy.

So: to return to my central point. Giving a blow job is the most unenviable of partner duties and you should rejoice that such things are no longer expected of you. However, in case you need reminding of your luck, let’s think about exactly why the BJ is both unpleasant and boring. Well, it’s unpleasant because, how can I put this: you have someone’s genitals in your mouth and they might just have done a wee out of them! Also – you don’t know what’s under the foreskin until you’ve actually tasted it. Unless you’ve done some kind of pre-blow job touchy stuff and asked him to wash ( although, I suppose if he’s circumsized that isn’t really an issue – so tips for your next hot date: find a Jewish one). Unpleasant because ‘it’ sometimes goes too deep and makes you gag; and then when you kind of pull away he grabs your head and tries to shove it deeper.* Unpleasant because you have to make that decision about whether to ‘spit’ or ‘swallow’ or pull out before he ‘finishes’ (wow, sex talk seems to bring out all the inverted commas in me). Boring because after a bit, your jaw starts to properly ache and you have to break off and ask ‘are you gonna come in a minute?’ Which is probably counterproductive, but you have to say something when you’re this BORED and uncomfortable. I thought you guys were supposed to love a BJ – what’s with the taking more than five seconds to climax? THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE. I don’t want to kneel/lie there counting to three hundred and running the spit/swallow/pull out and have him sulk conundrum through my head. I want a standing ovation and then an uninterrupted night’s sleep with appreciative spooning.

So, unless they have a sex life modelled on a 1950s Catholic marriage – you can look at all your mates with dates and LAUGH. Because when they go home tonight, there’s a chance that their man will do the big horny cow eyes and they’ll feel obliged to say ‘yes’. And now, as you have chosen to be fabulously solitary instead of conventionally coupled, you don’t have to say yes to the cow eyes ever again. You don’t even need to look at the cow eyes. You can buy a big fat bar of Dairy Milk and eat it on the sofa, in your knickers, with and cup of tea and the heating up, watching Legally Blonde and pretending you’re a lawyer by doing a ‘legal definition of murder’ search on the internet. Congratulations!

*I once got given a tip though, by an experienced blow-jobber of the gay variety about how to avoid the ‘head shove’ and maintain ‘pleasure for him’. I was advised to use a move known as the ‘Corey Twist’. This is when you only put it (the penis) in your mouth half-way, but kind of gently twist the bottom at the same time as massage the top with your tongue. Apparently, guys go wild for it. I wouldn’t know – like I said, one of the advantages of being single is that you don’t have to bother with all that shiz.

Part 2: Anything Could Happen Tonight Nights

Of all the reasons to be single, this is, I think, my favourite one of all. And not for the reasons you’re thinking. No, no; I am not enamoured of the casual-sex-with-a-stranger finale to the Anything Could Happen Tonight Night. Too predictable, too blasé, too twenty first century cliché. I am an adventurer, a free spirit riding a sparking zephyr of chance.

So what is an Anything Could Happen Tonight Night? You know when you’ve got no plans and you’re a bit bored and you’ve only got £60 to last you the rest of the month? Well, I’d suggest that instead on sitting indoors with the heating off eating beans out of a tin, you use between £30 and £50 of that £60 to make the present more pleasant. Go out. Have experiences. Life is short.

I’m going to admit to you now that most of my Anything Could Happen Tonight Nights involve large amounts of indulgence in all or some of the following: food, alcohol, classified substances, good humour/aggressive disdain. They often start with a kind of writhing anticipation which (I’ll warn you now), bubbles either into wild and debauched partying, or peaks around the four-hour mark so that you end up asleep on a crate while your mates dance around you, or tucked up in bed with a hot milk and a good novel. However, they are always preferable to the alternative, Feeling Sorry for Yourself Tonight Nights, which you know, are just no good for our precious souls.

Below I outline some suggested  ingredients for the Anything Could Happen Tonight Night, should you wish to recreate your own:

Options

You need enough mates (I’d say three to twenty is about the ball park) who are likely to respond in the positive to the following text message:

Hey darl, I’m around this eve if you’ve got any suggestions for fun time? Love.xxx

With any luck you will garner a variety of responses, at least two of which will tickle your fancy. My advice: hold off on a decision for as long as possible. You need to feel your way…go with the flow etc. And after work on a Friday night you might not actually feel like cocktails in an underground bar, or a barbecue at your sister’s ex-girlfriends sister’s house. Then again: you might.

I also like to wait to be persuaded. If you’ve been as careful about selecting your friends as I advised in Part 1 – when they want to see you – they’ll want to see you, and will be demonstrative about this fact. I advise always attending the event to which you’ve been most enthusiastically invited. Even if it’s  kind of not really your thing. There’s no point in tagging along to an event you’ve been invited to as an after-thought: you are, after all, the centre of your own Universe.

Of course – always remember – respond in kind to similar messages you receive. Friendship works both ways (ignore the   MUTUAL part at your peril).

An Open Mind

“There’s this swingers thing that my Mum used to go to – do you want to come?” Is not a sentence I’d be likely to respond to positively (to be honest it’s not a request I’d be likely to hear, but my cab driver this morning told me he used to be a regular at swingers clubs and I’ve been thinking about them all day).  Nonetheless, as I point out above it’s good to have options. It’s also good to seriously consider them all, as you would items on a menu – before going with an old fave.

The other important thing about an open mind is that you have to keep it open. Don’t decide on the course of  the evening’s events before they’ve happened. Say yes to suggestions made by others.  This will mean that you might end up partying with the keyboard player from Savage Garden at Ronnie Scott’s – which means you have to say yes when that weird group of Scandinavian grandads suggest  you finish their sweet and sour crab in that restaurant in China town. Then again, you might just go for an Indian, get a cab home and paint your nails scarlet. As I said – open mind. Say yes. Go with flow.

An Instinct for Danger

There is no point going with the flow if it’s going to end up with a dog walker discovering your dismembered corpse in a ravine on an early morning walk. So – you know – if you have feeling that the girl with a mullet and crazy eyes that asks to sit with you while your mate is at the bar is a bit unhinged, she probably is. Just say no. Fear of appearing rude is the easiest way to get yourself into trouble.

Shoes that are both sensible and sexy

I’m not suggesting you over think your wardrobe. Jeans and a t-shirt with a faded turmeric stain on the front are perfectly acceptable attire for an ACHTN. The thing is though – shoes. They kind of say all that needs to be said about a person’s state of mind and preparedness for fun. My advice: if you can’t run in them, or walk without limping probably best to leave them at home. Then again, grey plimsolls that conjure a memory of childhood holidays with your Nan  at Cleethorpes are also best avoided.

So that’s it. It isn’t all about wild debauched partying, it’s just about opening yourself up to possibility that this night, tonight, every night has something to offer. But as I said – and I don’t know why – they tend to turn out better on a Friday.

Part 1: Friends

So then. I presume if you’ve wandered around the internet enough to locate this page, you’re probably in pretty dire need of convincing re: the fabulousness of your newly/worryingly extended/permanent single state (don’t worry, we’ve all been here – at my lowest point I spend the evening googling sperm donors). SO  – if I’m going to convince you that being single is actually the grown up equivalent of being given glue, glitter, a pair of scissors and a selection of coloured paper, then I’d better start with a good ‘in: FRIENDLINGS.

Of course, you’ll hopefully be familiar with ‘friends’ already – a quick glance at the  dictionary tells me that ‘friend’ is defined thus: “A person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.”  Yes. You will probably even have one of two of these lurking around already – so this makes Part 1 fairly straightforward. Call them, arrange a meeting. Revel in their company.

Friends are the best company possible, trust me. Okay, so there’s not going to be any sex, BUT – there is going to be a lot of stuff which is consistently better than sex – for example, my own friendships bring: hilarity, talking, listening, dancing, more  talking, support, unexpected post-cards, insightful advice, holidays in the sun, book loans, film recommendations, funny youtube links, text messages saying ‘Love YOU’ at midnight, and long, adventurous drinking sessions.  You might want to traipse along down path  of mutual affection and share some similar good times with your pals, or you might want to march to the beat of your own maracas and go to prayer meetings. Whatever. I promise that embracing your mates will make you proper glad you aren’t stuck indoors eating dinner on your lap in front of Eastenders while your partner checks the Daily Mail website on their i-phone.

What I must tell you though, is that now that you’re single, or now that you’ve decided to embrace being single, you are going to have to conduct your friendships with a greater degree of sophistication and ruthlessness than you’ve probably been doing thus far. For the time being, you have decided to shun mutual bonds of affection based on sexual relations – that means these a-sexual encounters will be the bread and butter of your emotional life. So, rule one for fulfilling friendships: have a cull – you need to immediately shed anyone who does not meet the following criteria:

a) when in his/her company you feel uplifted, interested, comfortable and uninhibited

b) when in his/her company you like yourself a bit more than when you’re on your own or with non-friends

c) you are happy to spend time alone with him/her, or time with him/her in a group

d) you do not resent the part anyone else plays in his/her life

Adhering to the above rules will ensure that you do not waste valuable hours of your life moping around with a Debbie Downer, or mooning after someone who is only going to exacerbate any lingering feelings of inadequacy you have re: being part of the dinner-for-one club.

I’d also suggest that you try to widen your friendship circle to include at least one of the following:

The Cheerful Optimist

Always smiling, up for a laugh and ready to put a positive spin on the day, the cheerful optimist will not indulge your penchant for self pity. They don’t want to talk about the economy, or listen to your drunken, maudlin regrets over past mistakes – they want to talk about celebrities/gossip about mutual acquaintances, tell you how wonderful life is and go out, party and meet people. They will never make you feel bad about the time you got drunk and tried to snog their brother at that Christmas party. And they make the best cocktails.

 The Thinker

In recognition of the fact that no-one, least of all you, is up for a 24/7 party, and that sometimes you want to talk to someone about the fact you feel really sad for no reason, it’s always good to have a thinker in your friendship bank. They will feel sad often, and will buoy you with tales of their own woe. They like to speak long into the night and always have something deep, insightful and penetrative to say about your first world problems. They are not so good at a party, but are surprisingly tactile and sometimes they will quote Nietzsche and you will feel absolved.

The Artist

You gots to have a creative friend who can take you to galleries/theatres/disused warehouses. Artists will open your mind to the wonders of the material universe. Seriously – these people know the most vibey places to hang out and are usually pretty flighty so you can tag along to random events at a moment’s notice and not feel like you’re intruding.

The Potential Love Interest

You both kind of like each other, but not enough. You are friends really – but there could be something.  Is that a spark you feel or are you just lonely and undersexed? I’m not gonna lie – every now and then, single people feel lonely and they want some affection. Not too much. Not like, a relationship, but a conversation where there is darting eye contact, and awkward touches, and once or twice – but only if there’s a serious drought and you are morally/emotionally equipped for such dalliances – sex. The potential love interest is where your mind can wander when it’s late and it’s bed time and you’ve drunk that bottle of wine in front of The Cube and you just want to talk to someone. They’re always pleased to hear from you, even when you start the conversation by slurring on about how Philip Schofield’s hair went grey so quickly and totally in that short period between Going Live and This Morning.  And the best thing is, when and if either of you do pair off, there’s no hard feelings – cos you know, you liked each other, but not enough.

Now, the final bit of advice I’ve got if you want to make the most of friendships as a single person is this: find some friends who are also single. If you don’t have any, then you need to get on facebook, twitter/go through your address book/text all your mobile phone contacts and find some single people. Set up a date, embrace the wonder of the lone adult with whom you do not want to procreate. Yes, yes, you should nurture the  friendships you have with your coupled up mates, but trust me – if you want to drink margaritas ‘til three am, flirt with hot, but inappropriately attired tourists and then crash at somebody’s house, your single friends are rarely going to be amenable.  They’ve already got a partner in crime, and they like to be in bed by half ten. Also – people in couples tend to cancel plans more often than singletons. I know they mean well, but they’ve more excuses (children, cats, parents-in-law, financial commitments), and  they’ve a single object of desire waiting at home. This means they have kind of forgotten the sparkling glitter sprinkle of a million scattered friendships, and are therefore more likely to decide they fancy staying at home tonight actually, it’s been a long week at work. Conversely, you will find that your single, reliable friends are far more likely to look forward to your meetings with the same kind fervoured anticipation that you do. They will be up for ‘anything can happen tonight’ nights. Which are the best sort of nights. Especially on a Friday.