Being single, particularly if you live all alone in a not so salubrious district of a disadvantaged city, can be scary. After all, noises from the communal hallway at three am might turn out to be a mad man wielding a sharp dagger and strangly hands – although, ninety nine times out of a hundred, they end up being the creaking of an old boiler, or your next door neighbour dropping a kebab. Still, it’s easy to think, especially when your chintz bed covers start morphing into evil night demons, that a big strong man might make you safer. Or at least give you a bulk to hide behind should the demons want to get physical.
As ever though, allowing yourself to think easy is the first step on the long road to misery. Because you are definitely not safer if you have a lover in your house. At least, not if you’re a heterosexual woman. Unusually, I don’t even have to resort to hyperbole to make my point here, it’s literally true: having a man in your life means you are more – rather than less – likely to be prematurely slaughtered. Which makes the twenty minutes you spent crying into your Ben and Jerry’s because that strong backed cad from All Bar One failed to reply to your text message a total waste of time. (Not that I’m judging babe, we’ve all been there).
On no account should any single lady who is aware of the realities of the world dream about silken wedding garments, or complain to her friends that she hasn’t had sex for nearly a year. We should be thanking the fat Lord that we’ve thus far managed to sidestep the ghastly finale that is life’s climax for many coupled females.
In the UK two women a week are killed by partners or ex partners. Globally, the statistics are even more depressing. According to the UN, in Guatemala two women are killed each day by an intimate partner; in South Africa the number jumps to six. Even in the US of A (home of Disney and Jennifer Aniston) one third of women who are murdered are killed by their lovers. In 2007 twenty two women a day were murdered in India over dowry.
Most women reading this will have had some brush or other with masculine-shaped danger. Whether that shape looked liked the looming shadow of a boyfriend-scorned or the grabby fingers of a stranger at midnight makes no difference. I just hope the experience did what it needed to do and made you very very angry. Angry enough to wear tiny leather skirts and white t-shirts with no bra and then shout at men for staring at you in the street. Angry enough to swear at those e-harmony ads. We should be angry enough to take up kitchen knife arms and point them in the direction of anyone asking, ‘are you single, still?’
But even if you can’t raise yourself to righteous anger, even if you can’t quite give up on romance despite the bleak reality of the human landscape – it’s still worth remembering that a man is never going to be capable of making you safer. Even if he’s really nice. I mean, he might beat you to death while sleep-walking. Or get jumpy, mistake you for a burglar and shoot you in the head through the bathroom door.
These things happen.
But not if you’re singl. Statistically speaking.