I have now reached that unenviable age. Youth is just about behind me, I am on the cusp of a career that might never take off and I can only watch as all around my mates and their ‘partners’ morph from carefree fun-lovin’ nightclub companions into bonafide adults – using the template favoured by my own parents and many of their tedious friends (beard, betrothal, baby). This is obviously very distressing for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that I am now forced to find some extra thousand pounds or so in my annual budget in order that I can attend the weddings which have become the sole focus of my social calendar. I have to say, I’m looking forward to my thirties – if only for the inevitability of a divorce wave that might lend some much needed variety to my social landscape (I’m a friend much better equipped to deal with the recently betrayed than with the recently betrothed. Ask anyone, my particular brand of fabulous is precisely dark enough for crises).
Still, I can just about deal with weddings and engagements because these are festivities that demand the consumption of alcohol – which, happily, takes the edge off the compulsion I have to smash my own face with a heavy glass thing whenever one is announced. There is, unhappily, no such alcohol based respite from the tedium bound to ensue when a partnered friend purchases a house – until, of course, the housewarming party at which you can take revenge for the months of wearisome reports on the offer, acceptance, disclosure, chain, exchange, remodel by decorating their bathroom floor with regurgitated Chianti.
Home ownership is, I’ve no doubt, well overrated. When I was at university an Ancient Languages student I used to drink gin and tonic with on a Thursday night put me right off the idea of ever applying for a mortgage when he told me the word was derived from the Ancient Greek meaning ‘obligation until death’ (although, as he dropped out of his degree at the end of the second year, due to an ongoing abuse of class A substances that turned out to be incompatible with the study of historic hieroglyphs, I cannot vouch for the accuracy of this translation). I’m having enough trouble committing to another year in Leeds – the thought that I might be stopped from engaging in whimsical changes of postcode in order to pay astronomical portions of my wages to the bank until such a time as my yet unborn children reach maturity is entirely unattractive. As is the thought of spending my savings on such things as: roof repairs, re-tiling, buildings insurance, plumbing (God, even typing those words is boring, imagine having to read them on an invoice).
Being blessed with considerable foresight, I realise that, despite the benefits of rental, chucking half my wages into someone else’s pocket on a monthly basis might one day seem excessive. Particularly if I ever move back to London, where Boris Johnson’s staunch refusal to bring in rent control means the average monthly cost of renting is 120% of my current monthly wage. I just hope I have the good sense to stay single once home ownership becomes a necessary evil. I feel less wearied when single friends purchase properties – it just seems, somehow, more like freedom. Also, it’s easier to be pleased for single people because they are usually less smug about house purchases on social media forums. And the very least you should do when undertaking an obligation until death is make sure that your friends are pleased for you. It takes the edge off, in the absence of alcohol. I don’t know why.