Walking one hundred miles alone

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My days are now spent creating a mould in the sofa with my butt, rummaging in the fridge believing it will automatically refill itself when my back is turned and watching mind numbing movies that have me dribbling over my week old pyjamas. Yes, I am back with the parents. It has its good points of course, which mainly boils down to my mother trying to feed me and my father serving me home-made wine with a questionable percentage. But I digress.

Today I spent some time trying to lose myself in cyber space and found an article in an online newspaper. Well it wasn’t so much an article but an agony aunt page where some poor soul had written in, in desperation. The painful situation was caused by being single for 9 years. As soon as I saw the headline I was compelled to read. The woman went into detail about her life over the last 9 years and how terribly lonely it has been. She also wrote of how she is terrified that she may spend the next nine years alone, which didn’t bear thinking about. I scrolled down, anticipating the agony aunts soothing words of encouragement but was quite surprised when what was served was just a cold dish of ‘reality check’. The agony aunts words were, I expect, a big smack in the face for the girl seeking some much-needed encouragement. Of course the agony aunt shared her sympathy, but it was in small doses compared with the tough love she brought, practically wagging her cyber finger in the girls face with accusations of being completely self-absorbed. I waited for the ‘there’s someone for everyone’ rubbish that people throw out there when they have no idea what to tell you but there was none of that. Respect, but if I was on the receiving end of that letter I would be seriously hurling myself under the bed covers in a bid to hibernate for the rest of my living days, or at least until I was hungry.

In any case, the words of the 32-year-old woman scratched at my own single status. I understood where she was coming from but also from the point of view of the agony aunt who was basically giving this woman and every woman who is wallowing in single self-pity, a good shaking. It also had me thinking, why should being single be so terribly pitiful. In fact, although there are twinges of loneliness here and there, there are plenty of reasons why I am basking in the glow of single life and here’s why;

I don’t have to compromise shit.
No longer is there someone who I need to answer too. Someone I have to run my plans past. What a breath of fresh air it is that I no longer have the wrong partner guilt tripping me into staying in or planning my daily life to suit them. Of course not all relationships have such an unbalanced sense of power but it is nice that the only one that I have to clarify my plans with is myself.

Holidays are cheap and cheerful
No longer is my purse empty from the hundreds of pounds I would throw at my partner in the name of love. Personally, I just couldn’t stop spending. Wanting to declare my love I would rummage for the right gifts to fill the Christmas sack to the point of overflow. Valentines day would be a blur of sweet poems and whatever outfit he was after at the time. Birthdays would be trips away, home-made food and baked birthday cakes. Candles lit, I would be practically perfect, sitting there handing present after present, more excited that they were. Needless to say I have saved lots of money by being single. Money that I will selfishly put towards travelling solo to exotic locations.

The drunken devil
Now I know it’s not just me who has earth-shaking arguments with a partner when drunk. I have read that a ‘drunk man speaks a sober mans mind’, which in my case is right on the money. I see it every time I hit the town for a night of much-needed dance therapy, couples airing their grievances in public, choosing this time to throw some slurred insults and bring up issues that had been festering for far too long. This is a part that I really, REALLY do not miss. Those nights at 1am where I would be tripping over the pavement, hair sticking to my forehead from another night dancing on the club floor. Him at my side screeching some accusation which would provoke me into joining him in a drunken, public war. I can see our faces now, twisted into something grotesque, the smell of alcohol dripping from every pore. That leads me to;

The accusations
Love can make you go nuts, but it is also a time when your intuition rears its wonderful head. Being in a relationship is a breeding ground for uncertainty. It is also a time when trust is really put to the test. There are some fabulous relationships that really are a good example of what a relationship should look like…Unfortunately I can’t think of any but I’m sure (more like I hope) they exist. If there is anything I can say is that sometimes when you think you are going crazy and you are having these niggling doubts, don’t ignore them. Your intuition is probably begging you to wake up and smell the bullshit. Being single is like a breath of fresh air compared to the mind-boggling battle field of trust. When your single, there are no drunken rows, brewing insecurity and subtle insidious lies. It’s just plain sailing, all the way to the meals for one.

You get some much-needed alone time
Now is your time to work on your hopes and dreams. With no one there to influence your decisions you are free to do as you please. Sometimes a partner can feel threatened when you’re passionately involved in something that doesn’t involve them, whether that be knitting, writing or pursuing that evening class. They feel like they are losing you and this can be a terrifying concept. Being single means that the only person who can possible hold you back is yourself. Your time to run with that business idea has never been better. You can devote all your time to that special project as there is no one there to subconsciously or consciously hold you back.

You’re free to check out the talent
Yes, now’s the time to ogle that hottie as they walk past, give someone your number and fill you spare time with dates, even if its not in the view of finding that ‘special someone’. Yes, sometimes these dates are questionable and leave something of a bad taste in your mouth but they are great for helping you realise what you don’t want in a partner. You also get to meet some great people who may not be right for romance but could offer opportunities that will enable you to reach your personal goals. You don’t have to stick with the first one that comes along. There are 7 billion people out there and just because your single doesn’t mean you have to veg out on the sofa gathering dust.

Yes, being single has its perks I can assure you. You can watch what you like, eat whatever you fancy, flirt outrageously, bath for over an hour in peace, wear questionable pyjamas, burp and fart without offending your partner, read shockingly embarrassing books under the covers, miss out on expensive hallmark holidays (valentines) and live like a slob if you choose. A friend of my mothers said to her (about me) “Its great that she travelling now but as she gets older, she is going to need someone by her side”. Maybe, but I tell you what, I would rather walk a one hundred miles alone than with an asshole by my side.

Next time, travel with boyfriend

This is what I was told by the hotel manager. Obviously the staring and random foreign comments thrown at me were not all in my head. I did believe for a moment that I was being rather sensitive, with my previous post blowing off steam. As it stands, actually I’m seen as just weird.

Being-alone-sucks
Welcome to the world of the single female traveller. Not all places of course but here in Ha Long bay I am seen as something of a rare species. With thoughts of writing, reading and relaxing before beginning my teaching career I thought what better way to spend it than on the coast of Vietnam. Maybe I was just a little bit naïve and failing to really check out the weather forecast – believing anything is better than the weather in the UK, I have found myself wrapped up in a scarf and woolly hat, eyes squinting through the fog.

So after a conversation with the manager of the hotel which involved me being sheepishly embarrassed of my single status, I have decided to do myself a favour and head south for warmth and sangria. I don’t take what the manager said to heart, as when I look back on holidays when I did have a partner, all I can remember are tears, arguments and silent treatment.

Holiday with boyfriend number 1

It was my 18th birthday and my first time on a plane. Me and my boyfriend touched down in Cyprus for a week of dinning, dancing and having plenty of…….cocktails. My excitement and enthusiasm was immediately popped like a balloon when ‘C’ didn’t want to do anything. In fact we barely left the hotel as he was terrified of the locals. Instead we were in bed by eight. This lasted a week and involved multiple arguments and sheer boredom, which lead to more arguments for something to do. Arriving back in the UK we broke up in the car on the way home from the airport (only to get back together and repeat the same shit for another 3 years).

Holiday with boyfriend number 2

Exciting stuff, with a whole campervan to take us through Europe. I painted the inside a ghastly yellow, and hung up flower power curtains. He put up shelves in what would be our new home for the next 6 weeks and off we went. The campervan, the cities, the mountains, the lakes, the beaches, the history, the architecture were all incredibly. Apart from him. ‘T’ decided that the best way to take in the sights and sounds of our adventure was to chase European skirts. He was also something of a ‘cold’ fish which didn’t fill my heart with the warmth and giddiness of young love. The trip itself was amazing. It was just a shame he was there.

Holiday with boyfriend number 3

A trip to Portugal, travelling from Wales by car. I long ass journey but involved rocking to various music and eating baguettes and salami off the boot of the car, Mediterranean sun hot on our necks. It was our first holiday, in which we had only been dating for 4 weeks. We stayed at ‘K’s aunties villa, surrounded by fig and olive trees. It was stunning, except all was not as it seemed with the man in my life. As I observed this new Casanova with all his words of love and affection, I noticed that he would change personalities, depending on who he was talking too. How bizarre, I thought. The holiday went in a haze of alcohol, fine food, walks on the beach and me trying to detach his face from mine. Which was permanently attached, slobbering over me and removing layers of skin away.

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Get off my face already

He would not leave me alone for a second, watching my every move and spraying his territory with every glance from another male. I came away from the holiday mentally exhausted, hung-over and overwhelmed with the ‘love bombing’.

So Mr Manager, travel with a boyfriend next time?

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Disastrous dates

Less than two weeks left of bacon toasties, endless mind numbing movies, hot baths and lounging around in oversized jumpers and fleece cow print pyjama bottoms. I should be feeling the nerves right now but tend not to think of where I will be in one months time. The thought of going through customs tugging an oversized, overweight suitcase does not fill me with comfort. It’s the unknown. I have no plan, which of course is exciting but also daunting. The best thing is that I have been free from Corpville for two weeks now. Two blissful weeks of not staring at an empty inbox, dodging management and feeling the agitation of precious hours slipping away into oblivion. I heard through the grape-vine that my manager cleared away my desk in anger, which fills me with a certain sense of glee. Will I miss it? I think not as there is nothing to miss. Although the free cans of soft drink tug at my heart-strings ever so slightly, I think I will survive sufficiently without them. I certainty will not miss the trail of disastrous dates that left me seriously contemplating single life as a permanent choice. Particular dates that I will not be pining over are as follows;

The Face licker: Oh yes this guy mangled my face with his oversized mouth and darting tongue. Not only did he take a layer of skin off my face, he also licked my cheek, my nose and also my hand. The date lasted 11 hours and consisted of dodging kisses and wiping away saliva while silently gagging into my G&T. After constantly nagging to be dropped off home he finally lets me flee from his clutches, leaving me to scrub myself in the shower for a good 45 minutes.

The ass muncher: Yes here again we have another charming gentleman who informed me after meeting for 5 minutes that he was completely broke. I lasted 3 hours as he had travelled nearly 2 hours just to meet me. He then whispered sweet nothings in my ear which included ‘I love licking ass’. After wooing me with a bottle of wine and chips he then thought it would be a great idea if he could come back to my place to drink my wine. Funnily enough I declined this romantic offer.

The break dancer: Here I was entertained by the male dancing ritual which involved Russian dancing on an empty dance floor (he was Welsh not Russian!). He also invited his friend after an hour who, when introduced, decided to tell me about his adventures in a Portuguese prison after being done for drug smuggling. My date and friend then proceeded to get rip-roaring drunk before I slopped off into the night never to be seen again.

The pinning ex: A teacher who went into great detail of his hellish ex who ripped out his heart, carved it into small pieces, placed it into a blender and whizzed it to a smooth consistency. Heart was then placed into a vat of acid for extra blitzing.

The Game student: First date whet well. Absolute gentleman but when he said he had been separated for a total of 3 weeks I must say I had my reservations. I explained that he should take some time out before leaping into the next relationship which he took well. 6 months later, date 2. He wooed me with Prosecco on the train to London, more champagne at a bar near Borough Market, dinner (with more Prosecco) and magic tricks at the table. He also thought it would be a great idea to tell me how his life had changed so much in the last few months after reading The Game by Neil Strauss. I kindly told him I had read the book. You would think that would have shut him up but he then went into great detail of how it had helped him with women and how he could finally pull! He also told me he had slept with his female friend the week before and that she was nowhere near as good in bed as he had expected. He also tried to get me drunk (little did he know my liver is literally bullet proof) and then get me back to his for more ‘champagne’.

The speed dating: 24 dates which included so many dodgy darlings that to go into detail will suck the life out of me (and quite possible you). I will say that it ended in tears literally, when one guy, who had obviously had too many dates to handle, started weeping into his pint while I looked on in defeated silence, counting down the 3 minutes left.

That is a small sample of the delightful, eligible bachelors I had the misfortune of meeting. It has been a year and a half of single life but seriously if that is what’s out there then retiring to the land of 5 cats and meals for one sounds like heaven to me.