I keep forgetting to look for love. Now that I’ve officially joined the ranks of the unemployed, I have a rather long to-do list: join a feminist book club, learn how to contour (relying on 16-year-old vloggers) and, of course, get a job.
With all of this on my mind, I keep forgetting that I haven’t had sex in six months (45 years in millennial terms) and that summer is the season of love.
Sure, couples are everywhere. They’re kissing on the tube escalator (how? I get sweat patches without anyone touching me), holding hands in Hyde Park and throwing me pitying looks when I go to the cinema/planetarium/outside my house alone.
One day I would like to be in my own smug couple, but I’m in no rush. I think I have London to thank for that because being single in this city is great. I know that sounds like the kind of in-denial statement a drunk aunt would make at a christening. But I mean it. Here is my list of the 7 best things about being single in London.
1. Get on the tube during rush hour
Squeezing onto a packed tube is difficult enough, without having to hold onto a partner and drag them on too. It’s very Titanic – if Rose hadn’t been with Jack, she would have sat pretty in that lifeboat (and he would have floated on the door. Annoys me to this day.)
2. Guilt-free seat on the train
The train becomes less crowded as it heads out of Central London and towards Fake London (aka Zone 4). A free seat appears near you and you instinctively thump you bum down on it, like a grown-up version of Musical Chairs.
Very different story when you have a partner. You both see the free seat, they say “Go on, have a seat” but you feel guilty and say “No, it’s fine – it’s only eight more stops” and then a carefree singleton breezes in and nabs it.
3. Bizarre date nights
When you’re single in London you realise this city is the home of…’quirky’ dating. We have Dating Against Humanity (the love-child of speed-dating and Cards Against Humanity), Ping Pong Dating (pretty much what it says on the tin) and even Naked Speed Dating. You may not find the love of your life with so many elephants (or, should I say, trunks) in the room, but it will make a good story.
4. Strong Bumble game
London is the Love Island villa of the UK. Sure, I’ve seen a few chiselled faces in my time (I went to a sporty uni, after all), but the London Bumble game is in its own league. The men I’ve spoken to are over 6ft and have complicated job titles like ‘software engineer developer’, which I think means they are Q in the next James Bond film.
True, I am yet to physically check out any of these Bumble dates, but I’m liking the options in my basket.
5. Spending the day at an exhibition
The Barbican is my go-to gallery and I recently spent three hours immersed in the exhibition Another Kind Of Life. I left feeling heady, lethargic and content – like the blissful two minutes after a bath or orgasm.
Going to an art show on a date is not as relaxing. Sure, it’s nice to hold someone’s hand, but it’s slightly frustrating when they pull you away and you’re still figuring out the symbolism behind the pink circle on the wall.
6. Power-walking across bridges
I have a part-time job as a couch potato, but not when I’m in London. I love the thrill of overtaking groups of tourists, weaving between couples (who walk so slowly) and reaching my destination three minutes earlier.
A particular highlight about being alone in London is speed-walking over bridges. Especially Tower Bridge, with its stunning views of the Thames and its appearance in the first Bridget Jones film, when she speed-walks and turns her life around. Iconic.
7. Cheap lunches
It’s fun to get dressed up, go “somewhere nice” with your partner and post a pic to Instagram with the caption #luckygirl. But it’s hard to maintain that champagne lifestyle on a lemonade budget.
Do you know a place where you can eat on your own, on a budget, with no desire to share the experience on Instagram? McDonald’s. And on almost every street corner, you’ll find a pair of golden arches waiting to welcome you home.
These are just the London-focused perks of being single. Of course, there are other great things about being on your own: taking Bucket-List day trips, listening to the Camp Rock soundtrack (#selfcare), spending 8 hours learning how to French plait your hair…
It’s okay to forget to fall in love as long as you remember to enjoy yourself.