You get to the office and there’s not so much as an aphid on your desk, let alone a bunch of roses from a smitten co-worker. By the time you’ve struggled home on the bus, the only intimate encounter you’ve had has been with a violin case, when the kid carrying it grudgingly gets up to offer you their seat as the bags you are carrying under your eyes look so heavy. As you open the front door, the last optimistic brain cell you have winks out of existence as the door slides over the top of the day’s post without getting wedged on the way. Despite the tone of longing in the correspondence, neither the phone bill nor the credit card statement are written in the sort of red ink you had hoped for.
Yep – it’s Valentine’s Day, and the like the majority of single people over the age of 32 your romantic prospects are looking rather poorer than Kim Jong Un’s chances of winning the Liberal Free Thinker of the Year contest.
You could turn around, head down to the pub and let four pints of Wibbly’s Old Peculiar simultaneously lower the romantic bar and your standards or just appreciate that you’re on the pointy end of societal chance.
In 2017, around one third of people in the UK are living on their own. In 2013 this amounted to 7.7 million people and was growing rapidly. This signposts a huge change in our social fabric towards the comfortable fleecy end. What’s more, they aren’t all dating site die-hards with a face only an adventurous plastic surgeon could love or people who are one tin of Whiskas away from being a cat-snack.
The fact is that living on your own – or at least without another grown-up biped – is actually pretty cool. Here are some reasons why you, as a solo inhabitant of your space should take pity on those romantic fools that embrace the schmaltz of Valentines Day.
Living alone gives you complete freedom to be you – free-spirited and self-indulgent. Your bad habits are not something that you have to try and curb – you can simply get better at them. Take an existential approach. If you give free rein to flatulence in your lounge and no-one is there to experience it, is it really bad? Only if it causes the paint to peel off the walls, in my book.
This becomes purely optional. Dust bunnies can make surprisingly good pets that thrive on a lack of attention and provide energy-efficient insulation. They make no demands of their owner in terms of exercise and will breed prolifically in the right environment as long as they are not startled by loud noises such as vacuum cleaners.
Eat what you want, when you want. The concept of a balanced diet takes on a whole new meaning when the fridge light reveals a scene from a science fiction movie. An isolated wasteland punctuated by the occasional menacing alien life form blinking in the unaccustomed light. Or your fridge might be so full of superfoods that it has to be restrained from sprinting around your kitchen. The point is, it’s up to you.
In the first flush of a new relationship, it may be quite charming to roll over in the morning and see the object of your affections lying there in peaceful slumber. (Unless the relationship is less than 12 hours old, in which case you might be a bit startled and hard-pushed to remember their name.)
But you know that as time goes on, this charming vision will lose its appeal, like a bag of prawns left on a sunny window ledge. The cute snuffling will turn into a snore that can be measured on the Richter Scale. The alluringly ruffled hair will, day by day, start to look more like an over-used toilet brush. And that’s just the girls.
A partner can be a hand brake who stops you attempting things that are ambitious, ill-advised or just illegal, for their own selfish reasons. But for the solo traveller through life, the only limitations are self-imposed (if you don’t count imprisonment or possible death) so once you ram raid your way through those, you’re free to find out what you’re really capable of.
This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the upside of being alone. It’s a movement that’s growing in size and we need to give it a voice. Remember, you’re never alone when you’re alone! OK – the slogan may need a little work, but you know what I mean.