That’s right, autumn is just about here. In fact, autumn begins on my birthday (October 25th. Presents and designer clobber is much welcomed). I’ve always loved autumn. The crisp, red leaves covering the ground, the cool, damp mornings, an auburn sunset to die for at 4pm and the return of the chunky knits are some of my favourite things. I used to love walking through the parks with my boyfriend, taking in deep, chilly breaths, absorbing autumn in all of its poetic glory, laughing at him for slipping on fallen, soggy leaves and looking at his cherub-like face, with his rosy cheeks. How sweet! These days, the only rosy cheeks to be seen of an autumn morning are my own, in my reflection, when the dog has a poo on the pavement and I’ve forgotten to take poo-bags with me. The boyfriend is no-more and the idea of walking through a park on my own, in the pouring down rain and falling over those *bastard* leaves is about as appealing as French kissing Elton John on a hot day.
Autumn, and the leading months up to winter, can be one of the most harsh and depressing times for a singleton out of the whole year (I hate referring to us as ‘singletons’, really. I rather think that ‘better off’ fits better). You know what I’m saying; the days get shorter, therapy comes in the form of a bottle of wine and 20 Marlboro lights and we’re robbed of the summer sun, so any chances of us maintaining a tan are few, far and in-between, because we all want to look pasty. It seems like things happen in clusters. This time of year proves to be a tough test to us. So in a world brimming with happy couples and shared, warm beds, how do you maintain a smile that will shine through the gloom that is ‘the Deep Freeze’? Here are a few tips:
Unnecessarily long work Functions
It’s not even the middle of October and already, some smart-arse that runs the reprographics in the office has started to plan an event that requires you to lie about who you are as a person for longer than a 9-5 shift. Because Sally has been married for the grand total of 3 months, she is still loved up (that summer wedding was beautiful, even if you weren’t invited to witness it, you still saw the photos on Facebook and proceeded to hiss at them and criticise her dress). This is a scenario, taken from my own experience:
- She suggests that the whole team attend a weekend team-building-outdoors-rock-climbing-thingy in a forest, in bloody Mordor, that definitely won’t have a good 3G reception on your mobile, not allowing you to check Tinder (don’t these people ever consider us!?). Upon arriving, you realise that you have been given the box room, which is basically just a glorified shed, in-between two master bedrooms, where you can hear Jeremy from accounts dry hump Vanessa from the canteen to the room on your left, and Ron and Kathy in the room to the right, snoring loudly and you just *know* that they’re spooning. Meanwhile, you’re wrapped in a dressing gown, under the duvet. How do you survive this painful weekend? It’s simple: Don’t go. Make excuses and lie about being far too busy with your friends, pub-crawling, binge-drinking and having lots and lots of sex with supermodel guys. Or, go along and take advantage of the freedom that you have. Steal the free toiletries in the cabin, be drunk at the dinner table, spend three hours in the bath and take Sally, from reprographics, aside and give her the number of your beautician, because really, eyebrows are supposed to be a plural, and the number of a tanning salon, because you shouldn’t be able to mistake yourself for a baked wotsit on your wedding pictures.
Which brings me to
- If it’s not bad enough that they’ve stolen summer evenings off us and forced us to go to their wedding, they’re now trying to wade in on our autumn nights too! After you receive your wedding invitation, study it carefully. Have you noticed that you haven’t been given an option for a +1? That’s because you’re single, and you will be sat on the single’s table. This very same thing happened to me, but I was sat on the *gay* single table, because there is no room for a single gay man to be mixing with other people at a wedding, don’t you know!?!? Well, my bitter bitches, this is where the joke is on them. When you find yourself on this table, you have the chance to recruit soldiers for your army against love. When you start to hear the first few chords of ‘How do I live?’, by Leanne Rhymes, you will know that this is your queue to head to the buffet and steal all of the best food, so as to avoid a repeat of your high school disco. Nobody wants to dance on their own with a balloon, in a room full of embracing couples gliding around on the B+Q lino that they’ve passed as a dance floor. Cough loudly when the vicar asks if anybody knows any reason why the people in question shouldn’t be married, take advantage of the free bar, and if there isn’t a free bar, pull your skirt up and stick your boobs out. Round off the night serenading the wedding party with ‘New York! New York!’ before falling into a taxi, with your handbag overflown with stolen buffet.
- This is a new one to me. As I’m getting older, my friends are beginning to actually make it to an anniversary that merits some form of celebration. A lot of these have been in autumn for me, which leads me to believe that there must be some sort of link between rain and sex. I’m not 100% on the formula of this connection, but I’ll get it one day. I never thought I’d see the day that my social circle would achieve an anniversary, because deep down, I’m still that 17 year old boy who laughs at words like crack (haha crack). Off you go to a restaurant and for god’s sake, there’s balloons, framed photos of the couple and ‘Happy Anniversary’ confetti adorned on a long table with a beautiful, cotton table runner. On the end of that table, next to the wine bottles on the floor (win), is your chair, with a name card in front of it, in case you even *considered* sitting next to someone. If it isn’t bad enough that you have to smile through gritted teeth at the table, you have to lie through the power of writing, because they’ve bought a bastard guest book! There’s a few things that you can do in a social situation like this, including ‘pulling a Bridget’ and questioning the current divorce rate of that year. Failing that, you can sneakily access the stash of wine that the waiter cleverly placed next to your lonely chair or make people jealous of your single status by leaning over to Jade, who’s been with Mick for 6 years, and whisper to her the details of the last Tinder date that you had, in graphic detail “I swear to god, Jade, I couldn’t walk for a week. It was like a baby’s arm, holding an apple!”
Which leads to the most important function in your whole, bitter year:
- Mistletoe and cheap wine. Children singing Freudian rhyme, with shit presents on the fire and cheap crackers on the tree, a time to rejoice that you can still watch NBC. Yes, that’s right. It’s finally Christmas time. Get prepared to be presented with ‘gifts for him’, ‘gifts for her’, ‘Merry Christmas from the both of us’ and turkey that’s drier than a Mormon’s bed sheet. As if it wasn’t bad enough that you’re selfish boyfriend left you, meaning that you now have FULL Christmas shopping responsibility (planning and funding), you now have to do it all knowing that the only Christmas messages that you will wake up to in the morning are from your own mother. No Christmas stocking at the end of the bed, just a pint of gin, a half-eaten Christmas pudding and re-runs of ‘love actually’ for the next three weeks (it amazes me at how many times I have to watch Hugh Grant gyrate in his office every year). Christmas is a time for giving (don’t even pull me up on it. Jesus received presents. Three wise men gave them to him and I won’t hear anything else on it). Give to yourself. Yes, I’m sure that Uncle Robert would adore some socks in a cup and Aunty Jane would just diefor a Tia Maria shot in a glass, but you definitely deserve to treat yourself. Buy something really shiny and really expensive, like Chanel No.5. Feel sorry for the couples who are arguing over who needs to cook, wash up, entertain the kids, pretend that they like their presents and pose for uncomfortable christmas selfies under the mistletoe. You actually have the upper hand here. You don’t have to worry about your boyfriend asking you to his parent’s place on Xmas day, to spend it with his evil mother who hates you. You can stay right where you are, sipping baileys out of a Terry’s chocolate orange, for the whole day!
Just a few points to consider, when you’re feeling low and sorry for yourself. Life isn’t that bad, kids. It’s only a season. Wrap up warm, dig out your onsie, find your ‘bridesmaids’ DVD and love your single season.
Click here for the next instalment.