Monday isn’t the worst day: that’s Tuesday, without a doubt.
On Monday you can spend some time reminiscing about your weekend, and your boss is still too hung-over to make you do anything substantial (especially if, like me, you happen to be your own boss).
Wednesday is half-way to the finish line. In America they call it “hump day”, because you’re over the hump and into the downhill stretch. It’s pretty good, lots to feel happy about.
On Thursday you can console yourself with the thought that it’s Friday tomorrow. And by Friday you’ve done it – you’ve made it through another week, and party time is upon us.
But Tuesdays mean nothing. They’re the only day of the week with no redeeming features.
And being in a relationship is like being stuck in a perpetual Tuesday. You’re endlessly in the middle of things, there’s no end in sight. And after a while you realise that “hump day” is permanently tomorrow, tomorrow never seems to come… and neither do you any more!
Even if it’s a good Tuesday, and the sun is shining, and you’re going to take the day off and go to the zoo, at the back of your mind you know that tomorrow will be Tuesday again, and each Tuesday will be greyer and slower and duller than the last.
But being single? Being single is like a permanent Friday night. On Friday night I’m my own man, and answer to nobody. The world is my oyster, or lobster, or cuttlefish, or any other crustacean I fancy. I have a choice of crustaceans. In fact, I’m in lamellibranch heaven!
Nobody tells me what to do, or pecks at my head to find out why I haven’t done what they told me to do last time. If I want to be lazy, nobody forces me to get up and go out. If I want to be busy, nobody tells me to stay home and do the ironing. Being single is freedom.
It’s freedom to do things but it’s also freedom from things. From her choice of TV, her choice of dinner, her choice of music, her friends, her mess. And most of all it’s freedom from her blithering, meaningless babble about the time someone you never met said something you don’t care about to somebody else you never met.
I’m not having a go at girls here – I’m sure men are just as bad, or worse. Ladies, do you really want to hear about the football, or the carburetor, or what kind of machine guns they used in Band of Brothers? No, you don’t! But men want to talk about it (when they want to talk at all), and being in a relationship means we each have a permanent sounding board that isn’t allowed to walk away and talk to somebody more interesting instead. But giddy Jesus, don’t you want to?
Being single makes you happier. It makes you more hopeful. It makes you more adventurous and positive. It makes you more sociable, because the alternative is to be a solitary hermit, and nobody wants that. What we all want is to be a single person who meets interesting people and has sex with them. So we change, unwittingly, into better, happier, sexier, thinner people.
Thinner? Yes, being single makes you thinner. Well, it certainly doesn’t make you fat, but being in a relationship does: it’s called “the stone of contentment”, and it’s the weight people put on when they stop running after people to fuck. If she (or he, or they) are sat at the other end of the sofa, and don’t really care what you look like any more, you stop trying. Being single makes a lot of positive changes to your physique.
In fact, it changes many things. Your body, your mind, and your entire nervous system. Do you know what the most sensitive part of the body is while masturbating? It’s the ears: you’re always listening for the sound of somebody approaching. But not me. I can stuff my ears with cotton wool and wrap my head in a duvet before I “drop trou”. In fact, I think I will, right now, just because I can. Back in a moment.
OK, I’m back. That was fun, and nobody is judging me except for people on the internet, and don’t even pretend you haven’t thought about clicking away from this blog to look at some porn. Don’t even.
(Oh, and the cat saw me too. OK, I admit, it was a bit weird that he watched me; and I don’t really know if he understands what I just did, but he always looks disappointed in me, even when I’m feeding him fresh tuna. So I’m not reading too much into that baleful expression.)
But while we’re on the subject of sex – which we were before I got onto voyeuristic felines – isn’t sex in a relationship absolutely awful! I don’t mean at the beginning, or in the first couple of years. To start with it’s brilliant, and then it gets even better when you stop pretending to be sensitive and kind, and just tear each others’ clothes off, spit on each other, and rut like otters.
But before too long everything goes wrong, and not just with her. You’re bored. She’s bored. It’s the same every single time. Kiss. Squeeze. Feel. Mount. Dismount. Sleep. Sex is supposed to be the most thrilling thing in the world. If you attach electrodes to a rat’s brain and give it an “orgasm” button, it’ll keep pressing until it starves to death. Animals demand sex, and we should want it all the time.
But we don’t. And why? Because you bore each other to death. In a relationship, what should be a romantic night of passion (or at least a raw and dirty fuck with somebody who knows how you like it) becomes little more than a chore, or a desperate act to invigorate your flagging feelings or – more often than we care to admit – to help you to get to sleep. You might as well get out of bed and start decorating the kitchen.
And I know this might be controversial, but I’m gonna say it anyway: men have to perform. We have to actually do things. We can’t rely on a little KY and a patient expression, we have to actually be excited or nothing happens. And then who gets the blame? We do! You don’t point at us and allocate blame directly; instead we have the “don’t I excite you any more?” conversation, in which there is only one answer I can give, and that answer is a lie:
“Of course you excite me [you don’t], it’s just that I’ve had a long day [a long day dreaming about more interesting sex with people I haven’t seen naked over a million times]. Let’s do it properly tomorrow night [after I’ve spent the day looking at porn so I’ve got recent memories to help me along]”
Cynical? Fucking right it’s cynical, but it’s true!
I don’t want to live there. I don’t want to live in that dull, dreary, grey, sexless place, just waiting around until one of us dies, and hoping my hip still works when that moment arrives. Instead, I want to live in Singledonia, a land of opportunity, just like America. Sure, not all the opportunities pan out, but keep on panning and you’ll strike gold. Often in small worthless lumps, but still bright and shiny, and still exciting when you get it. And even if it turns out to be fools gold and worth less than nothing, you’ve still had that brief, intense thrill; and you have the pleasure of knowing there’s another thrill floating down the river towards you. Put on your waders and climb back in!
But being in a relationship is like living in Greece: the only sensible solution is to get out of the place before it drags everyone down.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating a series of one-night stands here. Far from it. There is little in life that’s more fun that dating someone a few times, learning about each other’s bodies, and getting better and better and the sexytimes. I love that. I love holding her afterwards, and I love making her laugh, and being made to laugh, and long, lazy Sunday mornings rolling around in bed with nothing to think about but how good her skin feels. Every day is “hump day”, and you never seem to go downhill.
And that’s why being single is fucking great. It’s a chance to discover and experience that thrill, over and over again. I’m trying to do it honestly, and without hurting anybody. I don’t date multiple people at once, but I do tell everyone up-front what I’m about.
And it’s not about Tuesday; it’s about Friday night.