Lockdown, it’s a bitch, isn’t it? Can’t go to the pub, can’t see your friends, trapped inside the same four walls unable to decide between watching Buffy again from the beginning or having your fourth walk of the day, ending with queuing outside Aldi for over an hour while getting breathed on by potentially pestilent strangers. Yes, these are strange and difficult times for all of us.
And if you’re single, and especially if you live alone, these are possibly the strangest and most difficult times of all. Gone is your social life. Gone is any form of human interaction. And gone is any real reason to get yourself out of bed every morning.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Although being trapped at home with no human contact can be really tough at times, there are actually a lot of things to love about spending lockdown alone. Here, in no particular order, are my top ten:
01. YOU DON’T HAVE TO MAKE AN EFFORT WITH YOUR APPEARANCE
As women, we often find ourselves under a lot of pressure to look good all the time. Expensive haircut, glossy nails, classy outfits, gym-toned body, waxed lady parts — even our eyebrows have to be more groomed than the winner on Grand National Day. After all, we never know when we might meet someone, right? We can’t let our standards slip for even a second, because the day we leave home with greasy hair and a bikini line like King Kong’s back is the day the hottie from the coffee shop might finally ask if we’d like a drink after work.
But under lockdown, all that pressure is miraculously lifted. With no one around to see, we’re free to let standards slide. We can have a well-deserved extra hour’s sleep every day because we don’t need to put our face on or get dressed. We can go unwashed for days because there’s no one around to complain about the smell. We can even cultivate our body hair until it’s as luxurious as a mink coat because there’s absolutely zero chance anyone is going to be asking us to take our knickers off. Better enjoy it while it lasts, ladies. Because when lockdown finally ends, I’m not sure any of us are going to be able to remember how to do up a bra!
02. YOU DON’T HAVE TO COOK & CLEAN
One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that a lot of my single friends are not the biggest fans of cleaning. I mean, why do the job yourself if you can pay an expert to do it for you!? Many singletons would rather spend their precious time doing more entertaining things, like binge-watching the latest TV series on Netflix or taste-testing that bottle of wine they won in the raffle at work.
Under lockdown, of course, the cleaner can’t come. But is she actually going to clean? Fuck no. With no one else around to see, why bother? There’s only one of her, and she’s a clean and tidy girl. How much mess can one person make anyway? Hopefully, it will come to an end before the weeds start growing up through the floorboards and the spiders start writing SOS messages in their webs.
The same also goes for cooking. Deprived of nice restaurants and easy access to Marks & Spencer’s Dine-In deals, many singleton’s are suddenly finding themselves having to come up with actual meals for one. But they’ll be damned if they’re going to start baking banana bread. Why bother if there’s only one of them? The beauty of being alone is that you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want. Had a Mars Bar for breakfast and toast and jam for dinner? Not to worry, ladies. No one need ever know.
03. YOU CAN DO WHATEVER THE HELL YOU WANT
As a solo person under lockdown, your time is completely your own. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want, and there’s no one around to judge you. If you want to sleep in till midday and spend the rest of the day mindlessly scrolling through your Twitter feed then you can. If you want to drink chug straight from the bottle and watch reruns of Friends till 3 am, you can. If you want to colour-code your bookshelves, or do yoga in the living room, or scroll through TikTok all afternoon, then you can. And you can do it all guilt-free.
Without a boyfriend in tow, you don’t need to put up with anyone else’s crap. You don’t have to pretend to like Star Wars or turn off your favourite TV show so your other half can sit in his pants playing X-box. There’s no annoying boy occupying the shower when you want it or stinking out the loo for an hour while he reads his book. There’s no one complaining that you’ve got the heating on, no one leaving wet towels on the floor, and no one ‘experimenting’ with making homebrew in the bathtub. Your space is entirely yours, and it’s bloody lovely!
04. THERE ARE NO ARGUMENTS
All couples argue, but with people forced into unusually close proximity, all day, every day, it’s no surprise that tempers are fraying more than usual. Eight weeks in and the internet is already overflowing with wives complaining about their husbands, husbands being driven mad by their wives, people trapped in loveless relationships crying out for freedom, and couples who’ve already broken up still forced to share the same space with the person they now despise. Looks like lockdown will also be great for singles because once it’s over, there’s going to be a lot of fresh new talent on the market. Woohoo!
Meanwhile, over at the single person’s house it’s so peaceful you can hear nothing but the birds singing in the newly-clean air, and the occasional blazing row from the couple next door.
05. YOU’RE SAVING SHIT-LOADS OF CASH
Studies have shown that it’s much more expensive to be single than to be in a couple. Apart from the fact that as a singleton you don’t have anyone to split the bills with, the hunt for a husband is a costly business. All that pressure to look good, added to the cost of buying drinks and dinner (because I’m sure that most of us are modern independent women with actual jobs and therefore would never expect the man to pay), make dating a weighty burden on the bank balance.
But now it’s off the table, she’s saving an absolute fortune. She hasn’t bought a drink, a meal out or a new item of clothing or makeup in weeks, and is already thinking of all the things she can buy with the extra cash. One of which, of course, will need to be a personal trainer to undo some of the lockdown damage, but hey, she’s not going to worry about that right now.
06. THE DATING POOL JUST GOT A HELLA LOT DEEPER
Most of the time, dating apps are pretty much exclusively populated by a depressing mix of horny guys desperate to show their genitals to unsuspecting swipers, socially-inept no-hopers incapable of even making eye contact, and charming single-for-lifers with major attachment issues. They may say there are ‘plenty more fish in the sea’, but in my experience, the ‘sea’ is more like a swampy pond, and the fish in it are mostly piranha’s.
But like an algae bloom in warm weather, lockdown has brought a fresh flood of aquatic life to the pool. All those guys who thought a girlfriend would cramp their style, and all those independent women who didn’t have time for dating, have suddenly realised that dying alone surrounded by cats might be much more imminent than they thought. Trapped and bored at home, they’re finally dipping their toes in the water and joining the apps where, if you swipe for long enough, you might just be able to find them.
Sure, most of them will still be bottom-feeders, but if you’re inclined to give it a go, you might just be able to snag yourself a merman!
07. DATING HAS BECOME MUCH MORE EFFICIENT
Let’s say you manage to find one of these mythical ‘normal’ men, and they set up a date. Before Coronavirus, they would have to negotiate where to meet, and the single lady would probably end up having to schlep all the way to his part of town because he’s too lazy to offer somewhere more convenient to her and she’s too grateful that he actually came up with a suggestion to argue. Then, she’d have to wash her hair, put on a dress and high heels, and totter to meet him, whereupon he would either cancel with five minutes notice or turn up and be boring AF. And the lovely lady would have to choose between slashing her wrists with broken glass right there at the table or come up with some super transparent lie about having an early meeting and running away after just one drink.
Virtual dating during the present situation solves all that. If you dress up for a FaceTime date you look like you’re trying too hard — everyone expects you to be in your pyjamas. And the tiny cameras on your smartphone are so crap you can get away with just a dash of mascara and nice window light and he’ll never know the difference. If the guy cancels at the last minute you can simply put the telly back on. And best of all, if he turns out to be a waste of space you can just hang up and block him. No polite second drink or embarrassing escape technique needed. It’s such an efficient way of screening prospective future boyfriends that I really hope it’s one of those things that will stick around after Coronavirus too.
08. YOU CAN JUDGE PEOPLE FROM THE COMFORT OF YOUR OWN HOME
If you’ve been single for a while, you no doubt get judged for it All. The. Time. Why are you single? Surely an attractive woman like you should have been snapped up a long time ago? What’s wrong with you? You’re too picky! You’re too needy! You’re too jaded! You need to learn to love yourself or no one will ever love you. Yada yada yada.
Lockdown provides a wonderful antidote to all that. You can bask in the fact that since you’re no longer dating the judgment has faded away. Meanwhile, over on the internet, the idiots have never been busier, and you can have a whale of a time judging them all. Second-home owners gallivanting off to Cornwall. Mount Snowdon hikers. That guy who tried to return £10k worth of hand sanitiser to Costco. Boris ‘He is risen’ Johnson. Donald ‘WTAF?’ Trump. Curling up on the sofa eating yet another packet of cookies and looking at how messed-up other people are is truly one of single life’s greatest pleasures. And lockdown is the gift that keeps on giving.
09. THERE’S ZERO FOMO
My friend’s mum once told her: ‘You should always accept every invitation if you can; you never know who you might meet’, and for the last 20 years that’s a motto she’s lived by. And let me tell you, it’s exhausting. Every house party in the worst parts of Nottingham, every depressing dating event, every rainy festival full of stoners and drunkards and not enough portaloos, she’s has dragged herself there, just on the off-chance that she might meet a hot guy. Or a moderately attractive guy. Or someone who knows one.
Of course, there never is, but that minute possibility that next time might be THE time forces her to keep going. You have to keep taking chances, you have to put yourself out there. It’s horrific.
But now? There are no parties. No events. No festivals. Gone is the pressure, the hope, the expectation, the What If? My single friends can bolt the door and quietly stay home, free from the fear that they might be missing out on their one chance to find love. The search may have to resume again one day, but for now, it’s on pause, and the peace is absolutely heavenly.
10. THE SINGLE LIFE IS FULLY VALIDATED
If you’re single, chances are there have been times when you’ve looked at people in couples and felt envious. But oh, how the tables have turned. Now the couples are envious of the singles, with their peace and their freedom. Think you want a partner? Look at all the stories of people desperate to get away from theirs. Dreaming of having kids one day? Spare a thought for all those parents who are trying to work from home while their offspring scream and shout at each other and trash the house. Yes, sometimes you might get a bit lonely, and you’d love the chance to go down the pub and get pissed with your mates. But I’ll bet it’s actually quite pleasant in your solo little bubble, and the more you see these tales of woe the happier you feel about how your life has turned out. The smug marrieds may have had their moment in the sun, but now it’s time for the single and child-free ladies to shine. Enjoy it!