A few weeks ago I catalogued some of the reasons why the current lockdown situation rocks if you’re single, particularly if you live alone and have nobody to answer to. If you missed it and you’re flying solo, you probably already knew that, but if you want to catch up, you can find it over here.
And although I stand by every word I said in that post, I have to admit that lockdown can be pretty shitty too. Especially if you’ve not seen your loved ones over the last few months. So, for today’s post, I thought I’d do a little follow-up outlining all the reasons lockdown SUCKS if you’re single. Here are my top ten:
01. YOU DON’T GET ANY PHYSICAL CONTACT AT ALL
We all need to be touched. Fact. And if you live alone that sort of thing is hard to come by, even at the best of times. A friend of mine who’s been single a long time once told me has to make do with hugs from friends and doing yoga badly enough that the teacher would go over to adjust her posture, and it’s something I’ve never forgotten. But in these messed-up times, even those small scraps of contact have been ripped away.
A Facetime chat can’t squeeze you. The same as an online fitness instructor can’t straighten your downward dog. After months of being home alone, I’m sure many singletons will have been starved of that much human interaction they’d be willing to book a full Brazilian using gaffer tape instead of hot wax just for the chance to be touched by another person. And that’s really sad.
02. THERE’S NO SEX
Okay, for some single ladies sex wasn’t really on the table all that much anyway … but at least when we were allowed to socialise there was always a chance. A chance that maybe one day a cute guy would come along who wouldn’t be a dick (or send a dick) and she’d finally get to remember what a real live penis looks like in the flesh.
But now, nothing. Nada. No possibility of any action at all. Not even an ill-advised hook-up with an ex or part-time fuck buddy. Because no matter which way you look at it, I don’t think the police will accept ‘I needed to get laid’ as a necessary journey.
And just to add insult to injury, there are couples everywhere! Couples holding hands in the park, couples on the telly, couples on social media who live together and get to have sex whenever they want — even at 2 pm on a Wednesday while the boring conference call is muted. Not to mention the couples who don’t live together, who won’t stop fucking moaning about not being able to see each other, but who are no doubt being doubly cuntish by breaking the rules and doing it anyway.
Meanwhile, the rest of us are reduced to lusting after fellow joggers and dreaming of one-day managing to get an ASDA delivery slot just so a man will come and knock on our door.
03. YOU LOOK LIKE SHIT
With no job to get dressed for and no one at home to see them, singletons have immediately devolved into Neanderthal-levels of disarray. Gone is the polish, the poise, the neatly-styled hair and carefully-applied make-up. They live alone, so there’s no point in getting dressed — and pyjamas are much comfier anyway. It doesn’t matter if they smell like a landfill site — no one’s around to notice. And their hair is no doubt greasier than a McDonald’s kitchen! But until their scalps get itchier than a bad case of thrush, who cares?
But every time we pass a mirror and are forced to look at ourselves, skin sallow from the lack of daylight, eyebrows like two hairy caterpillars, and three inches of roots on display, we rediscover that this is, in fact, the real us. The nice clothes, pretty hair, and makeup are all an illusion. In reality, we’re actually the Grand High Witch with the mask taken off, which is (a) a fucking depressing realisation, and (b) a wake-up call. If this is what we really look like, why have we been trying to find a boyfriend? And even if we do find a guy we like, one day he’ll stay over and see us like this, and then he’ll run away so fast he’ll leave scorch marks on the stair carpet.
Yes, ladies. We’re definitely dying alone …
04. YOU DON’T HAVE ANYONE TO TALK TO
Couples can talk to each other. Parents can talk to their kids. But when you live alone under lockdown, you have no one. No one to chat to about your day. No one to express your thoughts and fears to. No one to calm your anxiety and tell you everything is going to be OK. No one to watch the daily briefings with and bitch about how incompetent Matt Hancock is. No one to laugh with. No one to cry with. The only person single ladies get to talk face-to-face to these days is the checkout guy on their weekly grocery shop. But let’s face it, he doesn’t want to get involved in a political discussion or help them decide which Netflix series to watch next.
Of course, we can do Zoom chats or Facetime friends, but they’re not the same. Firstly, you have to see yourself in the chat window — and it’s bad enough when you look like a troll doll that fell behind a radiator without having to face that horror every time you want to talk to a friend. And secondly, people on video chat rarely give you their full attention. They have half an eye on the TV, or they’re being assaulted by a feral four-year-old, or they’re trying not to burn their dinner.
And who can blame them for being distracted? It’s not like anyone has anything interesting to say these days anyway. What the fuck do you have to talk about if nothing is happening and you’re not allowed to leave the house? ‘Guess what, I cleaned the bathroom today. Have you heard there’s a pandemic on?’ Riveting stuff.
05. YOU’RE GAINING WEIGHT
If you’re stuck at home alone all day, what else is there to do but eat? You need treats to break up the day and cheer yourself up, right? It’s healthy. Or it would be, if it weren’t for the fact that most people’s activity levels have gone from 10k steps a day plus the gym, to a handful of trips to the kettle and a slow shuffle around the block on the rare occasions that they can be bothered to put on their shoes.
Not that gaining weight would be a disaster. After all, now that we’ve realised we’re going to be single forever, there’s nothing wrong with allowing our bodies to morph into comfortable chubbery. Or there wouldn’t be if it weren’t for all of social media haughtily informing us that we should be using this time to get End-Of-Lockdown-Body Ready. Instagram Hiit workouts. Twitter diet plans. The government’s recommendation of unlimited daily exercise. And Joe Bloody Wicks. Why can’t they just leave us alone to eat Nutella out of the jar in peace!?
06. YOU’RE DOING NOTHING AND BEING SHAMED FOR IT
When social media isn’t making us feel shit for slowly morphing into a potato, it’s busy making us feel shit for not improving ourselves in other ways. ‘Take up an instrument!’ enthuses Instagram. ‘Learn a language!’ hoots the Duolingo owl. ‘Write a novel!’ says Facebook. Families with kids don’t need to worry about this pressure — they’re already heroes just for managing not to kill their children after three months of being locked up with them. But if you’re single and living alone, there’s no excuse. You shouldn’t be vegging out in front of the TV or lying in bed scrolling through Twitter all day, you should be Marie Kondo-ing your cupboards or baking cakes to distribute to your neighbours. And Shame On You if you’re not.
As a solo person under lockdown, you might think now is the perfect time for you to go back on the apps. Single people stuck home alone are realising how nice it would be to have someone, and since everyone has plenty of time to devote to chatting, it should be easy. Maybe you can’t meet someone face-to-face right now, but you can definitely line up a string of potential future husbands, ready to meet them the second you’re allowed out of the house, right?
Wrong! Because of course, the men on dating apps are just the same as they ever were. Still mostly a depressing mix of illiterate, incoherent, obnoxious or obscene, with the added bonus of a newly-minted influx of bored timewasters who are only online because they can no longer be down the pub with their mates. And while you may have an idyllic fantasy of matching with a Ryan-Gosling lookalike who falls for you over Skype before you eventually leap into each other’s arms in an emotional first meeting as soon as lockdown ends, you know deep down that’s never going to happen. The unfortunate truth is that most men on dating apps can’t keep a conversation going for three sentences, let alone three weeks. And those who can will either go back to their wives and girlfriends or sleazily proposition you for sex the second the rules are eased. Urgh.
08. VIRTUAL DATING CAN BE A NIGHTMARE
Even if you do manage to match with someone and get chatting, virtual dating is no better than dating in real life ever was. You’d think it’d be easy — you don’t need to commit to a specific time, everyone is free ALL DAY every day, and you don’t even have to pick a pub, FFS. Yet people still can’t manage to commit to a date, or they still cancel at the last minute. And that’s even more infuriating than normal because you bothered to wash and change out of your pyjamas for absolutely no reason whatsoever.
But a cancellation might be better than actually having a FaceTime date because even with hair and make-up reapplied, absolutely no one looks good on that hideous wide-angle selfie camera. And the conversation is bound to be shit because no one has anything to talk about and everyone is far too flippin’ depressed.
It’s a much better idea to just give up and say ‘Fuck this, I’m out’. But if you try to do that, the FOMO will get you. Tales of lockdown ‘meet cutes’ have been doing the rounds of the internet for months now, giving people false hope of the possibility of finding love in the time of Coronavirus. ‘Go on,’ whispers the FOMO demon in your ear. ‘Fire up Bumble one more time! If you don’t you might just miss your chance!’
Well, fuck you, FOMO demon. These stories probably aren’t even true!
09. LOCKDOWN MAKES YOU REALISE EVERYONE IS A DICK
For a long time, single ladies have dreamed of meeting some wonderful man who would make them laugh and be kind and generous and thoughtful. And then lockdown happened, and they realised that was going to be impossible because everyone is a dick. From the toilet paper stockpilers and the selfish twats sunbathing in the park to the friends who never call, and the idiots on Twitter urging everyone to #ClapForBoris just because he had the misfortune to get ill. It turns out that actually, people are the worst, and there’s no point in even trying to meet anyone nice because there’s literally nobody left.
10. LOCKDOWN GIVES YOU A DEPRESSING VISION OF THE FUTURE
So where does this leave her? Home alone, no boyfriend, no apps, no dating, just her and her laptop, her TV, and her fridge. Not dissimilar, in fact, to how her life has pretty much been for the last god knows how many years, and probably exactly how it will be for the next 40 if she makes it that far. Lockdown is like a crystal ball into the future — yes, it will end for now, and she’ll go back to work and the pub. But eventually, in a few years time, this is exactly where she’ll be. Single, alone, living in the same flat. Just with saggier boobs and more grey hair.
But would that really be so terrible? Yes, it would be lovely to have someone, but if lockdown has taught us anything positive, it’s that we’re actually really good at being single. We’re used to her own company, comfortable in our own space, easily able to occupy our time, and we’re completely independent. We might be an extrovert, but it seems we’re quite good at being an introvert too. Turns out people are much less annoying when they’re kept at a distance.