I’d rather be single.

It’s been a good six months since my last relationship and lately I’ve noticed my friends stepping up the pressure to get back in the dating game. Though their intentions are kind – they really do just think I deserve a decent big spoon – it seems odd to me that they regard being single as such a terrible situation. Yet, I thought we were past all that idealistic Bridget Jones bollocks about coupling up in order to find happiness – Mark Darcy died, people, the dream is over!

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Now, I’m not a commitment-phobe, I don’t hate healthy relationships and I do ultimately hope to settle down with one special person. But every time I go on a date, even a good date, I go home feeling even more certain that right now I want to stay single. Why? Because I’m in a fucking awesome relationship with myself at the moment. For the past four years I’ve done the serial monogamy thing and I’ve done the LTR thing. The only thing I haven’t done is learning to be interesting and fun and alive without a partner in crime.

As a 22 year old I’m in a really lucky situation – I have a secure job, I have a great support network and I live in a city offers me everything I could want or need. I enjoy having nobody to answer to come the weekend and I like not knowing whether I’ll even be living in the UK in 6 months time. In short, I’m having fun.

And on the topic of, erm, fun… I’m not breaking any blog boundaries by admitting that I like/need sex, just like any other sane human being. Perhaps if having sex required having a boyfriend, this would be a massively different blog, but it doesn’t. It simply requires having access to gay bars and, if we’re being really honest, having access to certain apps. #Overshare.

The truth is, I wonder if people these days are so concerned with having all their shit together – which, in terms of image branding, is epitomised by a happy relationship – that they would rather be in a relationship with the wrong person than have to actually develop a life and a personality. I remember that after my last big break up, I felt like a complete shell of a person – I literally had no interests or, really, opinions as an individual. I’d invested more in being one half of a duo than I had in being me. I never want that to happen again, hence why right now I’d rather enjoy some me time than some us time.

So, for those of you stuck in the BJ era (Bridget Jones, you goons), I’d like to request an armistice between my relationship status and your pitying eyes. I am okay. Most single people are okay. I will occassionally eat ice cream but that is because I like ice cream, not because I am sad about being ‘alone’. When the time is right, and the guy is right, I’ll get back on the boyfriend wagon. For now, though, I’d rather be single.

How to be yourself in 2014.

As a fresh-faced 18 year old in 2009, I remember being racked with nerves when Goldsmiths university summoned me for an interview at their south east London campus. Until then, I’d spent my entire life in the small rural county of Shropshire, where literally nothing exciting has happened since Charles Darwin was born there in 1809 – and no one ever mentions that he escaped the wilderness at the earliest opportunity. I wasn’t cool and I wasn’t well-travelled, or even well-read. How was I supposed to impress a bunch of academics in the big city?

It was my Mum, as always, who gave me the most valuable advice: “just be yourself.” So, instead of pretending to be an aloof artiste (as I had practiced, using Meryl sodding Streep as a muse) – I just accepted myself as an excitable, little goon. And it worked.

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A mere 5 years later, however, being yourself isn’t quite so straightforward. Social media allows us to create entirely different personas from our real world selves and it’s easy to get our various identities confused. On Instagram, for example, we have filters to appear glamourous 24/7 – and you can crop out that damp patch on your bedroom ceiling. But the truth is that nobody is round-the-clock fabulous. We all have those moments when we trip slightly on our way to work or we accidently spit on our crush mid-conversation.

Life is full of not-so-glitzy events and, as far as I’m concerned, it’s how we react to those situations that make up our true selves. Those situations are the stuff of good conversation and those reactions are what can make us seem either loathsome or adorable. You might look stunning with a Sierra filter but I’d find it hard to be attracted to someone who can’t deal with – and laugh at – life’s imperfections.

I guess I’m writing this blog because it took me 21 years to realise that it’s okay for people to know that I’m never going to be cool. I can be geeky, vain, crude, partial to pop culture and excessively polite. I don’t know about cool bands or cool clothes and I certainly don’t spend my weekends at cool warehouse parties. It’s just not me. And since I stopped trying to be someone else’s idea of awesome, I can honestly say I’ve never been happier.

So my point is this: image brand the fuck out of yourself on Twitter et al. but never forget to be a real life, bona fide, full-of-flaws person. If you’re really brave you could even take a chance and be a little less perfect on the internet, especially as there’s a generation right behind us who are going to have some pretty unrealistic expectations of the world.

Life is more than being cool and, to end on a hearty cliché, nobody does you better than you.