Once I didn’t have sex for a year. A whole fucking year. I didn’t kiss anyone I didn’t hold hands with anyone. I didn’t even put my head on anyone’s neck and look wistful. Nothing. I just floated along feeling like a little asexual pod person. While at times it seemed like unbearable torture, eventually I helped me realise that going a month without it, and whining, was unreasonable.
I’m sure there are some of you scoffing at this already: “A year? Try five!” Or six, or seven, or thirty-nine. Yes, I get it, there’s always someone worse off than me. However this isn’t a contest. For me that year was a useful. I had a nervous breakdown, moved to Mexico, taught kids English, and lived in a bungalow with two pugs on a dirt road. Celibacy meant time to concentrate on learning how to be happy again and how to do my job well. It meant a lot of time lying in bed in my knickers listening to Patrick Wolf and smoking cheap cigs. It also meant a lot of time to eat frozen waffles with kraft singles on top, which may have been a bad idea. Taking myself out of the dating pool eventually turned from depressing, to bearable, to actually quite enjoyable.
As I write this I have the luxury of being in a relationship with a wonderful person who loves me, is beautiful, and perfect in bed. It is easy for me to look back on those days and say “Oh it was a drag, but a bearable one!” and I’m sure you’re all scoffing and rolling your eyes. Obviously it wasn’t always bearable, there were so many days when I lay on my bed and listened to The Carpenters and cried while emotionally singing “Let me the one you run to, let me be the one you come to when you need someone to hold you.” not having anyone to be the ‘you’ in that sentence. There was often a feeling after I had showered, shaved, and buffed myself within an inch of my life that I deserved to have sex. That I had wasted my time looking good and being nice all evening. I felt let down by the whole world.
Let no-one tell you being single is easy. It’s not. However once you stop thinking that being single is a challenge you battle through in order to reach your pot of gold at the end it becomes easier. Being single is time for yourself. Time to discover who you are, what you like, what you despise, what you want. It’s time to grow your leg hair, let your room get covered in Cath Kidston prints, and just let go. For the last year I had been dating people, hoping each was a good bet. They weren’t but I learned. I learned from each person how I wanted to be loved. Each person made me realise what I could and couldn’t let go in a relationship. And then I was lucky, I didn’t earn my wonderful boyfriend, I lucked out. And now I have taken all the facets of me I’d been hiding, even the irascible grumpy side of me, and realised that I can be that person with him. That I don’t have to do my hair a certain way or like a certain thing, he really does just like me for me.
In a way I wish I was writing this and still single. I wish I could say that I was still enjoying it, and that I could take each of your hands, give them a squeeze, and let you know it’s going to be ok. Because it will. The less you see falling in love as a right, than a spark of luck, the more likely it is you’ll get lucky. Promise.
Kate Moss and Foxy Brown having fun eating salad and being sexy, by unknown