Whoever coined the term “Summer of Love” has clearly never tried to date women in London.
I’d somehow imagined that all the smart, witty, lovely women who’d been hibernating through the winter months would suddenly burst into my life in a storm of glitter and jazz hands. “Fooled you!” they’d cry, whisking me off to some fabulous muff convention where everyone drinks champagne in swishy skirts and coos over me.
Instead, night after balmy night, I’m heading home alone to a Netflix account and a tower of dirty dishes. I feel like the last chocolate in the Quality Street box that no one wants and that sits there mournfully week after week until someone finally tosses it into the trash.
Don’t get me wrong, the single life holds myriad pleasures: no squabbles over which film to watch; a duvet that’s blissfully all mine; swiping the last guilt-free sausage out of the pan; the easy solitude of a Sunday with nothing to do and no one to please. I spend my days with family and friends, picnicking or brunching or playing with my niece, both of us gurgling with joy.
I get braver and more self-reliant. When the wifi stops working, I get myself online again. When a huge spider scuttles across the stairs I have a brief meltdown before getting the hoover and flapping the extension lead at it wildly screaming “get out of my house you freeloading squatter!” until it disappears with a gentle pop. I do my tax return, pay the bills and get seated alone at weddings where I make small talk with strangers.
And yet through it all there’s a twinge, a hum, a squiggly little niggle that maybe all of these things would be nicer and easier with someone to share them with.
“Where the hell is she?!” I whinge for the fortieth time over G&Ts with my friends.
“She’s probably sat somewhere asking exactly the same question about you!”
“I need a date just so I have something to write about. This isn’t a blog about dating anymore it’s a blog about bloody vacuuming!”
“Maybe you should think about using one of the paid-for services? You might get a more… sophisticated clientele.”
“Yeah, maybe…” I sigh.
I don’t think about it again for a couple of weeks and then a profile flashes up on my Tinder: “Young, fun and ready to be full of cum!”
The next day I sign up to a dating website.