I’m getting political.
I’ve decided to start a campaign to make people’s lives better. I’m sick of life being all me me me. I want to be civic minded. To fight for the issues that matter. To take a stand where it counts. I’m finally going to do my bit like a brave, fierce, towering suffragette. I’ll be sending out emails shortly and I hope you’ll join me in the struggle because, frankly, I’ve had enough.
I’m campaigning to change the phrase ‘love life’ to ‘relentless terrible dating life’. Bear with me. It’s a move that will help millions of single people being interrogated about their personal lives. Now, when someone asks, “how’s your relentless, terrible dating life?” and you reply, “yep, fine, the same,” you can quickly convey the deep, yawning, knawing, soul-eroding horror of dating without shocking people or making them cry.
Love life can then be repurposed for people who are actually in love.
“How’s your love life?” people will ask.
“Amazing,” the couple will drool before disappearing into a downstairs loo for a shag.
Once the honeymoon phase is over, you can switch again and ask, “how’s petty squabbles and mindless chore division life?” until they’re filing for divorce and we start the whole cycle again.
I’ve got a date with someone that I’m hoping will eventually qualify me for a love life. She’s pretty and interesting. Her messages are smart, funny and sharp. I disappear into Whatsapp for a couple of weeks, furiously punching out messages as I run between meetings. “Fancy picking this up over a drink?” I ask. “Yep, next Weds?” she replies. “Done.”
On Wednesday, I stride into the bar all a-flutter. But when we start chatting it quickly goes downhill. She’s a bit intimidating. And, well, arrogant.
“I’m so knackered,” she says at one point. “I’m probably not making any sense because I’m only using 10% of my brain. Although even using 10% of my brain, I’m still in the 25% smartest people on Tinder.”
I mean, probably true but ewww.
She’s got degrees and masters and scholarships and awards and an ex-girlfriend doing something very, very, very important for the Government. She’s spent years abroad fixing economies or cities or the entire human race, or something. At one point we’re chatting about school and I ask about her A-levels.
“You don’t want to know,” she says smugly.
“No, go on,” I urge.
“I mean, I can brag if you want…”
No, that won’t be necessary, thank you.
I curl up in my shell. I feel small and a bit useless with my normal job and normal brain. My spark shrinks and slopes off with its tail between its legs. Eventually she picks up on the odd vibe.
“Is everything okay?” she asks.
“It’s just, it’s all a bit…intimidating. You’re so confident,” I say.
“I’m not confident, I’m terrified! I think everyone who’s walking past our table is laughing at me. It’s all an act.”
Huh. I’m not sure what to think, really. Maybe the arrogance is a self-defence mechanism? Maybe I need to wriggle a finger under the chink in her armour and wrench it back to get at the tender woman within. We leave the bar and linger awkwardly next to the station, not sure where we are, dithering and shuffling our feet like a couple of teenagers. Eventually my libido pipes up: Well, if you two mugs aren’t going to do anything, I will.
It leans in for a kiss: There, that’s better.
I’m still not sure to be honest, but I’m willing to give this one more go in the hope that one day soon people will ask me,
“How’s your love life?”