Lockdown. It’s a bitch, isn’t it? Can’t go to the pub, can’t see your friends, trapped inside your four walls unable to decide between watching Buffy again from the beginning or having your fourth wank of the day, having to queue outside Sainsbury’s for over an hour getting breathed on by potentially pestilent strangers… Yes, these are strange and difficult times for us all.
But if you’re single, and especially if you also live alone, these are possibly the strangest and most difficult times of all. Gone is your social life. Gone is any form of human interaction. Gone is any reason to get dressed, wash, or even get out of bed. Life is on pause, and it’s fucking shit. Shit for everyone, agreed, but in many ways particularly shit for single people.
Here are ten reasons why.
1/ 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. Lucy has to make do with hugs from mates and doing yoga badly enough that the teacher will come over to adjust her posture. But in these fucked-up times even those small scraps of contact have been ripped away. A Facetime chat can’t squeeze you. An online fitness instructor can’t straighten your downward dog. After nearly a month home alone Lucy’s so starved of human interaction she’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.
2/ No sex
Ok, for Lucy it wasn’t really on the table all that much anyway… but at least it was there as a possibility. The 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. Zip. Zilch. No possibility of any action at all. Not even an ill-advised hook-up with an ex or part-time fuckbuddy, because no matter which way you slice it, Lucy doesn’t think the police will accept ‘I needed to get laid’ as a necessary journey.
And to add insult to injury, there are couples everywhere! Couples holding hands in the park, couples on 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 fucking quit whining 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 Lucy’s reduced to lusting after fellow joggers and dreaming of one day managing to get a Tesco delivery slot just so a man will come and knock on her door.
3/ You look like shit
With no job to get dressed for, and no one at home to see her, Lucy has immediately devolved into Neanderthal-levels of disarray. Gone is the polish, the poise, the neatly-styled hair and carefully-applied make-up. She lives alone, so there’s no point in getting dressed – pyjamas are much more comfy anyway. Doesn’t matter if she smells like a landfill site – no one’s around to notice. Hair greasier than a McDonald’s kitchen? Until her scalp gets itchier than a bad case of thrush, who cares?
But every time she passes a mirror and is forced to look at herself, skin sallow from lack of daylight, eyebrows like two hairy caterpillars, and three inches of roots on display, she rediscovers that this is the real her. The nice clothes and the pretty hair and makeup are all an illusion. In reality, she’s 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 she really looks like, why has she been trying to find a boyfriend? Even if she does find a guy she likes, one day he’ll stay over and see her like this, and then he’ll run away so fast he’ll leave scorch marks on the stairwell carpet.
Yep, definitely dying alone.
4/ 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 incompetent Matt Hancock and that smug witch Priti Patel. No one to laugh with. No one to cry with. The only person Lucy gets to talk face-to-face to these days is the checkout guy on her weekly grocery shop, but she doesn’t think he really wants to get involved in a political discussion or help her decide which Prime series to watch next.
Of course she can do Zoom chats or Facetime, but they’re not the same. First, Lucy has to see herself in the chat window – and it’s bad enough looking like a troll doll that fell behind a radiator without having to face that horror every time she wants to talk to a friend. Second, people on video chat rarely give her 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 Lucy 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 kitchen today. Have you heard there’s a pandemic on?’ Riveting stuff.
5/ 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 Lucy’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 round the block on the rare occasions that she can be bothered to put on shoes.
Not that gaining weight would be a disaster. After all, now that Lucy’s realised she’s going to be single forever, there’s nothing wrong with allowing her body to morph into comfortable chubbery. Or there wouldn’t be, if it weren’t for all of social media haughtily informing her that she should be using this time to get End-Of-Lockdown-Body Ready. Instagram Hiit workouts. Twitter diet plans. The government’s 1 hour of prescribed exercise. Joe Fucking Wicks. Why can’t they just leave her alone to eat Nutella out of the jar in peace?!
6/ You’re doing nothing and being shamed for it
When social media isn’t making Lucy feel shit for slowly morphing into a potato, it’s busy making her feel shit for not improving herself in other ways. ‘Take up an instrument!’ enthuses Instagram. ‘Learn a language!’ hoots the Duolingo owl. ‘Write a novel! Shakespeare wrote King Lear!’ 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 weeks 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 Tiger King or lying in bed scrolling 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.
7/ Dating apps are full of bored people
If you’re single, you might think now is the perfect time for her to go back on the apps. Single people stuck home alone are realising how nice it would be to have someone, and everyone has plenty of time to devote to chatting, so it’ll be easy. Maybe Lucy can’t meet someone face-to-face right now, but she can definitely line up a string of potential future husbands, ready to meet them the second she’s 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. While Lucy may have an idyllic fantasy of matching with a Ryan-Gosling lookalike who falls for her over Skype before they eventually leap into each other’s arms in an emotional first meeting as soon as lockdown ends, she knows that’s not 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 even those that can will either go back to their wives and girlfriends, or sleazily proposition you for sex the second the rules are eased.
8/ Virtual dating in the seventh circle of hell
Even if you do manage to match with someone and get chatting, virtual dating is no better than IRL dating ever was. You’d think it’d be easy – you don’t need to commit to a specific time, everyone is free ALL DAY, you don’t even have to pick a pub, FFS. And yet people still can’t manage to commit to a date, they still cancel at the last minute, and that’s even more fucking infuriating than normal because you bothered to wash and change out of your pyjamas for no fucking 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 fucking depressed.
Far better 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’ are already doing the rounds of the internet, 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 miss your chance!’
Well fuck you, FOMO demon. These stories probably aren’t even true.
9/ Lockdown makes you realise everyone is a dick
For a long time Lucy dreamed of meeting some wonderful man who would make her laugh and be kind and generous and thoughtful. And then lockdown happened, and she realised that was going to be impossible, because everyone is a cunt. From the toilet paper stockpilers, to the selfish twats sunbathing in the park, to her friends who never call, to the fuckwits 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 a nice one, because there literally aren’t any 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 Lucy and her laptop, her TV, and her fridge. Not dissimilar, in fact, to how her life has pretty much been for the last five 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 her 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 Lucy anything positive, it’s that she’s actually really good at being single. She’s used to her own company, comfortable in her own space, easily able to occupy her time, and completely independent. She might be an extrovert, but it turns out she’s quite good at being an introvert too. Turns out people are much less annoying when they’re kept at a distance.
Sorry if this all got a bit depressing, but don’t worry. In spite of all of this, being single also has a tonne of benefits! I wanted to include them here, but this post is already too long. So here’s Part 2 – 10 Reasons Why Lockdown Is Great If You’re Single.
Now go get a drink – and thanks for reading!