Seeing double

As you get older, it’s a fact that more and more people around you get coupled up. Scrolling through Facebook, you find that one of your few remaining single pals is now ‘in a relationship’. Your ‘in a relationship’ friends have suddenly changed their status to ‘engaged’. Just today, I saw a that a boy I went to primary school with, who I once asked to marry me (he said no, because he wanted to marry his cousin. The rejection!) is HAVING A BABY. Not with his cousin mind you, but shocking all the same. I knew him when he was five years old, and now he’s having a child!

It’s a good thing. I am really happy that everyone is finding happiness, blah blah blah. But sometimes, all this ‘coupleness’ can make you feel very, very single.

When I moved to London, part of my decision was to get away from Couple Land. Don’t get me wrong – I really, really love my married friends. But I know I’m not going to meet MY Mr Right, playing Scrabble and drinking wine with my grown-up buddies as they stay in on a Friday night. I thought London might be an escape from that – a chance to meet up with a different crowd, hang out with some fun single people, flirt, hook up, and all that jazz.

But as I put together my guest list for my birthday celebrations on Saturday night, I realised the location may have changed, but the situation is much the same. Just about EVERYONE I know here is in a serious relationship. Of a group of ten people invited to drink margaritas with me for my birthday, just two other guests were single.

Depressing, but I’m not alone, right? There were two others sharing my plight! Three out of ten – that’s almost a third! Safe in that statistical justification I put on my prettiest dress, threw on some hot pink lipstick and prepared to have a wonderful night, reveling in my single (and totally normal) fabulousness.

Yep, those other two singles? They totally hooked up.

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Foot & mouth

I’ve been here just over a week now, and I’m really starting to feel the London love. It could be the sunny weather and the centuries-old architecture. It could be the adorable little girls with English accents I hear singing on the tube. Well, all of those things are playing a part. But the main reason I’m starting to feel happy here, is my feet.

Before I arrived, I fantasised about the stylish outfits I’d wear while swanning around London. I’d stop double-decker buses in their tracks! My more sensible friends warned me that style wouldn’t cut it. Shoes, they told me, had to be flat and practical. So, I took their advice on board. I bought the most gorgeous, sequined flats you’ve ever seen, and a cute pair of sandals for all the picnics and garden parties I’d be immediately invited to. I was London ready!

Well, they lasted two days. Two days before my feet were in absolute agony. Gorgeous sequined flats do look wonderful, but it turns out they’re not cut out for long walks to the tube, seven flights of stairs down to the platform, seven flights of stairs back up, and then the walk to wherever you’re going. And cute little sandals offer little support as you wander aimlessly around London, wondering where the hell Buckingham Palace is, but refusing to consult the map, in case anyone realises you’re lost.

So this week, practicality won. I sucked up the little dignity I had left, waved farewell to my fashionable ideals, and bought myself some sneakers. Pink, of course. They break every style-rule I’ve ever adhered to and make me look like an awkward 14 year old girl, but my god, they are comfortable. Like pillows for my feet!

So I was taking the tube home tonight, enjoying my well-supported feet and generally feeling pretty good about things. Standing in front of me were a couple, holding hands and smiling at each other. Lovely, I thought. The man – let’s call him Beardie – leaned in for a kiss. The woman – let’s called her Blondie – gave him a quick peck and laughed. I swooned. Romance! On the Underground!

But then, it started to get weird. Beardie kissed Blondie on the cheek. Then, he kissed her on the eyelids. Weirdo! Then, and I am not kidding you here, he started to lick her face. That’s right. HE LICKED HER FACE. ON THE TUBE.

I was appalled. But like a car crash, I could not look away. When Beardie began sucking on Blondie’s nose, I started to wonder if he was going to eat her face right off. I mean, there’s public displays of affection, but a public display of cannibalism? That’s surely not OK!

When he started chewing on her jumper, I began laughing out loud. And here’s what I learned on the tube tonight – licking your girlfriend’s face? Acceptable Underground behaviour. Laughing out loud while standing by yourself? Crazy, apparently.

And if public face-licking is some weird British dating custom, book me a flight home, stat! At least I’ve got comfy shoes for the trip.