The first rule to being a single pringle and being happy is to stick your middle finger up to the huge PR crisis which the single girl has unwillingly fallen victim to ever since...well ever. I'm talking Bridget Jones dripping lonely tears into her Ben & Jerry's Phish Food, I'm talking "Jennifer Aniston when will you have a kid god dammit" and 3 series of us laughing at the tragic spinster Miranda.
As soon as we reject this tragic portrayal of a single woman and put an end to this immediate association with being single with being unhappy can we truly begin to be single and happy. Because the thing is, being single can be great. Once you finish crying tears into your Ben & Jerry's tub (after you've finished it of course) and you've sobbed your way through the Notebook whilst polishing off all that leftover Christmas prosecco wailing into the darkness about how you will never have a Noah and Allie love story (*spoiler alert: neither will your friends in actual relationships - that shit's just for Hollywood*), you soon realise that there truly is no better time to be single than in your twenties.
So here's my guide on how to make the best of your single years at at time when your Grandma is on the verge of a nervous breakdown if you turn up to one more family event without a partner and everyone is desperately trying to set you up with their cousin's best friend's Uncle's Son...
1. SAY YES TO EVERYTHINGOne of the greatest things about being single is not having to divide your time between you and your other half. Want to spend 12 hours binge watching Prison Break? go right ahead honey. Want to piss off to Australia for 6 months to "find yourself', you go Felicia and have a holiday romance with Jon the Aussie from your hostel while you're at it. The beauty of having nobody to consider in your life decisions is that you can be completely and utterly selfish with your time and there honestly is no better time to revel in that, than in your twenties. Because that time will soon be robbed from us when further down the line we are married with kids and suddenly our lives take a backseat and our idea of being spontaneous is getting a takeaway on a Thursday night rather than waiting until Friday. When you're in a relationship, constantly having to consider your other half's feelings can limit what you do and that element of spontaneity in your life is lost. There's a reason why more single people go travelling than those in relationships after all, so if an opportunity arises to travel or to relocate, than grab it with both hands.
THE WORLD TINDER IS YOUR OYSTER
I myself have a very vocal love/hate relationship with Tinder. But despite the assholes I have to entertain on it and all the fake laughs I have had to put into practice on very mediocre dates, there is an element of fun and spontaneity attached to it and there's something very satisfying about knowing that you can log-on to Tinder at any time, from any place and arrange a date within a matter of hours. Tinder brings out the sassier alter-ego in me I never knew existed (I think we'll call her Shakira) and I quite like it. Many Friday evenings have been spent painting my face in the bathroom at work and dousing my body in Chanel Chance, ready for a night of cocktail consuming and outrageous flirting and I really bloody enjoy the adrenalin dating brings with it. You never truly know who's gonna turn up to your date and that's where the excitement lies. Will I fancy them? Will I want to slap them? Will they get really drunk and cry about their ex to me? Will I want to jump on them? Will we both get so drunk we end up in McDonald's demolishing a Big Mac together at 2am? Who knows Shakira. The world is your oyster with Tinder, so do yourself a favour and embrace it honey. Do it for the 80 year old Nan's out there that are still stuck with the first man they ever kissed from youth group because their only option was Dave with the receding hairline at 21, or Kevin with the dodgy eyes and as a consequence, have had to live a lifetime of trimming their hubby's ever-growing nose hairs.
3. SPENDING TIME ALONE CAN BE FUN
There's more to life than waking up to the smell of the same person's scalp everyday, so before this becomes your sad, sad reality, starfish to your heart's content, roll around in those biscuit crumbs in your bed without judgement and carpe-diem your singledom. Re-read the entire Harry Potter set whilst rolling around in those crumbs, watch every Netflix original series that exists and spend your weekends getting paralytic at a bottomless brunch with all your single pals, whilst your friends in relationships spend their Sunday's strolling round Morrisons for 2 hours arguing over air freshener scents to mask the smell of his disgusting shits, before meal prepping their food for the week and changing the bedsheets...that shit cray. These are your years to do all the things you've always wanted to do and you don't always need a partner in crime to do that, despite everybody insisting you do. If you're in alone on a Saturday night, rather than crying about it and begrudgingly lowering your standards on Tinder so you're guaranteed a 90% response rate, run yourself a bath, light yourself some candles (just not that Jo Malone one - that shit's for decoration), devour a whole family size bag of Maltesers without judgement and watch whatever the hell you like on Netflix. Wanna watch The Princess Diaries and get in a strop with your Nan because she hasn't turned up at your door informing you that you're actually the Princess of Genovia, then be my guest. Revel in 'me time' and never feel sad for doing so.
4. LOVE THYSELF
The biggest secret to being single and happy is to love thyself. Being single often results in you (or your Nan) wondering what's wrong with you. Am I too sassy? Too Tall? Too curvy? Too different? Too weird? Are those Instagram likes on that selfie lying to me on the daily? And I say to hell with that. Just because you're single does not instantly infer that there must be something wrong with you, or insinuate that nobody wants you, like so many of us are made to believe by the media. (I feel your pain Jen). Men aren't intimidated by you like your friends insist on telling you, you just haven't found the right person for you yet. Ladies, Rihanna is single, so honestly we got this, we good. So rather than wasting time wondering what's wrong with you and sobbing to your Mum about how nobody loves you (trust me I've done this), invest that time elsewhere and indulge in a little bit of self-love. Because if nobody else does, I like me. I think I'm rather funny, I make myself laugh on the daily at least. I think I'm alright looking, I mean probably a solid 6, sometimes a 7 with the right lighting and I am a good laugh. I am certainly not a girl to just have on your arm that's for sure. I can hold a conversation, I have cracking banter and am easily pleased (this isn't a subtle find me on Tinder I'm the girl of your dreams add by the way fellas) and on the psycho girlfriend scale, I'd firmly position myself the opposite end to Megan Mckenna. All in all I'd say I'm a rather good catch and most importantly, I like me and I'm the one who has to spend 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with me. So rather than worrying about what's wrong with yourself, worry about the poor sod who is currently plodding along through life missing out on your shitty jokes and Nigella cooking skills (just without the sexy voice) and love thyself.
Although it may not feel like it at certain times (especially not on Valentine's Day), singledom is a precious commodity and will be snatched from you before you know it, so rather than wasting this precious commodity by moaning about it and wishing it away, bathe in all it's glory and make the most of this beautiful time of spontaneity, self-exploration and selfishness. Wake up in a stranger's bed in Clapham if that's what you wanna do. Quit your job and move to Australia for a year if that's what you wanna do, hell, that's what everybody else seems to be doing these days. Just go out there and grab singledom by the balls before your life becomes a joint bank account and shopping for the bed which you'll have to share for the rest of your life (crumbs and all).