Evening Standard - ES Magazine


Emma-Louise Boynton challenges you to date yourself this summer


Go to university, get a boyfriend. Move in with said boyfriend. Get a dog, or a cat. Buy a flat. Get engaged. Have a baby. Have another, or several.

I was a Nineties kid reared on a diet of Richard Curtis romcoms and girls’ magazines that were obsessed with boyfriends and snogging, and snogging and boyfriends. Invariably, I grew up thinking my romantic life would, and must, follow a very specific trajectory. I had designed my white, lace wedding dress by the age of 10 in preparatio­n.

To all intents and purposes, I am thus failing. I just turned 30 and I’m single, my womb is without child (praise be) and I do not own a flat with my betrothed, but instead rent an astronomic­ally overpriced two-bed with my best friend. A joyous state of affairs on all counts, but utterly incongruen­t with the life I thought I must have in order to be happy. And herein lies the problem.

In a society set up for couples — with two-for-one meal deals and tax breaks for the married — there’s great pressure to partner up, or bloody well die trying. Even the language used around coupledom — my ‘better half’ or ‘significan­t other’ — suggests that being single implies being incomplete, a half-formed thing.

I opt out.

I’ve deleted my dating apps and this summer you’ll find me climbing mountains, swimming in lakes and doing all the adventures I once thought I needed a partner to enjoy, but am now relishing doing solo. I cordially invite you to join me. But just to be clear, it won’t be a date.

 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom