Having just filled out my census and being an avid follower and consumer of the ideas espoused on Twitter I have taken note of a lot of talk about how depressing it is to live alone. Obviously a lot of this was tongue in cheek – a healthy sideswipe and the foibles of modern life. Some of it was probably fishing for dates; as if saying “Hey, I have my own dwelling. Come and remove my pants in a loving yet non-committal way!”
Some of it though appeared to be genuinely heart-felt. It seemed to me that some people were genuinely upset by the fact that they lived alone and by association were alone and it had taken filling out a form about the number of people living in their dwelling for them to realise this. Or, more likely, they were upset some time before the census forms arrived. In fact, the census form arriving was probably a glimmer of hope because if they received their forms in the way I did, they were actually delivered by a real-life Other Person.
The thing is; they have it all wrong. Living alone is totally righteous. Maybe they have forgotten how righteous, or maybe they just don’t have their head in the right thinking-scape and maybe they need reminding. Maybe they don’t too, but we won’t address that option because as you have probably worked out by now, I am going to do a list of reasons why it is righteously badarse and palatable to live by yourself.
Before you say what I think you are going to say I will glare at you and, remind you that this is a family weblog. I’ll also add that I used to do that in the lounge when I lived with other people anyway so it’s hardly relevant.
Having no pants
As I have posited in a previous weblog entry pants are a bit, well, pants. Not wearing pants is better than wearing the most amazing pair of pants and I think this is a pretty well established fact.
Now, I have tended to walk around in my undergarments when I have lived with other people and I imagine most of you have too so you might argue that you can still have this luxury while also having someone else chipping in on the internet bill. Well, okay, you are right, but how many flats have you lived in where you could walk about not wearing anything? Any? Okay, any flats where you didn’t wake up six months later with your bank accounts emptied, a sense you had been taken for a ride both spiritually and financially, and a feeling that even mainstream religion was better than this cultist nightmare?
No, no you haven’t.
“But I live with my partner or significant other and he/she is totally groovy with my naked body” I hear you warble.
Okay, point taken, and I’ll keep that in mind as we move through the list.
Just a note about the ‘no garments on the lower half’ thing: if you tell people that you do this you may find that when these people are guests in your home they may be reluctant to sit on sofas. People tend to equate ‘not wearing any clothes’ with ‘inadequate wiping’.
Not cleaning things up
When you were a child you asked yourself and any authority figure who requested it of you, why do we even need to clean up when we just make a mess again? No matter what answer was given to you, it was wrong. Yet somewhere along the line we came to accept that cleaning up after yourself was necessary and, as part of the socialisation process, we came to accept that regardless of its futility we needed to be tidy for other people.
Well, if you remove yourself from the socialisation process then you no longer need to tidy up. Fact.
“What about hygiene, what about disease?” I hear you shriek unreasonably.
Well, okay, don’t get to the stage where there is a rotting horse carcass in the lounge and the toilet is backed up and belching human waste all over the mezzanine. Thing is though, there is a massive middle-ground between ‘fly-blown scum pit’ and the level of anal tidiness people have come to expect in shared living spaces. For instance, you don’t need to do dishes, and you don’t need, really, to vacuum or clean the floor, yet most people I have lived with have required this of me and it is a bit poo.
When you live by yourself you can be as loud as you want when you want. If I want to come home at 6AM with people I have met at a night-club to get twisted as a cockroach and blast minimal techno I can, there is no-one who can stop me and no-one to complain. Conversely, if I have no friends because I am always jerking off in the lounge and positing my weird opinions and I want to play The Sopranos at top volume and wail loudly about my loneliness, I can. No problems, no-one to tut-tut me.
“But what about the neighbours?” I hear you mutter. Like a dick.
Firstly, why are you asking me all these questions and what are you doing here? Secondly, the cold hard fact of the matter is no-one actually cares about their neighbours. I mean, sure, you’d care if they were murdered or they were trapped in their house while it is burning but beyond that you don’t. Unless they are your friends and if they are your friends they get you and thus don’t have a problem with any of the aforementioned activities.
Let’s be honest, it’s no skin off their buttocks how noisy/annoying/off your head you are because there is a wall and (hopefully) no internal door between you and them. If they do, they are a dick. Therefore, you don’t care what they think.
Logic my dear Watson. Is your name Watson?
It is now.
No silly arguments
The thing about living with people is you always end up fighting about dumb things. The thing about living by yourself is you don’t.
All the adages like ‘never flat with mates’ or ‘don’t screw the crew’ or ‘people get weird about you watching them sleep’ stem from the fact that if you live with people there are terse boundaries that are volatile and hard to negotiate.
Normally reasonable people become obsessed with how much hot water there is, who gets the most use out of the Sky Channels, and who ate the Black Forest Gateau in the fridge that had a Post-it note on it saying ‘Don’t Eat Fuckwads! This is for my mother. Who is in hospital’. Live by yourself, and the stress of these confrontations melt away like so much cake-icing left on the bench on a hot summer afternoon.
The best thing about living by yourself is you can develop all sorts of weird idiosyncrasies that would annoy, intrigue, or arouse mockery from, other people.
If you want to go to the toilet every hour, on the hour, you can. No one says anything. If you want to turn your whole house into a giant war-game where you play every battle of World War Two simultaneously with yourself; using plastic soldiers and to-scale maps, you can.
“But I live with someone who really gets me, we are soul mates” I hear you annoyingly chime in again.
Well, no. No you don’t. You live with a person who gets you within certain parameters. They may even love you outside of those parameters, nice.
However, if you watch every episode of the West Wing back to back for as long as it takes and insist the only breaks in the viewings are to order pizza, which has now become your staple diet, see how long it is from this point that they want to live with you.
Then tell me about a successful relationship that continued after one party moved out of the shared home.