You get to choose the film, the cinema, the time. No one bothers you with stupid questions about the plot. You don’t pay double the amount for one ticket because it would look immature and stingy to have them pay you back now, given that we’re all working adults. It also makes you look wildly self-assured and confident. And you don’t have to share your Minstrels.
You don’t get dragged into shops you have no interest in. You don’t have to wait for hours while someone tries on a) a selection of clothes you want and can’t afford, b) a selection of clothes you know the other person will spend twelve years umming and aahhhing over while you kill yourself because there is nowhere to sit down. Go shopping on your own. Spend too long in the herb aisle in Waitrose with no judgement. Pick things up and put them down with your headphones on. Meander.
Most of us want to be comforted when we’re crying… or do we? Can you really let yourself go when there’s someone else around patting you and saying everything will be OK? Can you go into wailing freefall, showering everything in an undignified hailstorm of tears and mucus? Can you take a sneak peak in the mirror to check how hideous you look (and your eye make-up situation)? Can you secretly, for just a few moments, pretend you’re in a film and this is a dramatic scene where you have found out that you’ve only got six weeks to live? No, you can’t. Get rid of the onlookers.
Nothing nicer than snuggling up to some lovely person you love who loves you. Except being able to go full starfish if you feel like it, have the window open if you feel like it, have the light on to read when you can’t sleep if you feel like it, have the thinner duvet if you feel like it, not getting kicked, not getting woken by snoring, not feeling death-rage that they are sleeping all through your insomnia hours of doom, not wondering how they turned into a human incinerator capable of producing volcanic levels of body heat.
Cooking is never a truly joint effort – there is always a boss. And a helper. Which means slave. And brings out the most controlling side in all of us. I mean, is there anything worse than someone who chops vegetables differently to you? Or who didn’t put enough water in that pan or has left those peas boiling for fifteen minutes. Or who washed up to be helpful but didn’t do a thorough job, which now means you’ll have to a) sound grateful, b) do it all again. Or worse still, stacks the dishwasher inefficiently. Or changes how you do it (an act of aggression). Cooking is never teamwork. It’s a myth.
Going red in the face and panting like you’re dragging a plane as you haul your exhausted self around the gym is not the perfect setting for a social encounter. Nor is trying to have a conversation on the cross trainer. You can’t listen to your Now, That’s What I Call Music download of classic songs from the Nineties if you go running with someone. You’ll overdo it and show off, probably pulling something. Just sweat on your own. It’s better.
The car is the place where your true (horrible) personality can prevail. It is a sacred space in which to sing loudly and shoutily swear at other drivers even when you are in the wrong. It is always a shame to compromise. “Can you give me a lift?” Oh God. “Of course!”