A lot of my married friends find it hard to imagine what a single person does with herself during a solitary evening. It seems almost inconceivable that one would choose not be part of a jolly, lively home, full of people, with something happening every second of the day.
And yes, there are those days when one is willing to honestly answer 101 questions on an Internet dating site in the search for the perfect mate and the perfect family – only for the screen to turn black before displaying the message “Sorry. There is no one in the world suitable for you. Thanks for all the time you spent answering our questionnaire, and good luck!”
However, I can safely reveal the mysteries of the solitary evening. One interesting evening sport is mattress wrestling. In the old days a mattress was just a stuffed bag upon which the tired body rested. Nowadays, a mattress is a sleeping project. It comes complete with turning instructions: January and July one side and April and October on the other.
The turning helps the mattress stay in good shape, and the turner too. However, trying to get a queen size orthopeadic mattress to change position can be likened to a wrestling match between two, very unequal opponents.
However, with a bit of levering and heaving, it is possible to get the weighty, uncooperative piece of bed furniture to eventually point in the right direction. And a good thirty minutes of the solitary evening is well used up.
When not working on the bed, it is possible to engage in a private, anti-fashion parade. This involves raiding the wardrobe for all those fashion mistakes that one has acquired over the years, usually while on holiday.
Then all you have to do is try the bits on in a number of combinations to see if there is any way they can succeed in making a decent outfit. The chances of successfully redeeming any of your fashion disasters are slim, but the chances of collapsing into gales of laughter as you “admire” yourself in the mirror are high – and if they never enjoy any life outside the closet at least they will be worth their weight in amusement. And another hour of the solitary evening is gone!
If you are not afraid of talking to yourself, pretending to be a reality TV chef is an option. If you are really serious about it you can harness the smartphone to a tripod and tape your mini cookery movie.
Food can be much more fun when you adopt the flourishing gestures of the TV cook during its preparation: the dramatic chopping, the geometric pouring of oils, sensuous tasting and lip-smacking, and, above all, the continuous chatter. More reasons to laugh if you actually dare to try it out. Another hour used up.
Now you are probably a little tired, so a soothing activity like sorting stuff will do. The average home is chock-full of things that need to be organised, whether spoons, stockings, stocks or seasoning. So go on empty the contents of that messy drawer onto the carpet and start sorting. At least it will remind you why, decades ago, you learned those basic skills: the alphabet, counting, and arranging things into their relative sizes.
At last your parent’s investment in putting you through kindergarten will start to pay. Your house will also be much neater and bedtime will be closer still. And you have not spent even a moment on Facebook or Twitter!
Now it is time to wind down. Music is a good choice, whether it is the do-it-yourself kind or the playlist type. As Shakespeare wrote, “If music be the food of love, play on.” Music and loneliness are mutually exclusive.
The good thing is that alone in the house, no one minds if you sing out of tune, dance offbeat, or mix classical music, sixties pop and Isaac Hayes’ crooning on the same playlist. If all else fails you can turn from the score and direct the Anglepoise lamp onto the wall and spend your last few waking minutes designing shadow puppets!
Get a life this Saturday!