It’s all cider and fuckparties from here

Image by the heroic Stuart F Taylor

When I tweet out blog posts I wrote this time last year, I am often struck by the howling sadness that I was pouring out onto these pages at the time. I figured a more balanced view from the future might be helpful, perhaps in the form of a letter to my past self. So one night I got drunk and wrote exactly that. Edited sober, because I’m professional: here’s a message from my future to my past. 

It’s worth noting, Ms GOTN-from-one-year-ago, that you might be sad right now, but it’s not like you’re doomed to misery. It’s important that you understand your life is not over. In fact, come closer, I’ll give you a glimpse of what your future holds. Listen very carefully and quit weeping, mate: it’s all cider and fuckparties from here.

I actually mean it. I’m not being sarcastic. From here on in, it’s a big party where you have a lovely time and hang with people who are nice to you, and when you want to go home and rest, you can do that. Your house will be peaceful and calm, like a sanctuary. Unless you fill it with friends, in which case it’ll be raucous and the kitchen floor will get sticky with lime juice and tequila. But that’s a choice, and it’s yours. As your space is yours too. You can leave it a tip if you like. You can leave dildos drying by the sink! You can… god, it feels like heresy even to say this but… you can forget to put your tools away! You have just one pillow on your bed (the best one), and you can put it wherever you like because the whole bed is yours!

The bed is empty, except for you. He will never come to it with you again.

Oh yeah, it’s also worth noting: it’s not quite the same as love. Like… LOVE love. Real, wanna-tie-my-future-to-ya love. Proper ‘he’s there for you and you can bury your face in his tummy whenever you like’ love. Full-on ‘torn between laughing at his jokes and weeping because you feel so lucky that you get to hear them’ love.

It’s not quite the same as that. Nothing could be. You are not wrong when you suspect that you’ll miss him every single day, because you absolutely will. But what you will realise is that there are so many other ways to be happy than that. And they might not be quite as powerful (they absolutely aren’t), but they’re so so much easier to achieve. You don’t need someone else to contribute – to be part of them – you just… do them. On your own.

You drink the cider. You organise the fuckparties. Remember those men who sometimes flirt with you? Some of them genuinely mean it! I know, right? It feels like a thing that couldn’t possibly be true but it is. Those men who you think might fuck you? Some of them will fuck you!

Cider. Fuckparties. I am 100% serious.

It’s not even close to the same, of course. It’s not as warm and safe. It’s not as comfortable. There is far less macaroni cheese and risotto, because it turns out you can’t be arsed to cook that stuff just for you. There is less laughter, and that’s a really massive drag. There is – and I’m so sorry to break this to you – a lot less sex. Like… so much less. Some of the men you fuck have the temerity – the fucking AUDACITY – to live outside the M25, so you can’t shag them as much as you’d like to. And one of them keeps inviting you to sex clubs and you’re definitely not ready for that but you really want him to come to your house because that’s where you keep the butt plugs.

And of course fucking is not the same. You’re right about that too – it won’t be the same for a very long time. Even the best sex (and there’s some really great sex) is never gonna be the sex you had with the man you’d practiced with for ten years (and who was, let’s face it, an exceptionally talented and brutal fuck of exactly the kind you love, you subby little slag, you). I know this will come as a surprise while you’re wallowing in doom and gloom, but you’ll have a brilliant time anyway.

And the freedom – oh! The freedom! You get to paint the living room how and when you want to! As I write this, your mishmash collection of furniture is piled up in the hallway so you can paint the lounge and you have to clamber awkwardly over it if you want to get coffee from the kitchen, but you feel no guilt about it because who gives a fuck? Certainly not you! And you’re the only one who lives here!

You don’t have to eat takeaway five days a week or watch hours upon hours of telly. You don’t have to try and pretend you’re keen to start yet another box set when all you want to do is chat or play some MtG but oh OK yeah phew there’s a new episode of Better Call Saul so let’s do that instead.

That’s not why we broke up, by the way. The telly is just a teeny thing. It’s so small that I feel comfortable saying it here and hoping you know this isn’t me being rude about him. I was happy watching telly because I could put my legs on his lap and feel close to him and warm and secure and happy. But what’s weird is that this felt like such a teeny and inconsequential compromise in our relationship at the time, yet it brings me so much joy to not have to do it now I’m alone. I play on my phone, potter about, listen to radio 4 or Spotify, but I don’t watch much telly any more.

I mean… I’d pay a quite substantial amount of imaginary money to have him playing video games next to me while I do it, or maybe call me in from my pottering to come kneel at his feet and suck his dick when he switches over to porn but still. We absolutely cannot have everything we ever want. Freedom, pottering, Radio 4. Peace. Independence. They’re not small things.

Oh! And did I mention the cider and fuckparties? If you don’t believe me on the fuckparties, check out next Sunday’s blog. It’s literally a ‘maelstrom of fuck’, mate. Subscribe for updates.

Cider. Fuckparties. I’m telling ya.

You can go out if you want to, stay in if you want to, dance round the living room with a can in one hand and a paintbrush in the other, pissing off your neighbours with yet another impromptu Les Misérables singalong. Message men you barely know and say ‘how about it?’ or pretend that men don’t exist for a while as you batch-cook lentils into weird orange slop and shut off your brain for an evening. Eat when you’re hungry, write when you’re bored, cycle when you’re feeling anxious until one day you realise the anxiety has gone and these days you’re mostly just doing it cos it’s fun.

And you’re right: you will miss him. You will not miss ‘a boyfriend’ or ‘a relationship’: those things are laughably pointless and utter, absurd nonsense. You will miss him.

You’ll miss him so much that you will be baffled to realise he won’t ever hold you again. You may never again hear one of his jokes or get to look into his eyes or make him smile. He won’t ever come to bed with you again. Sometimes you’ll miss him so much you convince yourself he will come to bed, just to give yourself a bit of relief so you can get to sleep. So you put on The Daily podcast like you did when you were together, tuck yourself up in the bed that he bought, on the side that you used to sleep on. You’ll close your eyes tight and imagine you’re at the old house and if you listen carefully you’ll hear him playing Overwatch downstairs. You’ll allow yourself to believe for a while that all you’d need to do is reach over for your phone and text him ‘come cuddle me?’ and in fifteen seconds you’ll hear his footsteps on the stairs.

He will not be there. The him-shaped gaps in your life will howl with infinite emptiness.

The sadness runs deep, but it will not drown you.

You will put on some tunes and pick up a paintbrush and decorate the living room. You’ll go to the bar and order ciders. Invite friends over for cocktails and chat and Sound of Music singalongs. You will make suggestions and flirty requests that at some point will turn into fuckparties.

You’ll miss him. You’ll be alone. But you’ll never be lonely. You will not be scared.

You will not regret this. I promise.

And if that promise isn’t vivid enough to stick in your mind, here’s something tangible to cling to instead: a cold, fresh pint of Kingstone Press cider.

And fuck, mate. Parties.


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