How to get your flatmate to build your Ikea bed in twenty-five simple steps

Step one: buy a wrought iron princess bed from Ikea

Step two: enlist help to build it. Step back to realise it is Ikea’s idea of a 50 Shades bed, as long as it is large, and does not come with slats

Step three: sit in a bottomless giant cot and ponder what step four should be. Consider the possibility that your black silk sheets, red velvet curtains and chandelier might look a bit much against the metal bed frame

Step four: enlist help to take adult cot apart around you, and repack it

Step five: cajole your future flatmate into driving you to Ikea to swap unused sex bed for a normal bed

Step six: smile encouragingly when future flatmate says you two look like an old couple, doing the Ikea thing together

Step seven: call a friend to give advance warning that you are going to sleep with future flatmate. Cons: bad teeth and potential alcoholism. Pros: Ikea-based unarguable sexual tension (see step six) and existence of connecting balcony between rooms. Outcome: sex. Disagree with friend who says it is not unavoidable

Step eight: text future flatmate to invite him over for “apéritif” at half past midnight

Step nine: start a pre-move into the flat, after future flatmate has poured precisely the fourth glass of wine and is returning from the kitchen with another bottle tell him about step seven. Skip pros and cons, arrive directly at logical outcome.

Step ten: note that gingers do not suit a healthy blush. Resume normal conversation

Step eleven: when asked, show your tits. Resume normal conversation

Step twelve: allow future flatmate to kiss you in spite of bad teeth

Step thirteen: agree to meet “later” and dash off because you are late

Step fourteen: arrive late and drunk at your own drinks, announcing that it is because future flatmate was busy staring at your naked breasts from across your future dinner table

Step fifteen: step outside for a cigarette, say, to no one in particular, “oh, a taxi!”, run for it

Step sixteen: text future flatmate to let him know “later” is now

Step seventeen: fall asleep without sending future flatmate the address

Step eighteen: if thigh bruise and elbow graze can be reliable witnesses, assume your race for the taxi was less than graceful. Be grateful you did not let anyone know you were leaving

Step nineteen: return to bar of shame to pick up coat from cloakroom

Step twenty: move in officially. agree to flatmate’s offer of a moving-in drink at eleven am but only to cure hangover

Step twenty-one: assume martyr position in bedless bedroom until flatmate offers his bed

Step twenty-two: generously agree to share flatmate’s bed for restorative nap only

Step twenty-three: ahead of early-morning business trip departure, find a convincing argument to wake flatmate. Tea certainly is one option

Step twenty-four: interrupt convincing morning argument to depart on business trip. Promise to resume upon return. Make your exit via communicating balcony for panache

Step twenty-five: return home to find your new Ikea bed has been built

Step twenty-six: withhold promise of resuming until curtains have been hung

Step twenty-seven: be creative about ways to get your ceiling lamp done.


Unrequited lust in the 21st century

Word of the day: slimsy

flimsy; frail.

Slimsy is an Americanism. It is a combination of slim and flimsy.

Example: “Nice girl . . .” he mused, “but sort of thin and slimsy and delicate, not robust and hearty like the kind of girl you ought to have on a farm.”
(Bess Streeter Aldrich, A White Flying Bird)


Unrequited lust in the 21st century


What happened to unrequited lust? It came out of fashion when the nineties bowed out. Last time I spotted it, I was watching Four Weddings and a Funeral. And much as I love Andie MacDowell’s bouncy hair, it wasn’t her I was batting for. Hugh Grant and L’Oréal may well agree that she’s worth it. But it was Kristin Scott Thomas who stole the show. She had the bad flowery top and the hats and then suddenly she was amazing and beautiful in a sober black dress and gold bangle on the top of her arm and then we really saw her at last. Hugh Grant didn’t though. She was too smart and sophisticated for him. But the funny thing was she’d pining for him forever. Since the very first time they met, “across a crowded room, she says with an embarrassed laugh, when she finally comes clean. “It’s always been you”. Painful scene to watch:

In fact, I can’t even write ‘unrequited love’, it’s too embarrassing. It used to be all Shakespeare ever wrote about. And the rest of them. Perhaps clue number one is in the name. I’m not Shakespeare. The secret is out.  I’ve had more unrequited crushes (telling typo here: I wrote: ‘crushed’) than I care to remember. But no one else seems to be having them anymore. It used to be considered a selfless thing. Lusting after someone without expecting to even have sex with them. Now it’s just embarrassing.

If I had to establish a pattern, I would say a fair number of crushes have tended to be focused on my – younger – brother’s friends. I blame my parents for making me the eldest. I should have had an older brother. Still, my brother is generous and lent me one of his friend for half a year. But that doesn’t fit into the unrequited crushes section. My latest unrequited crush was essentially a real estate accident. I happened to move in next door (randomly, I swear) to one of the more attractive of my brother’s friends. Let’s call him SK. And promptly developed a crush. Which SK may or may not know about. (I blame my brother. I have been conditioned to have crushes on his friends.) The first time SK came over for tea (yes, that really is what he wanted to drink – perhaps everything I ever needed to know was right there in that first one-on-one meeting unchaperoned by my brother) my then-flatmate, let’s call her Helen, walked in mildly inebriated (suffice to say that she once bought a book called ‘Are you an alcoholic and you don’t know it?’) and illuminated us with her younger self’s theory that you could eat whatever you wanted because your body knew to poo out the excess.  SK gently tried to suggest (several times) that men liked to pretend that women didn’t do that. Poo, he meant. He couldn’t even say it.

We’d been having a lovely English polite and boring cup of tea. But when she didn’t take a hint (from him) and lots of frantic signalling (from me), he couldn’t get out of there fast enough. I walked him out. He suggested lunch, I said yes. And kept the victory dance inside.

I ran back to the garden where Helen was having a cigarette. And said very loudly (very unlike me): “Is it wrong that I have a crush on him?” I was barely a second too late realising SK was probably exactly at the level of our garden. To his credit, it took him nearly a year to move to another country.

But still, I didn’t take a hint. Aided by his absence, the crush developed. Not that I didn’t date other people. I’m not that crazy. But a year passed and I caught myself thinking: that wasn’t that long. And another year. I caught myself thinking: only one more year. But I’m not waiting. Of course not. Only a crazy person would. I stopped that thought right there.

Nearly another year passed. I didn’t allow myself to even think it.

Then there was a thing. I bought a dress for the thing. Eight months before the thing. Of course I wasn’t buying the dress because SK might be there. Of course not. It was a just a really good sales bargain. And I needed the dress for the thing. Because my wardrobe isn’t full of dresses.  I bought another dress. A gold one. But it wasn’t for the thing. And I had a backup. But it wasn’t for the thing either. It was a week-long thing. So I packed for three weeks. Only because I like to look good.

It was at the thing that I finally understood what ‘unrequited’ means. It means that he prefers girls with skinny wrists. (As you may have guessed, SK stands for Skinny Wrists. And I should say: I don’t have fat wrists. Bones and other such impediments mean that I will never have skinny wrists, but I do not have fat wrists. I have perfectly normal-sized wrists. In fact, so normal that until recently I had never given them this much thought. )

‘Unrequited’ means he is delighted to make out with a slimsy girl with skinny wrists and have you guess it/hear all about it. It means he doesn’t know when he hugs his mate goodbye (you) and says cheerily “see you soon”, that his mate’s heart is… Well, that’s the point. You can’t say it. Not in the 21st century, you can’t.

And that is how you find yourself recovering from – don’t say it – on a week-long ‘alone-time’ retreat in the countryside, listening to the soundtrack to Ally McBeal (and you just know you’re getting dangerously close to being her, except the skinny wrists), Baby Don’t You Break My Heart Slow on a Friday night with a glass of Amaretto writing a blog about unrequited lust instead of having sex with the object of your (unrequited) affection.

For the same reason, you find yourself saying ‘XOXOXO’ because you Googled (yes, you did) ‘how to lose chin fat’ and one of the most reasonable-sounding answers was that there are muscles in our necks that we don’t exercise much (maybe that’s just those of us who mumble? My father has always accused me of that. Now I know why I have a weak chin) and saying the letters ‘XOXOXO’ over and over again will get those muscles raring. It does. Try it. I did. I do actually have muscles in my neck. I know that now because they hurt. (I’m in the countryside. No one can hear me say my ‘XOXOXOXO’ mantra like I’m in a text-talk sect.)

And why do I want to lose the neck fat? Because SK sent me his favourite pictures of me at the thing. And I had no chin in one of them. Not much I can do about my wrists. So I’m working on my chin. SK didn’t mention anything about chins, but my guess is girls with skinny wrists have a chin. They don’t have breasts. They don’t have a bum. But they probably have a chin.

I forgot to say SK doesn’t like smokers. I’m working my way through a pack of twenty. For the second time today. Moral of the story: unrequited lust is bad for your heath. Next time you see me: you won’t be able to see me. I’ll be that skinny. In fact, thanks to the cloud of smoke in front of me I’ll be completely invisible.

Not much of a change then.


The list

The idea for It’s Sunday and I don’t have a boyfriend is courtesy of a friend who told me to rip off Sex and the City and Girls. However, before anyone threatens to sue, I have prepared a disclaimer. There are 7 reasons why It’s Sunday and I don’t have a boyfriend is neither Sex and the City or Girls and I have listed them below because I can’t afford to pay intellectual property:
1) Chloë and Ella are too young for the former and too old for the latter
2) Chloë’s Jimmy Choos say ‘made for H&M’ on the inside
3) when Chloë get a cab she moans to the driver about not being able to afford the fare and how pointless it is because she’s going to miss her train/plane/tube anyway
4) none of this takes place in the US (except if Chloë makes it big with this blog and can afford a visit – so share this blog if you want some locational variety in the future)
5) you won’t catch Chloë or Ella using the words ‘dating’ or ‘exclusive’. In other words none of the action does not take place in New York
6) where Chloë and Ella hail from there are two possible states to be in with a boy or man: your Facebook status bears the mention ‘in a relationship’ or you are just ‘seeing each other’, which probably entailed getting you drunk at the pub followed by falling into bed and doing it again until one of the two sobers up and becomes wiser for it. You’ve guessed it: most of this takes place in the UK.
7) we are not a foursome: it is just Chloë and Ella (and the male protagonists)

About Chloë and Ella:

Chloë and Ella met at school when Chloë was fifteen. Chloë and Ella were both single, then. Some things have changed. For instance they are twice as old. Other things haven’t.
Chloë sometimes wonders whether the data she has collected about men since she was fifteen has been of any use. In moments of pessimism or optimism, depending on how you look at it, Chloë has considered the idea that if she were a lesbian she would fall in love with Ella because Ella is romantic and once gave a boy an onion with the current UK poet laureate’s Valentine poem about an onion and Chloë doesn’t know any men who would give her an onion so falling in love with Ella might have solved some of her problems.


In writing this, Chloë realises there is a flaw in that plan, namely that if Ella didn’t also become a lesbian she would just be a lesbian in unrequited love with her straight friend. Based on her existing experience of unrequited lust with the opposite sex, it’s fair to assume that all sorts of very comparable awkwardness would ensue. Awkwardness is the great equaliser. Best to plough on with men, then.

About It’s Sunday and I don’t have a boyfriend:


It’s all there in the name.
More specifically, it could be called: It’s Sunday and and neither of us have a boyfriend.
Chloë’s approach is more of a all-about-the-21st-century-go-to-bed-with-whoever-you-want-and-hope-for-the-best. Ella’s approach is a no-one-night-stands-and-hope-for-the-best and might be considered smarter. But this is Chloë and Ella’s recent discovery: Chloë’s double bed may sometimes serve its purpose, and Ella may have gone through a self-described “ice-age-period”… it’s taken both of them to the same place. That place is spelled: N-O-W-H-E-R-E.
To make matters worse, both Chloë and Ella are currently working in fields where their finances are unlikely to afford them an upgrade to non-H&M designer labels anytime soon.
Chloë’s dilemma: does she hang up her feminist heels and try to find a banker willing and able to support a wife whose idea of working doesn’t include bringing home any bacon – or cooking it for that matter? The problem with that dilemma is that the only banker she ever fancied had a wife and she babysat his children. (She kept her mouth shut about that crush, before you start judging.) Another problem with that dilemma is that it remains hypothetical because having not so far successfully ‘bagged’ a regular guy, it seems that the plausibility of meeting a rich one who wants to make her his own personal charity case is somewhat reduced.
Here is a list (in no particular order) Chloë made of types not to go for in future:
– The flatmate
– The is-he-gay?
– The stuck-in-the-friend-zone
– The friends-with-benefits
– The first love
– The boyfriend
– The friend of above-mentioned
– The younger brother’s friend
– The toy boy
– The older man/the writer
– The guy-you-don’t-even-like-but-keep-going-to-bed-with-for-some-reason
– The guy who warranted this quote, lifted from a stand-up comedia: “I would call you a cunt but you’ve lacked the depth and the warmth”
– The one whose two-year-old crawls into bed with you on morning-after date three (and turns out to be a pathological liar – but the daughter was real).

Post scriptum
So now I have to figure out pseudonyms the guys on the list. Not that they would ever admit to reading something that starts with Sex and the City and Girls. Nor would any recognise himself from his tagline on the list. Because it’s a caricature of them, of course. Which doesn’t mean it’s not all true. Stil, it’s only my version. Then again, it’s not my fault the boys/men featured here are too busy shagging their girlfriends (or in one of their cases his boyfriend?) to write their own version. Not that it would be the right version.

Word of warning: don’t start following this blog unless you’re in it for the long haul: we won’t stop It’s Sunday and I don’t have a boyfriend until one of us has had 500 Sundays of Boyfriend.

(After Ella’s married, I’ll just make it a one-woman show. Meanwhile, you can follow Chloe and Ella and guest bloggers