I don’t write this blog alone in a darkened room. Instead, I alienate strangers at parties by asking them over cheese straws whether they feel lonely. Loneliness is a common human experience. It’s big in the ‘25-35 London house parties’ demographic. You voted on Twitter for the first topic in the ‘Big Scary Word’ series. Loneliness won by a landslide otherwise reserved for Russian presidents.
I didn’t start having good sex until my early twenties. I lost my virginity at sixteen, complying with government legislation on the matter. I’d wrongly been led to believe that if I consensually did the sex before my sweet sixteenth, a police squad accompanied by a Channel 4 film crew would burst through my door. I’d be behind bars, watching myself star in the fictional documentary “Britain’s Teens: Young, Dumb and Full of Cum”, probably narrated by Dr Christian Jessen.
Content note: self-harm, eating disorders, suicide, hospitalisation.
It was the best of times; it was the clinically depressed of times.
Mental illness can fracture friendships. Friends may struggle to find the right words to say. They may feel helpless or frustrated. This week is a celebration of friendship blossoming through mental illness. Too often, those with mental health problems are imagined as isolated figures, head in their hands as they sit alone.
The friend zone isn’t real. You can’t jump on the number 18 bus, ride six stops to the friend zone and buy yourself a KFC Zinger meal. The friend zone is a fairytale and KFC has run out of chicken. Welcome to the world, baby. For the benefit of those without Google and my wide-eyed mother, I’ll quickly describe the friend zone.
At primary school, friendships were easy. You befriended the person who sat next to you in registration. This secured your bond for the next seven years through the alphabetical order of the British schooling system. You slowly killed your Tamagotchis together. You traded Pokémon cards illicitly on the playground. You stole pick ‘n mix from Woolworths, thus ensuring the collapse of the franchise. Then, breasts, Twitter and iPhones happened. We’re not on the playground anymore, Dorothy.
If you think about feet for too long, they start to look really strange. Why do we have this other pair of hands at the bottom of our legs? Why is my second toe stepping out of line and acting like it’s the big toe? Who are these people picking up pens with their toes and how do we kick them out of our homes?
The same is true of love. Stay with me.