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Hangovers and the single girl

May 3, 2010

This story is about a girl named Zeddles. Last night Zeddles went through the rituals of the single girl preparing for a night out. She chose her outfit as she sipped a too-strong gin and diet tonic. The outfit was pretty jazzy – programmed, if she was being honest, to attract good attention. The “girls” came round and they headed out for some pre-post-pre-drinks at their local meat market pub. Already she had drunk enough for a minor hangover: Zeddles regards such imbibement as a risky investment in the night. Because nothing is more infuriating than the feeling of the single girl’s empty, fruitless, pointless hangover – though there’s nothing more worthwhile than the intoxicated night that leads to interesting results. That’s the gamble, and Zeddles knows it all too well.

But that empty hangover is exactly what she woke up with this morning. An investment in a night that didn’t quite repay. She knows that you’re supposed to go out for the sake of it and not be looking for men, attention, excitement, or anything else like that. But let’s be honest, she likes to say. When you’re 27, at your prime on every level, with the clock ticking until you’re less attractive, more wrinkled and have less options, being ignored just completely sucks. Now, when Zeddles refers to that ticking clock, she is not talking about anything biological – she couldn’t be further from being in touch with that orological apparatus – but about the sense that life is short and this is the time to maximise its most exotic-tasting fruits. The hedonistic ones: sometimes sweet, sometimes sour, sometimes bittersweet.

Anyway, this kind of thinking, thinks Zeddles, has a backlash effect. Because it causes a kind of impatience that results in a vibe that – although subtle – seems to be repellent.

Which must be how she found herself in a sudden rage, tearing up, in the middle of a crowded bar last night. She is not prone to rages, but in her teenager years, when she felt earmarked as a romantic reject, she did often feel fury along the lines of “why can’t I be one of those girls” or “why can’t anyone pay attention to me?” Anyway, last night and ten years later, suddenly, a swoop of self-righteous superiority attacked her. Who were THESE people to ignore ME? NOW? With so much under the bridge, so long-gone as the teenager no one fancied. Yet still? Like a child having a temper tantrum Zeddles wanted to stamp her foot and yell.

She scanned the shifting room again. There were no sympathetic faces, no interested eyes to validate her outfit and her 27-year-old, almost 28-year-old self. Her recent hunch that being assertive is the only way forwards in some environments was proved wrong – for Zeddles went up to four different people that caught her eye, and was wholly rejected or cast aside by each. One had to take beer to his friend. Another might have been gay. He was certainly French. Another was there to help his girlfriend, who was the DJ. And another merely answered her question about his nationality with a one word answer before going on his steely way.

Zeddles was done being nice. She became angry. She stomped over to her flatmate who was being adored by some squat Lothario and announced she was going, with genuine emotion quite unsuited to the environment, coupled with a proclamation that she hated men and was sick of this rubbish and what was the point and she was wasting her youth and beauty and awesomeness – which, indeed, plenty of other men have appreciated, and recently, too. She could have been shimmying it up with some attractive Italians in Shoreditch. Now, instead of trying to be charming to the guys around her, Zeddles ignored them in order to vent – indeed they were now part of rant. Not caring. And it felt great. Pretence was over. Miss Nice Girl, over.

And so Zeddles and some cronies left and were home by 3AM and now she’s hungover, because she was drinking neat vodka while wondering around that room full of unappreciative, unfriendly men.

The moral of the story for single ladies like Zeddles? Don’t sweat it. And don’t go on nights out with even a shadow of a mission. You’ll end up empty handed and, instead of not really minding, you’ll feel cheated, and dangerously in touch with your ungainly teenage self. More to the point that hangover will be the worse for it.

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