THE GHOSTING

If you’ve reached the end of your twenties without coming into contact with a ghost, then lucky you. You smashed it. Congratulations on not having to have endured that sort of strange silent rejection, because let me tell you, it’s pretty weird when it happens.

I mean, it’s never happened to me in a romantic sense, but I have been ghosted by a friend.

Yep, that’s right, one moment things were (albeit not entirely as rosy as they once were) fine. We had drifted a little but we were both busy and she had just got into a new relationship. The next moment? I wasn’t getting a reply to messages. I kept trying and all I got was either nothing or a, ‘Yep, maybe we’ll see each other soon’. No kiss.

I’ve asked mutual mates and they’ve said they’re none the wiser, although I’m not sure this is entirely true.

For the nine years we knew each other, from that very first toastie we shared on the corridor floor of our first-year halls, to the last drink we shared, we were inseparable. We had the most fun. So many of my favourite memories are of getting drunk and dancing with her. Staying in with her when she had a broken leg. Doing shots in the middle of the afternoon because, hey, we’re young. We would talk for hours about boys. She hated how crude I was and I thought it hilarious how prudish she was. We loved anchovies, soppy love songs and Eastenders. It was the sort of friendship that was hard to find.

It’s been two years now and I still haven’t a clue what I’ve done or what’s happened or changed. I’ve sort of decided on a reason, but can’t be 100% sure it’s correct. I’m probably way off the mark. I’m so baffled by the events of the last couple of years that this Valentine’s Day, I even sent her an ‘I miss you’ text and got nothing in return. I didn’t feel hurt or rejected; I knew it was time to let go.

And that’s the thing with ghosting.

It gets to a point where it just doesn’t hurt as much anymore, a bit like grief. In fact, if anything, I’d say it can be far less painful than being confronted with the reason you aren’t wanted as a friend or lover, anymore. That way, you can pretend it’s not you; it’s them, and live under a blanket of blissful ignorance that you didn’t actually do anything wrong. That is was their issue.

So, to the friend who ghosted me, if you’re reading this, which I doubt you are, and to all the other Caspers out there: you’re not teaching anyone a lesson, in fact, you’re not making any sort of point at all, except for the fact I must’ve mistaken you for a much better human being in the first place.

If you want closure, always have the guts to do it properly, because I’m fairly certain the only person you’re hurting in the long run, is yourself.

THE PLUS ONE

If you know me IRL, you’ll know I love to talk, that I live for socialising and admittedly, at times, enjoy being the centre of attention, but there is simply not a chance in hell I would attend an event of any kind (except for a work one) on my Jacobs.

In fact, walking into a room full of people I don’t know without someone on my arm (be it pal or partner) fills me with dread and panic. I find silences and standing alone oh so awkward, filling them at any opportunity and the thought of having to twiddle my thumbs while everyone around me has a good time fills me with fear.

As someone who would happily take a lone ranger under the wing of me and my friends, I’m not sure where this fear that no one in the room would want to talk to me has come from, and why I don’t have enough faith in other people to do the same for me, but tonight, I found myself at a loss for people to attend an event with, and instead of going it alone, I let this fear get the better of me and bailed.

I would secretly love to be the sort of woman who can rock up to events alone and work the room as confidently as when surrounded by my posse, but I’m not convinced even the most confident of women could manage it.

But I’m all for self reflection and improvement, so I’d like to know if I’m wrong.

I’m not talking going alone to a party where you’ll know other guests by the way, I’m talking going alone to a party where you will definitely, 100% know nobody. Is it lame I can’t do it? Should I work on being able to? Or is it simply natural human instinct that I’d like back up.

If I’m alone and you think I should’ve been a bit more brave, then I’m going to add it to my ‘Before 30 Bucket List’ – (eesh, how am I there already?)

If you’re with me, I’ll stop beating myself up about it. Sometimes humans don’t need to be brave, they just need to do what feels right.

(If you were wondering, the event I was supposed to go to before everyone bailed on me was Lauren’s Girl Vs Cancer, #notapityparty – If you would like to support her cause, buy a banging t shirt today.)

THE BEST THING TO HAPPEN TO BRISTOL

The best thing to happen to Bristol (aside from me moving here and a Polpo opening up on Whiteladies Road, of course) has actually arrived in the form of the most affectionate app in the world.

Yep, you heard it right. As if the city wasn’t kind enough already, a man named Paul and a woman called Alice have just brought a whole heap of added goodness to the west country with the gifting app of the future.

It’s called Huggg.

Yes, with three gs. They’re gangster like that.

Huggg is an upgrade on a well written WhatsApp, a thought out iMessage or a line of meticulously thought out emojis. It’s better than the age old poke on Facebook and it’s certainly an improvement on those gift cards you find at the bottom of your bag, months after they’ve expired. It’s everything your long distance relationship has been waiting for. It’s what will save parents waving their children off to university in September from having a breakdown. And, truth be told, it’s the stuff every lazy girl’s dreams are made of.

But what is it and how does it work?

Huggg basically allows you to send coffee, cocktails, burgers or breakfasts to anyone you like. As long as you have a phone and their number, of course.

If you’re away on a work trip and not there to sleep next to that special someone, send them a soup to spoon instead. If your best friend graduates and you can’t be there to congratulate them, send them a bottle of Prosecco to celebrate. Or if your colleague is hanging at work, send them a caffeinated pick me up from across the office.

Although there is nothing better than a real life hug, huggg is a pretty great alternative if you are a little too far away to reach.

Currently, only available in Bristol and Bath, download the app and get started today.

P.S. I’d love an iced soya latte from Friska if anyone’s offering.

Happy huggging!

THE ICK

If you’re a Love Island hater, look away now, because things are about to get pretty vacuous around here.

The other week, Olivia (one of my favourite contestants on this year’s sex fuelled extravaganza) spoke about catching The Ick and I want to talk about it, because it’s something I’ve experienced many times throughout my dating life and I’m thrilled to learn it’s a shared sentiment and not just me being picky.

There was the journalist who stood up in front of a crowded bar and pretended to be Dermot O’Leary presenting the X Factor during a date in one of London’s coolest spots, The Troubador. There was the barman who ate Nachos far too loudly next to me on a trip to the cinema. There was the banker who was sick in the taxi home. The almost perfect one who wore camo print trousers. The musician who had horrid hands and feet. The teacher who wore rubber soled, platform shoes. The poor chap who was too scared to kiss me. And finally, the gap year fling who insisted on wearing a beanie, even though we were seeing each other throughout the summer.

Whenever I dated anyone, there would be something ridiculous that would put me off. I would then complain to mum about their imperfections, regaling her with yet another tale of yet another dumping, and she would say to me, ‘It wouldn’t matter if you liked him’.

And she was right. Without even knowing it, she had identified The Ick.

Catching it is actually a pretty uncontrollable reality. It creeps up on you when you least expect it. One day, you can be excited about your latest squeeze and the next, he rocks up to a BBQ to meet all your mates in a pair of white Birkenstocks. You didn’t see it coming. The guy you thought was a catch, now falls to the bottom of the pile and even the thought of him sitting opposite you at dinner becomes unbearable.

That’s when you know you’ve caught it. You go cold. You grow distant. You want out.

Of course, The Ick isn’t always brought on by a poor choice of footwear. The sad truth is, they might not even have done anything wrong when it suddenly dawns on you that kissing them would be like kissing your cousin and that you want to get as far away from them as humanly possible.

If you’ve ever experienced it for yourself, you’ll know that The Ick is more stubborn than Herpes when you catch it, and there certainly isn’t a universal trigger which causes that incessant need to get out immediately, but without it, we wouldn’t find someone more suitable. In fact, I like to see it as a nice little gift from Mother Nature to tell us that the person we’re dating isn’t quite right for us. That we need to get out. That this one isn’t the one.

It leads us onto bigger and better Ick-Free relationships with men like my current boyfriend, for example, who has publicly showed himself up more times than Kerry Katona and still can’t make me catch The dreaded Ick, no matter how hard he tries.

On our first date, he waited over an hour for me to arrive. I normally would’ve cringed at the thought of someone sticking around so long. Later that night, he swung a lampshade across the bar at The Shard and pretended it didn’t happen instead of making light of the situation. Whilst we were dating, we were texting a lot, and let’s just say spelling isn’t his strong point, something that would have made me want to die in any other instance. Over the past 3 years, he’s worn boxer shorts in the pool on a group holiday because he forgot his swimwear. He sent me a photograph of his blackened toenail that later fell off (he sent me a photo of this, too). He sits down when he pees, hates Jeremy Corbyn and didn’t know who The Maccabees were when I expressed my sorrow at their departure from music.

He’s done so much more to make me catch The Ick than the others, so why haven’t I?

Because I actually like him. And genuinely liking or loving someone is the only prevention from this one.

So, with this in mind, it’s safe to say that Olivia was right to move on, and Tyla should follow suit – because there ain’t no coming back from this one, even if there is 50k and a deal with Miss Pap at stake. And to all those men (the majority of whom are either married or in long term relationships now) who I turned away due to that feeling: you know what they say, one woman’s Ick is another woman’s perfect date… or something like that.

Listen to that little whisper from Mother Nature, ladies. Like all mums, she knows best.

THE VENT

When I get home from work or dinner with friends and need to vent about something, I need my boyfriend to do the very opposite of what he does.

Instead of flying off the handle with me, spitting with exuberance and joining me in berating all and sundry for something no doubt trivial, he remains as cool, calm and collected as he would be on a sun lounger, sipping on an ice cold mojito in the med. He will kiss my head, laugh and tell me everything will be okay. That there’s a reason for everybody’s actions and that I’ll think differently in the morning.

All well and good, but where’s the fucking satisfaction in that?

I need him to agree with me and flail his arms in annoyance with whoever it is that has wound me up that day, if only for a minute or two. I need him to get as worked up as my friends do when I vent to them on Whatsapp – even through my phone, I can feel the hot air rising as I tell my best friend about the colleague who bought the same dress as me and wore it into the office. Instead, he behaves completely rationally and politely declines the offer to revel in my frustrations. Each and every time.

I thought this infuriating dynamic was one only we shared. We’re very different, so I assumed it was just another discrepancy between us, but the other day, my little cousin shared a hilarious meme about this very issue and I quickly came to realise it was a worldwide problem for women to add to their list.

Be them life-long mates, recent additions to my phone book or online acquaintances, this is one of the many reasons why I will always need my girlfriends. To frantically text at 2 am until my thumbs are sore and shout loudly with each other about someone we’ve never even heard of over too many beers, just to make each other feel better.

No, this doesn’t serve to facilitate the age-old assumption that women are hysterical and men are rational human beings. It’s basically just like the male version of a punch up. Do this, and we move on. Don’t do this, and we will accuse you of siding with them.

The choice is yours, fellas.