Singledom bites at 6.48pm on a Saturday

On average, I feel most single at 6.48pm on a Saturday. Oddly specific, but as today’s 6.48pm on a Saturday reminded me, totally accurate.

I’m writing this part of this post whilst on the leaning section of the tube. You know the bit, by the doors. But on the side where the doors won’t open, at least on this leg of the journey. Jubilee Line at Green Park if you want me to continue the theme of oddly specific details. I had my spot all sorted, head deep in a book when, on either side of me a couple (both male/female) took up residence. In both instances with little interest or awareness that they had ended up being incredibly close to me and were in fact intruding on my personal space. The person they were with was their world, all that matters is that their person was safe and comfortable. 

Both assumed the position heterosexual couples subconsciously seem to find themselves in these situations. Her tucked up against the plastic divider, he the warrior defending her. He helping her stand in case she falls, two world-weary people leaning on each other, safe in the knowledge that no matter what happens – they’ve got each other. No matter the scenario that arises in this journey, they have a partner to accompany them as they face it.

I know full well this is an idealised view. Any number of things could have happened in their day and could await them after this journey. The arguments, fights and betrayals that could await them. But, from the outside anyway, they look sedate. Safe. At peace. Found.

That’s when I feel the pang, that want for what they have – or what it looks like they have. 

I’m journeying home from a fantastic day with my best friend. We saw a superb comedy show, having a taste of normality in amongst the chaos of the last 18 months. I’m going back to my awesome housemate. I might even watch the football. You never know, we may even win it.

But right now, all I can feel is this pang that defies all logic. I’m 6 weeks away from my 29th birthday and I have never experienced what these couples have right now. I’ve never had someone to lean on like that, with this degree of intimate certainty. And this pang is reverberating in my bones – rattling and ricocheting along until, as hyperbolic as it sounds, it makes my eyes water.

I don’t need what they have. I’ve never had it, and I’ve made do without it for this long. I also literally don’t need it. At 6ft tall and built like a Viking – I don’t need someone to bodyguard me on the tube. Statistically speaking, when it comes to average heights and builds of a man in the UK, there’s very few who’d literally be able to achieve this physically so I rarely entertain the notion of it ever happening in the way these couples are curled into each other right now..!

But I want it. And I feel like I’m meant to feel embarrassed about admitting this to you, whoever you wonderful people are who read my ramblings. But I’m not.

The only way to keep navigating the hellhole that is dating is to maintain hope. Like with anything in life, we hope that things happen for a reason – that our lives are structured in a certain way, with certain things happening (or not happening) at certain times, for a certain purpose. One which we may never understand, but the fortuitous fruits of which we will always appreciate.

One of my maaaany self-deprecating jokes when someone – usually a very comfortably coupled someone – asks after my non-existent love life is to respond ‘Well, you know what – I’m starting to think maybe the factory shut for the day after making me and they forgot to make my partner!’ It’s self-defence 101, cloaking a genuine and innate fear with a half-hearted laugh and an accompanying good-humoured slap on the table. Desperately concealing the depleting quantity of hope retained in my body, which seems to face surge charge deductions at 6.48pm on a Saturday.

But, as I wearily look ahead to the speed dating event I’m going to on Tuesday, if I want to find my tube buddy – I need to keep trying and keep that hope going. I need to innately rely on the universe revealing my person and their having a reason for having kept me waiting for so long.

And, on one Saturday in the future, it’ll be 6.48pm and I’ll know it was all worth it.

Something-To-Watch Saturday #4

Welcome back! Here’s 7 more film suggestions for your delectation. And, if that’s not enough for you here’s editions one, two and three.

If Beale Street Could Talk (Amazon Prime – 2018 – 119 mins)

If you’ve ever wondered what sumptuous cinematography looks like, this is the film to watch. James Laxton‘s camera work here is as astonishing as it was when he collaborated with director Barry Jenkins on the Oscar-winning Moonlight. This film, the story of a pregnant young woman (KiKi Layne) and her family trying to prove the innocence of her childhood friend turned lover (Stephan James), is as beautiful as it is heart-breaking. Majestic filmmaking.

Your Name (Netflix – 2016 – 106 mins)

This week, the spot for underseen romantic comedy goes to this wonderful Japanese animation that blends romance, comedy and science fiction so beautifully. Two strangers find themselves linked in the most unexpected way. A connection forms between them, quickly and deeply, but what is keeping them apart. Think Freaky Friday meets [title of a film that would spoil it]. Epically sound tracked too.

Tamara Drewe (Amazon Prime – 2010 – 107 mins)

If hearing of a British movie that satirises suburbia and the intellectual set, featuring Gemma Arterton, Roger Allam, Dominic Cooper, Tamsin Greig and Luke Evans – then I’m not sure what’s wrong with you..! Very funny, yet tragic, with fantastic performances – such a treat.

The Last Tree (Netflix – 2019 – 98 mins)

Femi’s (Tai Golding) happy childhood in the countryside with his white foster mum (Denise Black) comes to an abrupt end when his mother (Gbemisola Ikumelo) decides to take him back to London. Now in his teens (Samuel Adewunmi) Femi finds himself uncertain about who he is and drawn to making the wrong choices. A moving and powerful film, filled with quiet rage.

The Handmaiden (Netflix – 2016 – 145 mins)

This South Korean erotic thriller (which is very much an 18 for a reason) is based on the 2002 novel Fingersmith by Welsh writer Sarah Waters. Set in Korea, under Japanese colonial rule, a woman is hired as a handmaiden to a Japanese heiress, but secretly she is involved in a plot to defraud her. A rapturously seductive slow burn watch.

Tucked (Netflix – 2018 – 80 mins)

Tucked isn’t the kind of film to reinvent the wheel, it’s the familiar tale of a curmudgeonly loner (Derren Nesbitt) taking a naïve newbie (Jordan Stephens) under their wing – this time in the drag world. But it’s done so well by writ-redirector Jamie Patterson that it’s so bloomin’ charming. Just a lovely, quietly pulls-at-your-heart-strings-and-tear-ducts watch.

Spy (Netflix – 2015 – 120 mins)

After doing recommendations like this weekly since the start of Lockdown plus the intermittent recommendations the past two years, I can say with some certainty that a good comedy is hard to find. Having rewatched this recently, I can confirm this is one of them. Melissa McCarthy is a the desk-bound CIA analyst for superspy Jude Law, but when she volunteers to go undercover she must infiltrate the world of arms dealing and prevent global disaster. Allison Janney, Rose Byrne, Jason Statham, Bobby Cannavale and my spirit animal Miranda Hart round up this fantastic cast.

Something-To-Watch Saturday

Oh my god we’re back again. After a few weeks break, I’m bringing Movie Mondays back – as promised, in a slightly tweaked format. Each Saturday I will be recommending 7 films from across multiple platforms; in a bet to counter that weekend feeling where you ended up flicking across platforms for ages, trying to decide watch to watch. Sometimes I’ll make some picks according to seasonal events, the weather, what’s going on in the world and sometimes just because I think they’re rather brilliant. Hope you enjoy!

The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019 – 97 mins – Netflix)

Why should I watch this? This story of a young man who has Down Syndrome (Zack Gottsagen) escaping his nursing home and joining a man on the run (Shia LaBeouf) so he can pursue his wrestling dreams, with his carer (Dakota Johnson) in hot pursuit, is so wonderfully charming. Blending road trip with a touch of magical realism, this is a heart-warming tale tinged with a touch of bittersweet-ness. Simply wonderful. Click here to read my full review.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005 – 98 mins – Amazon Prime)

Why should I watch this? If you liked the mix of black comedy and trauma that made up Iron Man 3, there’s a good chance you’ll love this as it was written and directed by the same person – Shane Black. This is his take on a film noi/neo noir – with a thief (Robert Downey Jr, in the role that brought him back to the forefront), a private detective (Val Kilmer) and an actress become entangled in a murder mystery (Michelle Monaghan). Dark, witty and wickedly funny.

Wild Rose (2019 – 100 mins – Amazon Prime)

Why should I watch this? I firmly believe there’s something rather magical about a British feelgood story. The evidence for this theory? This corker of a movie. Jessie Buckley plays Rose, a Glaswegian powerhouse obsessed with Country music. Recently out of prison, her heart yearns for Nashville while she’s stuck living in an estate trying to look after her two children who know their grandmother (Julie Walters) far more than their mother. A feelgood story of dreams and reaching for the stars that will resonate with everyone.

Handsome Devil (2017 – 94 mins – Amazon Prime)

Why should I watch this? And now to Ireland, with this delightful indie drama about two total opposites, musical loner Ned (Fionn O’Shea) and beloved rugby star Conor (Nicholas Galitzine), forced to share a room at their boarding school. They bond over a shared love of music, watched over by their understanding teacher (Andrew Scott) – this is an underseen gem. Perfect for anyone who’s ever fallen in love with someone you shouldn’t have fallen in love with.

Ex Machina (2015 – 108 mins – Netflix)

Why should I watch this? A three hander of a movie, set in one location, this is a superb science fiction drama made by and starring some of the finest actors of this generation. Written and directed by Alex Garland, Ex Machina is the story of a young programmer (Domhnall Gleeson) selected by the company’s CEO (Oscar Isaac) to take part in a retreat, which is actually a cover for testing his latest artifical intelligence software (Alicia Vikander). Taut and oh-so thrilling.

Mudbound (2017 – 135 mins – Netflix)

Why should I watch this? Mudbound continues to be one of the most frustrating examples of an incredible film being ignored and/or forgotten films during an awards season. A truly gripping historical drama about two Mississippi families, one white (Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke and Garrett Hedlund) and the other black (Mary J. Blige, Rob Morgan, Jason Mitchell). Staring in 1939, Dee Rees‘ films is a brutal, illuminating and stunning tale of farming, friendship and prejudice.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E (2015 – 116 mins – Netflix)

Why should I watch this? If you’re in need of an entertaining action romp, this is the one for you. With a beautiful cast (Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander and Elizabeth Debicki) wearing beautiful costumes in beautiful settings, this really is one for you. With an adoring fandom, that has only grown since it’s underseen release, Guy Ritchie‘s attempt at a James Bond movie is action-packed, funny and utterly charming.