The Whimpering 20’s: When the Best Years of Your Life Are Alright.

I’m doing everything I can today to distract myself from having casual sex. Being a young gay man with only a slightly doughy frame I have found that casual sex is a shockingly accessible pastime but I have managed to find a number of inane tasks to complete instead. I’ve rearranged furniture in my bedroom, I took a lengthy walk on a route that I know well and I’ve treated myself to 2 showers followed by a bath. Despite not having any plans that require me to be clean. Finally I have masturbated 3 times, which was partially the reason for the unusual spike in personal hygiene. I have done all these things to alleviate my boredom because once again I’ve arrogantly assumed that my social calendar would be flooded with invitations. With so many channels of communication available I’m not even allowed to pretend there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for why these invitations haven’t reached me, like a defective carrier pigeon. However I am determined not to allow this boredom to drive me to sleep with a stranger, because I believe boredom probably the saddest excuse for sex.

This is not to say I haven’t had sex for questionable reasons, like loneliness or to finally achieve double figures, because that would be a royal stinker of a lie. However I refuse to let an unknown into my bed to commit the most intimate of acts because there was nothing better on the TV. I can’t justify that behaviour while were experiencing this golden age of programming. Luckily this time I had Don Draper to pry me out of the arms of a gentleman unfortunately named AssPissSlave27. Despite this determination I have to confess I have been cruising Grindr every 10 minutes, and if a man under the age of 43 had thought I was worthy of a hello the day might have gone in a different direction.

This unquenchable boredom is not a new experience, in fact it has littered my weekends frequently since I left university. Which like a number of other world events that have occurred in the last 15 months has left me mystified. For anyone wondering I am equating society’s harsh swing to the right with my lack of binge drinking, in my mind they carry equal weight. I had always thought that when I left home and got a job and left home there would be an easy to assemble support network ready for me when I got there. An instant posse of dreamers that would be waiting to help me unpack failings in my romantic endeavours and the monotony of being a young professional. We would all have the exact same of what constituted ‘blowing off steam’ when the much anticipated weekend finally arrived. The itinerary would be catchup with a bottle of pinot of Friday, dancing and coke on a Saturday, and an ‘ironic’ brunch on Sunday, because brunch is for middle-class fools, which obviously wouldn’t be us. However this has not been the case, I do not have a flat-pack friendship circle to ease the burden of an uncertain future. Instead I find myself awkwardly balancing on a structure made of loose wood and corrugated iron that can just about hold my weight but is at constant risk of collapsing, as most of the parts are looking for a graduate job in London.

That’s not to say that I don’t have good friends, in fact it’s quite the opposite, my friends are a fucking carnival of fun. Some of them are psyching each other out playing ‘splat the rat’ fun and some of them vomiting on the waltzers fun. They are very present and I love them endlessly. My issue is that we’re not all on the same street experiencing absolutely everything as a solid, intoxicated unit. They’re not all at my beckoning call for a hand-holding session when I’m suffering through any given twang of emotion. Instead the stories of foolishness are shared during scheduled monthly phone calls, usually lasting between 40 and 50 minutes. To avoid sounding too completely and utterly devoted to the divine purpose of me, dreaming of a world where my friends an infinite resource waiting patiently to feed me grapes of empathy, I would also like to highlight that in this fantasy the shoulders and ears lent to me would be reciprocated. There’s nothing I desire more than to be bestowed the honour of being the supplier of chocolate and blind support during a particularly brutal break up. This not the case as it turns out there’s nobody battering down my door demanding to be comforted by the grasp of my pasty, gangly arms. They remain vacant.

As I have discovered being in your twenties is not an extension of your time at university. I had previously thought it would be a period that would merge the camaraderie of living in student accommodation with the luxury of being able to being able to afford fresh herbs. At university everybody is enduring a shared life experience and therefore everybody has something in common. There isn’t one person who has attended university that doesn’t have a tale of waking up on the bedroom floor of an undisclosed location or finding a mystery poo that was found in a place that poo does not belong. Because of the uniform way that university students live it is easy to form support networks, the lifestyle forced upon you transcends personality and interests. The ray of sunshine Katy Perry fangirl will bond with the the brooding introverted new romantic if you pack them into a small enough space. However even if a tight bond is formed, when the captives are released they will instantly run in different directions.

I understand that it may just sound like I’m being a whiny brat because the world isn’t recognising the significance of my company, but thats only 85% of what’s going on here. The other problem I have is that because my friendships have dispersed over the country and overseas I have only allowed myself to be vulnerable maybe twice in the last year. These slip ups have been caused by a very specific combination of alcohol and somebody going first. Displays of icky feelings were frequent at university, when every interaction was a social one and your sobbing can be heard by the next 2 floors having to confess when things were going a bit shit was unnecessary. But not now, now if I’m feeling blue I find that the simplest remedy is a cocktail of Norah Jones and a dark room. Although I always enjoyed being left alone during these periods, it would be pleasant to be welcomed by a smile and a takeaway for two when the wallowing ends.

The reality of this new world are slowly beginning to burrow into my brain though and the positives are starting to appear. As I said before when you are at university an entire world is forced upon you and you have to assimilate. I think at this turning point it’s a positive, if I had not gone to university the only thing I would have assimilated to would have been my bedsheets. When you enter your twenties though the opposite occurs, you have to force yourself onto the world. You have to find a a job that supports the existence you desire and you have to fill your existence with the people and experiences that won’t cause you to go batshit crazy. I have managed to achieve elements of this, I can finance trips abroad when I save up and with a headlamp attached I have managed to find obscurest of niches hiding in the city. If university is an easily assembled piece of furniture then the only problem is that it is mostly assembled by other people, the friends that you have been assigned to you, the university that has allowed you to join them, and the government that determines what you can afford to do. Now I have my own furniture and although it’s barely fit for purpose at least I’ve built it, and I am beginning to have faith in my craftsmanship.

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