My friend Helen has been to stay for three days. She brought with her gifts of champagne, vegan candles, vegan chocolate and really nice coffee.
Unlike other visitors, she offered to take my dogs out when I had one of my dizzy spells, instead of refusing to go on a dog walk as ‘that looks like a slope’. I didn’t do anything in preparation at all, bar buy half a pint of milk: no gin, no tonic, no unwaxed lemon. She paid for lunch out. She washed her hands after using the bathroom. She doesn’t smoke. She kept saying how beautiful everything is, rather than saying I live in ‘the arse end’ of Richmond, North Yorkshire. She picked up dog bowls rather than stepping over them.
Told she mustn’t come before 5pm as I was working, she didn’t arrive red faced and eager at two minutes past but turned up at 8pm. She didn’t look at my new pink Smeg fridge and say, ‘Mine is bigger.’ I didn’t have to put on make-up.
Out for dinner with two friends, Helen made intelligent conversation instead of sitting in a grump, jealous not to have me to herself. Crucially, she didn’t once switch on an overhead light or say the ‘underfloor heating is too hot’. She didn’t storm off after eating a curry that took me two hours to prepare. Best of all, I didn’t have to have sex with her.
Tomorrow, I’m off on a mini break in the Lake District* for three days, my first holiday since 2014**, when I went inside the Big Brother house. I’m taking the three collies and going with my friend who is celebrating her 60th birthday. If we were in Monaco, she wouldn’t say, ‘It’s too hilly.’ She wouldn’t order foie gras just to wind me up: I’m already as coiled as a spring.
I’m quite sure that when we leave our little rented house, she won’t empty the fridge of food but will leave a generous tip. She won’t make me be her IT consultant for two days. She won’t speed in my new car. She won’t leave coins on surfaces. She won’t call me a typist. Best of all, she won’t demand Birthday Sex.
It’s getting quite doubtful I will ever have sex again, given my ex ex said, ‘I don’t think we should see each other’, I was stood up by a man on our second date, and a Michael Fassbender lookalike blocked me on Twitter and WhatsApp seconds after we had arranged to meet in a Peak District pub. He must have Wikipedia’d me. But I’m quite sure I won’t miss sex. And here’s why…
1 Myla thongs aren’t meant to be stretched, nor thrown in a corner in a ball like a dead spider. I spend the entire time during sex worrying about the location of my knickers, and how soon I will be able to pop them in the laundry basket.
2 I suffer from vertigo, and have found the suggestion, ‘Can we do it while I’m sitting up, and don’t make any sudden movements’ goes down like a lead balloon…
3 I always get cystitis.
4 My expensive face cream always gets licked off.
5 Men are of the mistaken belief you should be grateful. One ex-boyfriend, Trevor, he of the high-waisted trousers, used to ask me to say thank you after sex. I was always afraid to tell him but have no such compunction now: ‘I have better orgasms when you’re not in the room.’
6 I take my hearing aids out for sex, which means I can’t always hear instructions. ‘What? Eh? Pardon?’ Which means I’m always on edge in case they ask me to do something, and I get the wrong end of the stick. Literally.
*It’s not a staycation, as that means going on day trips to Frinton and your mum buttering rolls and diluting Kia Ora
**Staying one night in a hotel in London doesn’t count: it’s work, and quite stressful