Job applications remain reminders of my failures. They expect so much when I have so little. How stupid I was to have spent my three years enveloped in outrageously cursed relationships rather than with my head deep in the sand writing dreary columns for dreary people. And yet, the HR departments continue to push their pens with desperate calls for graduates.
‘We need a qualified virgin with three years of sexual experience’
Surely an unreasonable requirement for the recently graduated. And on the topic of sex; after three months of forced celibacy I was worried the thing was going to shrivel like a prune and fall off. In my case then my rediscovery of romance a very different kind of pen pushing. Neither routine nor monotonous. Curiously awkward and awkwardly human. What was lost three months prior returned in an instant.
It’s not sex I now need, it’s a haircut. I guess mullets might be a fetish for some. I can’t wait for my hairdresser to run their fingers through my oily locks.
“God this looks awful”, they might excitably remark as I turn to them over my shoulder and stick out a cheeky tongue.
NO – I think not. Covid got me looking like some urban redneck. A tower block hilly billy on the hunt for reasonably priced coffee. And with that the Prime Minister promises that it will all be over in time for Christmas. We’ve heard that line before methinks.
To all you home-made mask wearing warriors, bravely spooning in your vegan katsu Wagamamas, the Chancellor salutes you.
“Let’s get the economy firmly on track” – “common we need the old normal back”!
And with that I can once more sip cold pints in the garden of my favourite pub. I can see my grandparents. I can go on dates, make socially distanced gestures to friends across parks. I get to pretend my opinion matters (really when it doesn’t); as if life were so solidly determined prior to this madness. Cooped up in my loft room I can proudly say I’m just as ordinary as the rest of us.
I think the soft optimist within me is genuinely excited by the possibility of change. For me at least, this ‘time’ has given me the luxury of perspective. Beyond all the calls for productivity or counter calls which bemoan the unrealistic demands for productivity; my mellow hindsight has done little other than cloud my mind with thoughts of who I once was.
I need change then. I need something to convince me that I’m in control. All those awkward thoughts you see, not being comfortable with having no one to love, not being able to play the character I wish I was, haven’t humbled me.
Instead, they’ve only served to fuel my habits. I’ve become the man of a thousand drinks. With little else to do I snuggle up to tea, coffee, and Robinsons barley water squash. Do you reckon it’s possible I might begin to swell? I have also started learning archery. I actually managed to listen to a whole album non-stop (no playlist or nothing). I mixed my own granola. I even managed a conversation with my bin man. Maybe I’m winning then? As the pen pushers push their pens I retort:
“I’m not suitable for the job mate – I certainly ain’t a virgin”.
By Callum Ruddock