Written by Jess Macdonald


Wine tryst

Jess Macdonald finds herself single on Valentine’s Day for the first time since last millennium. But she’s buggered if she’s going to miss out on the free wine.

glasses of red wineTowards the arse end of last year, I found myself abruptly and unexpectedly single, after 16 years of unwedded bliss. It takes a fair bit of adjusting to, as it turns out.

My mum and friends rallied round and I didn’t so much throw myself into focusing on my two children as skydived into it. Christmas barely registered as an emotional blip, despite all received wisdom being that it’s a hard time of year for the newly unattached. New Year? Easy. Babycham and the medium of interpretive dance to Carnival of the Animals (also, a long series of tweets of New Year’s resolutions, that may have included the solemn pledge “eat more poached eggs”).

And I thought I was doing OK. Until the pissing emails started about two weeks ago. “Treat your loved one!” “Show them how much you care!” “Dine out in style on 14 February!” “Book a table for Valentine’s Day and get a free bottle of champagne!”

Valentine’s Day. Marvellous. I haven’t been single on Valentine’s Day since I was a teenager, which was last millennium. But now, here I am, 36, two children under my saggy and stretchmarked belt and I’m fecking single.

The thing is, it’s not being single I mind so much. It’s not the fact that I’m not going to get a crappy mass-produced card that features a picture of teddy bear with a speech bubble proclaiming “Wub woo!” I won’t miss being given chocolate I’ll never eat because I don’t really like chocolate. I’m honestly quite relieved that I won’t have to fake romantic gestures simply because the calendar has rolled around to one arbitrary date. What I do resent though are these impertinent reminders that no bastard’s going to be taking me out to dinner for the foreseeable future, and most of all, I resent not getting free wine because I’m not part of a couple.

“I refuse to bow to the idea that because I’m single I’m supposed to spend Valentine’s Day at home alone, sobbing that I’m unloved and unlovable, yowling along to Adele, and feeling hard done by.”

I was getting a bit worked up about it. But then a plan landed, fully formed in my head. A brilliant plan. So brilliant, I’m sharing it with you, and urging you to adopt it too. If, like me, you are viewed by society as somehow lesser, because you are complete by yourself, instead of being made whole by A N Other, but you still want free wine, then step this way.

I’m going to take one of those restaurants up on their offer. I will book a table for Miss J Macdonald on the evening of 14 February. I will treat my loved one. I will dine out in style. I will show myself how much I care. And most of all, I will claim my free bottle of wine, thank you very much, and I will drink that bastard on my own, surrounded by couples making stilted conversation and exchanging crappy single red roses. I will sit, on my own, head held high, and I will get rat-arsed.

I refuse to bow to the idea that because I’m single I’m supposed to spend Valentine’s Day at home alone, sobbing that I’m unloved and unlovable, yowling along to Adele, and feeling hard done by. Nope, not for me.

Instead, I’m going to enjoy attracting puzzled glances from the twosomes surrounding me, as they try to work out why I’m there on my own, and I shall raise my free wine at them and smile winningly (optional extra: if you have a single friend, get them to book a table in the same restaurant, and the two of you can have fun phoning each another to facilitate loud, faux-tearful conversations along the lines of “I can’t believe he’s done this to me! Again!” and try not to giggle as everyone’s interest in you dramatically expands).

So, who’s with me? Yeah, OK, in spirit, not in physical proximity. Check the terms and conditions of your chosen restaurant/pub/greasy spoon, make sure you’re not going to get stung with a Sad Single Spinster of this Parish Surcharge, then treat yourself to a night out with your favourite person. Could be worse. And you’ll get free wine.


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Written by Jess Macdonald

Jess Macdonald is a quite sweary blogger and mother of two with Scottish hair. http://putupwithrain.blogspot.co.uk