LEIA #10: The Person We Should Seek

flowers in vase, flowers, floral, pretty

Settle for somebody who will bring you flowers: not just for birthdays and anniversaries, but also, just because. Somebody who will move all your spiders. Somebody who lends you books with the page corners folded down and scribbled notes in the dust jacket like a portal to their thoughts. Settle for a person who will hold a constant umbrella over your parade.
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Dear Virgin 


Dear Virgin,
Hey. What’s up? I wanted to tell you a few things today, because whilst I don’t know for certain, it’s possible that you don’t know all these things already and I want to make sure that you do. I don’t know how much people talk about these days, and what people know or don’t, and I just wanted to get my two cents in. So.

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LEIA #9: An Army Of Exes

grave, graveyard, wounded, army, micklesham, micklesham graveyard, micklesham cemetery

Those who have been single for a long time will know that you gather up exes. The significant others who actually, in the grand scheme of things, turned out not to be so significant. Things didn’t get serious for long enough to cause a full-on heartbroken split from when things end, and most of the time you don’t meet the prerequisites to be banished from each others lives.
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LEIA #8: The Sidelines Of Friendship

You don’t hear about the hours they spend memorising freckles. You don’t hear about the time they bought a pair of socks from Joy The Store at the train station – full price! £8 on a pair of socks! – so that you wouldn’t have to re-wear a pair. You don’t hear about the picturesque night they practised slow dancing when they got in from the club, an endeavour that ended with their first perfect kiss timed miraculously with a Bright Eyes chorus at sunrise, a moment so utterly cheesy it could have been a scene in a John Green novel. Continue reading

LEIA #7: You Are Not My Art


I sometimes feel as though my life is like a parade of people I used to know. Most of my friend pool has been in my life for quite some time, and at this point I have a fair number of exes to run into; friends of friends; other peoples housemates; ex-colleagues; a pal from “back home”, somebody’s cousin who was in town for the weekend. The list goes on. Continue reading

LEIA #6: The Joys Of Being Single


Waking up with a full day off ahead of you and the endless possibilities contained therein. Nothing is too ridiculous or too indulgent to be a viable way to spend the day. Going to an exhibition. Changing your hair ribbon three times. Watching 5 episodes of Bojack. Re-reading your old diaries for half an hour and then finishing a box of Easter eggs in bed. Talking to your housemates about Domhnall Gleeson vs James Franco for 2 hours in the garden.

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LEIA #3: How To Be Single


A couple of weeks ago I blogged about why I love being single. It was a weird one to write, because like so many of my blogs, I am completely oblivious to the fact that not everybody feels the same way. I assumed that everybody reaches the same conclusions after a while and it was only last year I realised actually, no, a lot of friends of mine are not single through choice and really struggle with being single. They analyse obsessively over how dates have gone, if they’ll ever find somebody, when they’ll get a message back or when they’ll find “the one”.

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LEIA #2: The Death Of Dating


Growing up in the late 90’s and early 00’s, Dating was A Thing. Through a varied diet of chick-lit books, American sitcoms and Hugh Grant films, I watched men and women in their 20’s and 30’s navigate an endlessly confusing Dating landscape. Key figures in the Dating world included: friends of friends, guys in bars, ingenue secretaries at work, earnest Ethan Hawke-sque boys, confusing fuckwits, psychotic commitment-phobes, and Mr Big. Forays into the world of Dating routinely ended in heartbreak, confusion and pain. Dating was a pursuit with only one goal; Coupledom. Only once in a while was that goal attained; that most rare and elusive of statuses: The Relationship.

Dating involved elaborate codes of conduct and lengthy rules: don’t have sex until Date 3, don’t order pasta, don’t wear Granny pants (as famously cocked up by Bridget Jones), and so on. Teen magazines of the time prepped youngsters like myself on what to wear, how to eat, what conversational topics to avoid. Agony aunts answered questions such as “We’ve been dating for 4 months but he hasn’t asked me to be his girlfriend yet?”. Dating was never fun, but rather a daunting, exhausting and unfortunately necessary obstacle course.


Don’t we all Jack, don’t we all

charlotte york

Oh Charlotte. I don’t know.


Dating in the 90’s when people were a LOT hotter.

dating convo with tinder guy number 1 copy

Cut forward to “My Single Life” in London in 2016 and I can only conclude that “Dating”, at least as it was so elaborately presented to me in my youth, is dead. None of those rules apply. “Dating” is no longer an oft-used term, and as evidenced by my WhatsApp screenshots, we’re all a bit confused about it (some more than others AHEM). Being single is a vast world of varied terrain and unidentified fauna: one night stands, “going for a drink”, hanging out, days out, “cuddles on the sofa”, sexting, hook-ups, friends with benefits and flings. You’re likely to have a few of these situations on the go at any one time, and whilst many involve going on A Date, I don’t think any can be accurately referred to as the long-ball Dating game of old.

Problems occur when we try to attain to the Dating code of conduct we all diligently memorised aged 14, only to find that The Rules don’t fit in with our lives. (See the above screenshot). We need to fuck the rules off and accept we can do anything, in any order, at any time. THAT’S FINE GUYS.

It’s hard to know what killed Dating. I’m pretty sure that despite all the well-intended advice, my generation just don’t know how to date – we can’t. There’s a recession, we’re broke, and nothing is certain. We don’t have time to spend a whole evening with everybody we like the look of. We work weird hours; a movie at 7 isn’t an option when we’re in the office until 9. It’s impossible to plan long-term when we might be made redundant, forced to move home or deported at any time.

We can’t afford to spend our hard-earned cash wining and dining a complete stranger we might not even fancy, we have no idea how to socialise without alcohol (sober hook-up isn’t a phrase) and if we do manage to find someone we like, we lock their shit down IMMEDIATELY. We’ll likely move in together after 3 months because we can’t afford £750 a month plus bills each, and it’s just as easy to get to know somebody when you live with them as it is spending 4 months hanging out at Pizza Express.


Dating in 2016.

tnder 3

Let’s just forget about the golden era of Dating and accept the single life landscape for what it is. There’s no right or wrong, no perfect time frame, no set of checkpoints.There’s a huge, vague, grey area out there instead of a straight-forward one way ticket to CoupleVille. It’s important not to try too hard to clarify what’s going on unless you like your thoughts chasing each other in circles (FYI no you don’t) – just enjoy yourself. Do what you want.

Don’t worry if things don’t seem to be following some sort of normal pattern; maybe you’ll text for 6 months straight and then get married, maybe you’ll have a one-night stand which turns into a FWB situation, maybe you’ll have a vaguely flirty friendship and in 5 years have a kid together. Whatever. ALL OF THESE THINGS ARE FINE. Just don’t get too panicked about dating and trying to fit into some outdated narrative – as long as you’re happy, safe and getting enough, we’re all good. RIP Dating.

This is part of my “LEIA: Laila Explains It All” series on dating, life, advice and relationships which quite a lot of you have asked about! I hope you’re enjoying it so far. x

dating convo with tinder guy number 3



At the end of the day, just slack it off and have a pint.