10/03/2017 09:24 GMT | Updated 11/03/2018 05:12 GMT

A City Of Choice Keeps Me Single

I love that I live in a city where, should I choose, I can see a real live Picasso within 30 minutes of my home and a Rembrandt if I jump on the Tube. I love that I have the dilemma of choosing which of the 47 varieties of pasta I should buy for dinner.

On my cycling route into town I've casually witnessed the Queen in a golden carriage as it trotted down St James's Park and once in a Rolls Royce returning home from an evening at the theatre. I stood next to John Malchovitch at a news stand, and I'm often behind Mike Leigh as he potters through Soho. Su Pollard can frequently be spotted in a gay bar.

When peckish on the high street I can choose between Thai, Mexican, Greek, Italian, American, Japanese and every type of fusion imaginable.

Once on a busy summer's day I did a 360 degree turn whilst in Regents Park and realised I was scanning people from all corners of the planet.

These seemingly inexhaustible choices seep into my skin and creates an air of entitlement of which I am barely aware. It is one of the wonders of living in a capital city with a population of more than eight million.

It is also why I so often find myself single.

To explain: I think I'm so marinated in options I'm almost continually wondering what's around the corner. If one date goes badly there's plenty more fish in the sea. And if, in my despondency, I don't believe it my friends will insist its true.

If I get radio silence from someone I've been! If I don't feel a buzz from the picture in front of me I can simply swipe left, there's plenty more to scroll through.

Having brushed shoulders with the hoy polloi and sampled the wares of the world, it seems only natural to expect looks, intelligence, humour, generosity, consistency and sexiness as standard when husband hunting. Instantly. And without fail.

I've been spoilt by the illusion of choice. I've been pampered by the promise of everything. By living within such wide and varied vistas I have lost all perspective.

Without knowing it I am perpetually looking anxiously over my shoulder wondering who I'm missing or who I may attain...if I just wait or try a little harder. I'm looking for an 11 in a sea of 10's.

He just seems to be 'out there' somewhere. He is out of reach, just beyond the real boundaries of my life, somewhere in that land of glorious opportunity.

Back at the ranch, closer to home, I dismiss my current reality. I make those around me invisible as I look to the distance for the illusive hero of my dreams. He is to be found in the films and magazines I see. He can be located in my mind. It's just finding him in three dimensions that appears to be the problem. And when I look at the partners of friends I have often wondered how come they have compromised this glorious dream?

There's a reason he's elusive: he is made up! He is a creative combination of all the rich privilege I pass through every day. He is a product of the illusion of choice I've adopted. He is a product of the entitlement I have secretly amassed.


I imagine a little village a few hundred miles from a city. It has a cluster of shops, a local am dram group and a congenial population of refugees from the capitol. There's an occasional exhibition of local artists and when one of the community falls on hard times the others have a whip round and are sure to knock on their door. In the dream I live amongst this group, stopping to chat mid-day, quietly getting on with life's business. I get to know people and do things with people. And one day it occurs to me that John, the guy two streets away, who has become my friend over a few years is actually a very special kind of person indeed. The kind of person I may want to share my days and nights with. This surprises me as he looks nothing like an image I used to have in my mind when I lived far away in that place of wonder and choice and illusion. He is real.