This year I’ve given up on pledging to go to the gym. I’ve never actually been enough of a sucker to actually enter one of those seasonal cut-rate Faustian pacts with fitness gyms. I’ll admit that I’ve toyed with the idea, but I don’t like lifting stuff, and sports equipment make me a bit anxious, both important realisations to come to. So if 2016 and the years since have been, as said Kylie, all about ‘realising stuff’, then let 2019 be all about finally making something of those realisations. In the spirit of annual renewal, allow me to share some of my resolutions on this very public platform in the vain-by-Feb-1st hope that I will actually stick to them.
Stop ghosting guys on Grindr
According to Apple’s godforsaken ‘Screen Time’ function, the fifth most used app on my phone, surpassing Google Maps, Safari and Mail, is Grindr. But you would be mistaken, reader, to come here expecting swashbuckling tales of a queer Don Juan. For that I most certainly am not. So why do I spend so much time on an app whose literal purpose is to facilitate fucking, you ask? Well, often, I just scroll aimlessly, seeking solace in the humbling melancholy of knowing I am so surrounded by men as bored and horny as I am, yet here I float, alone. I am a gay Scarlett Johansson in Lost in Translation, sat in my Park Hyatt window gazing wistfully over a Tokyo where the towers are tops named Dominic, furtive diamond emojis at their peaks twinkling in the twilight glow of my malfunctioning backlight. I am waiting for my Bill Murray.
I’ve earmarked a good fifty-or-so potentials with a golden star. Every now and again I’ll summon the -- typically dutch -- courage to send a coy tap, or a “hey” when particularly bold -- always lower case. And I’ll often get nothing in return, shoring up that sweet sense of solitude; they, I tell myself, are but sirens on a screen, as impossible to reach as the celestial bodies strewn nightly across the indigo sky. But there are those times when a Bill Murray will respond. This is it, I see it all: sloppy, cute kara-oke; kisses stolen beneath cherry blossoms at dusk; dashing, hands held, clumsily in a downpour through the warren of bars in Golden Gai; I… leave the poor boy on read. It’s a reflex, I honestly can’t help it. But this year, I’m pledging to stop ghosting the vaguely interested men of Grindr. Not so much as a service to my sexual wellbeing, but more as I will not go another year casting myself as Scarlett fucking Johansson, and I will get more from my daddies than that weak af peck on the lips she got in the end so help me God.
Start going to the doctor (responsibly)
And as I hacked up the lining of my lungs for the tenth time that morning, my boss worrisomely advised urgently seeking medical counsel. I didn’t. I mean, I don’t think that I’d have legally been able to, but the point is more that I just didn’t go. It was a day in February 2016, indiscernible other than the aforementioned lung-hacking, and I was spending the year’s secondment in Berlin expected of any self-respecting angst-gay™. Anyway, I’d craftily (and very foolishly) dodged the Merkel-mandated requirement for health insurance, so I couldn’t get the phlegm-y scourge on my chest seen to. Ever the herbalist, I opted for a self-prescribed tonic of the city’s arctic air, from which all moisture had been zapped at -12 celsius, an ivy-infused linctus, and ‘additive-free’ cigarettes.
Reader, I have never been so ill for so long. An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but twenty Gauloises Blue do not. As 2017 approached, now back in Blighty, I promised myself I’d abide by a doctrine of shameless #selfcare and just go to the doctor whenever I felt off-key. Pandora’s box was open. So much as a housemate’s sneeze had me scurrying the two minutes (three in the case of a particularly sore knee) from front door to my nearest surgery. Recent highlights include rushing back to the dentist two days after a tooth extraction with totally unsubstantiated claims of dry socket, and begging my GP for an Accutane referral upon the emergence of a single spot. I’m not advocating a return to those dark Berlin days, but they did teach me the value of unfettered access to healthcare.
And now that it’s abundantly clear the NHS won’t be seeing a weekly £350mn boost come March 29th, I promise to stop taking the piss and settle for a Lemsip more often.
Stop talking about people from Instagram as if you know them
A very boring but lovely old friend and I recently caught up over a drink having not seen one another in about a year. He filled me in on the dull, innocuous stories from his corporate life, and I recounted the destitute glamour of mine as a self-branded ‘London creative.’ All those ritzy tales of unregulated hours and unpaid invoices. My palate-cleanser-pal ate up every gaudily embellished word. “Wait, lemme show you pics,” say I, unholstering and brandishing my phone with whetted precision. Overcoming the mild embarrassment of unlocking straight onto Grindr, I hop over to Instagram to scroll through the backpages of my hotter friends’ lives. After jumping from one tagged profile to another, he mutters: “Your circle’s certainly altered,” steam almost rising from beneath his starched collar. “I wouldn’t really call the last few friends...” I nervously giggle. “What would you call them then?” “Acquaintances I guess? I dunno, they’re friends of friends, I only really know them from Insta.” And he looks at me like I am off my fucking rocker.
Only then does it dawn on me that I’ve spent a hefty portion of the precious time we’ve wrested from one another’s busy, busy lives speaking about people that I don’t actually know, but of whom I basically know more about than I do of him. If that’s not enough, there was also a time when I, admittedly not in the best state of judgment, proudly staggered towards an Instagram person with cringe-inducing gaiety, introduced myself, and was met with a stunned ‘Uhm...hi?’ and the very same expression worn by my friend. So who do I have now? There’ll always be the ‘gram, I guess.
Stop assuming that everyone shares your niche interests/Keep your niche interests covered
I’d consider myself a person of pretty typical interests. I like fashion, I like art, I like ‘culture’ etc. But I also, like many, harbour a couple of ‘niche’ interests. Some have since ascended to mainstream adoration, passive appreciation at the very least, like K-pop: my encyclopedic knowledge of the genre’s veritable doyennes, Girls Generation, now sometimes comes in handy at parties. Others, however, remain deeply uncool. Like planes.
People don’t want to know more about planes. I was once at a very pleasant dinner when a fellow guest said something about having to turn in early, as he had a flight to catch the next day. This is a reasonable, unremarkable excuse to check out, but I, like a bloodhound on a scent-trail, would not let him go: “Oh, where?”, I jabbed, ears pricked. “Shanghai, for work,” his indifferent response. “BA169 or VS250? :)” “Uhh...the first one? Are you flying too?”, says he, visibly dreading the prospect of this new in-flight friend for the 11-hour haul. “No no :)) It just had to be one of the two, the China Eastern one doesn’t leave till way later, and you said you were getting up early... Anyway, you dodged a bullet, the A340-600 that Virgin runs there is a total shitshow, BA’s 777-300 interiors are v chic. Ah wait though, tomorrow’s a Saturday, right? Yeah, they sometimes put that one on the later flight, and put a 777-200 on yours, so you’d’ve been better off on Virgin babe haha x :)))”
Ah, I can almost taste the kerosene...but as I come back down to land, there it is again, that same, accusatory glare implying that I am totally deranged. So I’m going to add ‘knowing that strangers do not want to know more about planes/my weird interests’ to this year’s list because I honestly can’t handle that look again. In the meantime, however, I will be waiting for Demna to turn to the wealth of looks offered by the aviation geek, or to come out with layered baggage tag parka or something, and maybe then you’ll want to talk. And yes, I know there was Chanel spring/summer 16, but that just wasn’t enough.
This article originally appeared on i-D UK.