Thank fuck they haven’t set us dry, irrelevant, tedious texts this year (Daniel Deronda, I’m looking STRAIGHT at you). Madame Bovary is actually riveting. I’ve got about quarter of the way through in relatively few hours, and it’s written beautifully. New favourite methinks.

Better than studying the Bible, that’s for sure.

I have noticed an interesting feeling developing recently – that of the unwelcome tag of “third wheel” settling uncomfortably on my shoulders. If you’re inclined to input the phrase into a search engine, you’re likely to come across various unflattering descriptions and “how-to” advice on avoiding the sensation. As unpleasant as it is, denying it would be churlish, and thus I must work through it and deal with it like an adult rather than a little girl.

It’s strange for me – my past circles of friends avoided males like the plague. I still do, on the whole, although it’s now less a matter of being scared of them and more of not being able to find common ground with them. I find the majority of them to be arrogant tossers, and the only reason I’d want to get remotely close to any of them would be to punch a gap in their front teeth. This majority clearly feel the same way about me: there is nobody out there tripping over themselves to enter into a relationship with me. Unless they’re drunk Asian men. Again, denying this is fruitless. I know what I know.

The obvious way to remedy the feeling of being a specimen of social outcast is probably by getting a boyfriend.

Fuck that shit, if I may.

I wouldn’t be able to deal with it. I have a fairly limited capacity for social interaction, and after the timer goes off, I require a sizeable period of solitude. If they disagreed with me on something, I’d either snap angrily at them or simmer and start to resent them. If they started acting like a limpet, I would start having visions of breaking their hands, and you get the gist of what I’m saying here. I’d be unhappy.

I’m aware that this sounds like fervent, lying denial, but you’ll have to trust me when I tell you it isn’t.

Not only would I be at breaking point if I ventured down that road, but for most of the time, I like being a distant, singular entity. Various reasons have contributed to this:

a) the defiance of social norms. Nineteen-year-old female university students are sort of required to have a boyfriend/partner/whatever you call it when you’re not ten years old, I’m out of the loop. People expect it. Hell, my family seem to anticipate it. Oh no no no, you’ll not catch me in that trap. Merging my identity with someone else’s because it’s “normal at your age”? NO.

b) the defiance of my family. As I said above, they appear to expect me to enter into a relationship fairly soon. They keep dropping hints about being “the one left on the shelf”, which only recently lost its sting. My mother, at one stage not long past, hinted at two people she’d like to see me with. One was a Christian version of Harry Potter, who fortunately is engaged to someone equally as lovely and normal and kind and responsible and boring as he is, so may they be very happy and all that, and the other was nice enough, but not my type. At all. Like I’d rather kiss my cat than kiss him. For this reason in particular, I intend on holding out as long as humanly possible.

c) the preservation of my integrity. Last year I did so much of that fucking awful drunken dancing with randoms that I actually want to hurt myself as punishment, in all seriousness. Where the HELL did my respect for myself go? Why did I do that to myself? Why could I not see that they only engaged in such behaviour with me AFTER they had downed a large quantity of alcohol? No more. I refuse point-blank to do that any longer, and similarly to compliment, to simper, to sycophantically laugh for anyone. No fucking more.

I do realise of course that not all men are hideous drunk pussy-scouts in clubs. The ones I actually speak to are decent people. It would be exceedingly unfair on them if I did group them with all the other males I know of.

The huge positive side to all of this is that any bitterness or hatred I feel can be easily converted into academic energy: “angry studying”, as I think of it. The pent-up frustration can go into reading and researching, and can drive me through inspiration dry spots. I like things that are useful, and so I must learn to like the namesake of “third wheel”, as it will be my sustenance.

I would like to inform everyone that yesterday, I almost bought all of the Tank Girl comics, and the only thing that stopped me was a total lack of disposable money. Blast.

One day…ONE DAY…!

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