Adults do like to tell you how fun dating in your 20s is.

Middle-aged people often tell me that the 20s is an orgasmic blur of one-night stands, traffic-stopping attention and the power to wind middle-aged men around your finger like two-minute noodles.

Perhaps this happens to every other 20-year-old woman. I hope so. Because for me, dating in my 20s has been about as much fun as colonic irrigation.

Young people regularly feel jealous of adults but never more so than on Valentine's Day. This week, I saw one of those happy middle-aged couples, holding hands and smiling quietly at each other. They exuded contentment. So I shot them. How dare they be so happy?


For married couples, Valentine's Day is probably quite nice. You might send each other cards. You might go to dinner. You might turn to your partner and thank him or her quietly for recognising you as an entity worthy of love, attention and being picked up from the bus stop. But if you're in your 20s and single, this is what Valentine's Day can feel like:

8am: Wake up. Check your Facebook messages ... Any messages? Any ... ANY? What about that guy who you made out with in a bar last week? He said he really liked you ...

8.02am: No. Well, whatever. He wore Lynx body spray anyway.

8.03am: Go back to bed. You're going to sleep. You don't care about this shit. You're single, happy and sexy. You're not going to worry about some Westernised commercialist capitalist agenda to enslave women to an outdated sexist notion of seeking their identity through a boyfriend.

8.06am: Oh God. No messages.

8.07am: It's your haircut. Your fringe doesn't look fresh and edgy. You look like Angela Merkel with indigestion.

8.30am: Wear super-sexy undies to work to cheer yourself up. Suspenders? Stockings? G-string? Why not, it's Valentine's Day. You might as well flirt with yourself.

9am: Get to work. Check FB newsfeed. Oooh ... it's that guy ... the one who had a crush on you last year and asked you out. And you didn't know how to say no to him. So you freaked out. And then you ignored all his messages. ... How's he doing? Oh good, he's put on weight ...

9.01am: Shit! You just shared his profile photo on your FB! Oh GOD.

9.02am: Close the computer. Ignore it. Go and get a coffee.

9.05am: Your boss is getting coffee too. Oh, why is he so attractive? WHY? Dress-down Friday should be banned - it's too distracting.

9.06am: Oh, he's walking back with you. God, it's hot out here. You can feel your stockings soaking up sweat. Why did you wear stockings? It's 35 degrees! You don't feel sexy, you feel like a turkey basting in its own juices! Spend the whole conversation, where he explains something really cultured, just nodding in response, because the only thing you can think is that there's sweat dribbling down your thigh.

9.07am: Well, that was a good use of a networking opportunity.

9.10am: Check FB messages. Still nothing. Listen to Single Ladies.

12pm: Lunch. Oh God, Rebecca's there. She's the glossy intern who's also a model, part-time lawyer and raises baby orphaned pandas in her bathtub. She tells you she was sent 12 red roses. She doesn't even have a boyfriend. Men just buy her things because they think she'll kiss them, or look at them, or spit on them ...

1pm: Pitch an article to your editor. It's a sassy piece about how it's way cooler these days to be single than in a relationship. She gives you a pitying sigh, "No cards then, babe?"

1.30pm: Remember this time last year when you dumped your boyfriend the week before Valentine's Day? Was it such a bad relationship?

1.35pm: He bought you lilies on your birthday. Lilies! Why did you break up with him?! He was the one! The ONE! FB stalk him! Quick! Your eggs are dying by the day!

1.39pm: He's got a new girlfriend.

3pm: Well. He had funny shaped ears anyway. Beyonce wouldn't settle for funny shaped ears.

4.30pm: That's it. You're going home. No overtime. You need to eat yoghurt and watch Love Actually.

5.05pm: MESSAGE!

5.06pm: It's the guy whose photo you shared. "Um, you don't talk to me for a year, and then you share my pp? Wtf?" Oh. God. Turn off your phone. You've used this strategy for the past year. You might as well stick with it.

5.07pm: Do nunneries still exist ... ? Do they offer internships?