In January of 2018 when I moved into my own flat, aged thirty-four, I became what Argyll & Bute Council term on their local authority tax form a “single occupant.” I found the phrase to be judgmental and harsh, and it took me some time to decide that it was worth the 25% discount on my annual council tax bill to be forever labelled a single occupant. It was a statement which, once agreed to, suggested that I was accepting that I no longer have any hope of finding meaningful romance. My locally elected officials had even determined that I couldn’t enjoy so much as a one-night-fling, a sleepover, since they had decreed that I am a single man who lives by himself. I was signing up to be a single occupant, not a single occupant who has a girl over once or twice a year if he is lucky or doesn’t say something stupid.
Through my life, I have always kept a collection of notebooks in which I have journaled my thoughts and observations and ideas. In my new flat, there is a notebook in almost every room: I keep one in the drawer of my bedside table, in the event that I awake in the night with a revelation which needs noting; there is a notebook in my kitchen and there are several around my living room. I don’t keep a notebook in the bathroom, although I do have toilet paper. This is an example of the type of joke which features heavily in my blog.
With all of the spare time that a single occupant finds on his hands, I decided that I would use my collection of notebooks to assist me in documenting my experiences as a now thirty-five-year-old single man.
Diaries of a single man is a blog about life on the west coast of Scotland. It is a blog about the female ghost which I suspected was haunting my bedroom; the process of deciding which condiments go in what kitchen cupboard; dead houseplants and the sartorial considerations of a man who likes to match the colour of his socks to his tie.
Diaries of a single man explores the bars around Oban and the drinkers who inhabit them; a series of failed flirtations, the pieces of advice I have received in order to attract a woman; mangoes and hangovers.
There are stories of anxiety; travelling to gigs far and wide; a visit to the doctor; the drama behind simple household chores; unrequited love/like; terrible jokes and chat lines and unscheduled flat gatherings.
All characters are given an anonymous identity, and every story is true.