Charmed life

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Single White Female, living toute seule. All my married friends think this is great. My welcome-to-your-new-home cards do not bear the usual sweet greetings, but are inscribed with exclamatory remarks such as "Lucky old you!!" or "I'm soooooo jealous!". A popular line is "just think, you can bring home whoever you like, and no one will know".

The one I did think particularly touching was "wishing you happiness, fun, and lots of dirty sex", accompanied by a matchstick man drawing on an innocent, flowery granny-card.

Sorry to disappoint, girls, but at the moment I'm only bringing home Billy and Ivar, then spending hours trying to erect them in the living room. You all know Billy and Ivar - everyone's had them at one time or another - Billy the bookcase and Ivar the storage system from The Furniture Store From Sweden. Ikea also provides a Nevil, a Roberto, and a Jonathan, for hours of fun with an Alan key.

Now my Ikea mission is a bed - a rather essential ingredient in my new pad according to my well-wishing friends. I arrive at the mattresses.

There are lots of couples bouncing up and down together on the various strengths and firmnesses. I, rather self-consciously, step in and lie solitarily on a few. This will not do - all around me they are coupling up on the Kalifs and the Sultans like it's Noah's Ark. Besides, I cannot make up my mind about the Lillehammer bed frame. Decide to ask soon-to- be-ex to come and perform mattress-testing with me the next day.

Meanwhile, as it is inconceivable to leave Ikea empty-handed, I buy two Popps, a Nobb and a Skubb.

My mother rings. She has a different idea about my sleeping arrangements - I can have the single bed from the spare room, because, after all, that's all I'm going to be needing from now on "What do you want a double bed for?" she asks, genuinely puzzled. I am about to trot out an explanation along the lines of: it's more comfortable, am used to big bed, room for books, phone etc. Then I decide to use a line that a friend uses every time she wants to justify something vaguely illicit: "This is the 1990s." She gasps and mumbles something about her hair going white.

It is not only my mother who would wish her daughter tucked up in a two- foot-sixer with a cup of cocoa and some bed socks. A 35-year-old friend moved house recently and shipped in the bunk beds that she and her sister once slept in. They also formed two single beds, so she planned to push them together permanently, ready for nights of passion with her man of the moment. She left her Dad sorting out the beds while she nipped out, only to return to find he had erected them as bunk beds, just like the old days. "What did you do?" I asked. "What could I do?" she said. "It certainly gives 'who wants to go on top?' a whole new meaning."