Boring in bed: on sex, desire & vulnerability

I know someone who does not kiss on a first date. It’s a shameless and transparent ploy, because he tells the woman at the start of the evening that he doesn’t kiss on a first date, effectively setting up a challenge. I assume he has to play this game to concoct the frisson that other people… Continue reading Boring in bed: on sex, desire & vulnerability

On love and panic

I woke early this morning – who’s on a healthy sleep schedule these days, anyway? – and looking for something quick and digestible to read, stumbled across this New York Times opinion piece. And it needled me more than it should have done, possibly because I had a conversation with a friend a few days… Continue reading On love and panic

A change of decade

A big birthday makes self-important fools of us all, so I wrote 20-year-old Kirsten a rough guide to the decade she was about to embark upon, from the wise and lofty heights of 30. Hello, 20-year-old Kirsten – student, flibbertigibbet, mere child – it’s Kirsten at 30. Fuck off, 30’s not old. Have a read of… Continue reading A change of decade

In search of the lightning strike

Most first-person pieces on dating end neatly (‘and I quit all the apps one Sunday and met my husband on the Tuesday’, or ‘I have decided to stay single, I now devote my life to rescuing orphaned goats*, and I’ve never been happier’) and frankly, so they should. The general rule of writing is: take… Continue reading In search of the lightning strike

Lines that linger

I love a linguistic earworm. Lines and phrases that aren’t necessarily poetic in themselves, but are delivered in such a way that they ring in your head long after they’ve been uttered, and embed themselves into the folds of your brain for all eternity. Comedy is great for this – in fact, I’d venture that… Continue reading Lines that linger

Risotto: a love letter

  I love the significance we ascribe to food, the memories certain dishes evoke. Most of mine take me back to Granny’s kitchen: the smell of frying bacon will always put me by her Aga on a crisp blue winter’s morning; whenever I eat shortbread, I can see her taking a pale gold slab out… Continue reading Risotto: a love letter

Lines on lust

The thing about being both insecure and perhaps a touch self-involved is that when someone sends you a 4,000-word email explaining what they think of you, you find it more compelling than creepy. I received one such missive fairly recently, and it contained – among a host of other wildly incorrect things – a line… Continue reading Lines on lust

The myth of “ready”

  One of the only cheering pieces of news to have caught my attention in the last month was Natalie Imbruglia’s announcement that she has both signed a new record deal and is having a baby on her own, using IVF and a sperm donor. (It is barely three weeks since Boris Johnson became our… Continue reading The myth of “ready”

Low-maintenance

I have a friend who teaches boys how to kiss. Not as a job, you understand – but if she’s dating a guy and doesn’t like the way he kisses, she will tactfully put him right. I’m not sure of her exact methods (it would be weird if I’d witnessed this, let’s be honest) but… Continue reading Low-maintenance

Flirting with writers

Or: Woman, 28, in ‘modern dating is awful’ shock If you’ve read Dolly Alderton’s beautiful memoir Everything I Know About Love, you’ll join me in a sharp intake of breath when I mention the ‘guru chapter’. For the uninitiated: a few years ago, Alderton conducted a phone interview with a man who billed himself as… Continue reading Flirting with writers