Sometimes I wake up with my boyfriend, trip over a mug, note the boxers he’s left on the floor and pass a pizza box on the way to the kitchen, where I’m met with the despairing sight of the washing-up. Then I close the front door behind me and cheerfully skip back to my own flat.
I cherish each moment I don’t live with my boyfriend. Why would anybody live with somebody if they could afford their own space? Why — more to the point — would a woman with the kind of career and money that Meghan Markle has want to move into Prince Harry’s place? Even if it is a cottage at Kensington Palace.
He may be a royal but I’m amazed that there’s any whiff of scandal in Harry shacking up with Meghan before marriage. If anything, it’s their decision to move in together that seems so very old-fashioned. Why would any modern couple move in together when living apart makes so much sense?
In the first flush of our romance my boyfriend and I fantasised about how much money we could save by sharing a flat. But we decided nothing would be enough. There is no price you can put on never having to have a conversation about who did the washing-up. By not cohabiting, we are free to argue about Donald Trump, Jeremy Corbyn and Russia but never the loo seat.
As Virginia Woolf said: a girl needs space. How else would I gather my thoughts or dance around to 1990s music wearing only a face mask and pants? Besides, my other half is as interested in spending nights drinking prosecco with a gaggle of screaming girls and gay guys as I am in eating beef jerky while watching Ultimate Fighting Championship bouts.
I’m sure not living together is why, after two years, we are still enjoying the honeymoon period in which we each deny the other has flaws. It’s because we don’t live together that I still feel so excited when he turns up at my door, drunk, at 2am. It’s fun pestering each other to take midnight Ubers across town. Besides, we spend four nights a week together and share a dog. And I recently made the commitment to let him have a drawer at my flat. For now surely that will suffice.
There’s a name for this trend of couples like us “living apart, together”. We are Lats, which sounds unfairly unsexy, given that I bet we’re getting more of it. It helps to keep things exciting that we never have to go to Ikea or discuss who ruined the non-stick pans.
Lats are a symptom of a society in which people get together when they’re older, having already established houses and jobs. Now we’re used to a single way of life. So much so that we’d rather flat-share with our mates well into our forties than cohabit. For women, independence has particular appeal. Friends claim Markle has already started cooking for Harry, which just proves that no matter what kind of money — or humanitarian career — they are juggling, women never escape the second shift.
I’m sure dating Harry is a barrel of laughs — it’s probably a weekend in Vegas at his house every night. And as his Kensington cottage is being renovated, she can surely look forward to a hot tub, a wide-screen and a stripper pole in the basement.
Most couples live together because they can’t afford to rent — let alone own — separate homes. Harry must have access to countless beautiful properties, so why do he and Meghan need to move into just one of them together? He must be able to drum up a peppercorn-rent flat somewhere for her.
To me, such separation makes perfect sense. I don’t think a palace, a ring or a baby would make me give up having my own place. Besides, together-apart is so romantic. The way things are going, I’ll be stuck with my boyfriend for decades yet, so why rush into anything?
Don’t be so pally, Pammy
You have to be clever to play “high camp” as perfectly as Pamela Anderson. I’ve always assumed that, behind the bleached blonde hair and boobs, she was bright. Hugh Hefner teased her for being the only Playboy Bunny who knew enough about art to tell the mansion’s Dalis and Basquiats apart.
She has transformed her red Baywatch swimsuit into a career as an ethics campaigner. Still, if once Pammy appeared clever, her love affair with the self-serving narcissist Julian Assange suggests otherwise. Publishing a letter online declaring Assange a hero who has “sacrificed so much — to simply share the truth” is not very bright.