If Single People In Sydney Can’t Get A Friend Bubble, The Only Solution Is To Fuck Your Mates

friends with benefits
Contributor: Brendan Hancock

If there’s a universal truth to a Sydney lockdown, it’s surely got to be that hot takes on the internet will proliferate. And yes, there is a lot to be said about ScoMo’s lax vaccine roll-out and equally about how many of my friends are apparently anti-vaxers on the internet (the latter more shocking than the former).

But I’ve reserved my anger and my candour for a greater injustice:

The Intimate Partner Exemption.

This weekend in between-group chats where friends of mine aren’t really sure about this “vaccine” even though I’ve seen some of them do molly bought from a stranger wearing a Von Dutch trucker cap in a pub bathroom, I’ve thought about this exemption. And I am irked. Irked, I say!

Even with the toughest restrictions we’ve had in Sydney, there’s this fun little rule which lets you get out of lockdown if you need to get dicked down. It’s a valid reason to leave the house under compassionate grounds. My housemate is in a relationship and therefore has a get out of jail free card to go over to their partner’s house. All the while I’m valiantly fighting the good fight by staying in the confines of our dingy inner west sharehouse, breathing in black mould and drinking the second cheapest bottle of red from Camperdown Cellars.

Before you discount me as a lonely single spinster (although, true), you don’t need to think too hard to understand why such a rule exists. The compassionate ground of seeing a partner helps with mental health issues that are certainly exacerbated during a pandemic. I get it. It’s just not cricket when this rule only applies to people in relationships.

My closest friends and I share an intimacy I’ve never had with a romantic partner. They’ve been with me through the lowest lows (buying a ukulele) and the highest highs (finishing uni/throwing out my ukulele). But just because we don’t spit in each other’s mouths, does that mean we can’t be intimate partners? What does the government want me to do, fuck my best friend? I don’t think the government wants us to do this, but I’ll ask our new vaccine daddy/acting PM Kevin Rudd to clarify.

I’m not here to stoke the fires of discomfort between singles and couples. But this heteronormative agenda of only allowing members of the romantic class freedom of movement is one of this lockdown’s greatest injustices. Maybe this rule was hastily put into place because Gladys has a new beau. We’ve all been blindly intoxicated by love. I once flew to Tasmania for a second date. But as an ethically non-monogamous realist with a soft spot for inner west softbois with chlamydia and pallet beds, maybe this rule could have applied to singles and a dedicated support friend. Or at the very least, let us use our remaining dine and discover vouchers at Maxx Black.

Last weekend, before restrictions tightened further, I went for a rather long walk to clear the old noggin. It’s cheaper than a mental health care plan. I witnessed a stunning Sydney on a warm winter’s day. A quick look at Bondi (on Instagram you dorks) and I was assaulted by couples traipsing hand in hand, and groups playing netball and on “walking” takeaway bar crawls – a business as usual approach. But I guess if you live in Bondi the rules only apply to the backpacker pouring your skim macchiato.

We’re now settling in for a longer staycation than any of us anticipated a week ago and maybe singles not getting to fuck around isn’t exactly a big-ticket issue. Especially in light of the over policing of multicultural communities, which is sadly on-brand for a government that is the personification of #AllLivesMatter.

Despite my gentle Bondi ribbing, I’d have hoped that we would have moved past blaming individuals for our government’s exceptional failure to vaccinate our population. Perhaps we singles and couples could learn to get past our differences and take a leaf out of the French play book. Say what you will about the Parisians, but gosh do they know how to throw a revolution.

While I wait for that, you can find me at home regressing to my worst 2020 self. Think less home yoga and more re-watching Normal People / auto-asphyxiating myself with a cheap silver chain.

For inquiring minds, I’ll be reviewing candidates for the intimate partner position(s) which are currently open until midnight Friday through my Instagram.

Brendan Hancock is a Sydney based comedian, producer and softboi enthusiast. You’ve heard him as part of Inside Jokes on FBi radio and seen him hosting the rave-reviewed comedy night, Two Queers Walk Into a Bar. He’s recently been spending a lot of time with his dog Sam and having a very nice time.