When I start to suffer from ennui, I try to distract myself by reading books about lost women with worldly problems. In the early 20th century, the author Elin Wägner wrote Men and Other Misfortunes, a novel about four young women living together in a small, cold apartment in Stockholm. They are office workers, long before society considered this a normal job for women. It’s a sad book, but the tongue-in-cheek comments are timeless and recognisable. Wägner concludes that, when a man is sad, he seems to need a woman, preferably under the age of 30, so he can tell her all about it.

Christmas is the happiest time of the year for the Swedish roommates in the novel. It takes them so long to save up for their Christmas party that all they can talk about is socialism. Secretly, they all miss the homes they grew up in. Although I’ve been forced to stay with my parents, it really isn’t all bad. It stops me from thinking too much about my housemate, an obsessive hoarder, and the heartless rental managers who took my other home away from me.

I’m in the train a lot now. Whenever I’m leaving Rotterdam at one in the morning, a common occurrence, with my Paul Smith pumps in my bag, I can’t help but wonder: am I travelling away from home or heading towards it? Either way, it’s bittersweet exhaustion. The Chris Rea in my head keeps playing Driving Home for Christmas. And that makes me wonder: how long has he been in his car? Where has he come from? And how long has he been away? I’ve had enough. This month, all my glamour will be fictional.

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