Look at her over there, sitting at the bar alone, reading the Sunday Times, sipping her second glass of Sancerre.
What a woman. “Can I be her?!” you’re thinking. You can and you will, if I have anything to do with it.
Whether you’re coupled up or not, a part of a close-knit pack of friends or not, let me take this opportunity to blab about how taking yourself on solo dates is integral to a happy human existence. Loving others, great. Loving yourself, way better! Happiness sits squarely in your own damn hands, and once you grasp onto that, you’ll only be more confident, easy-going, self-sufficient, fulfilled and full of funny stories. Need I go on?
Throughout all of these solo dates, remember: no one is looking at you. And if they are, it’s only because they admire what a smart, independent and gorgeous woman you are and they wish they were as smart, independent and gorgeous as you.
Now, take yourself on one of these dates. Because, damn girl, you fine…
Make a romantic dinner at home… for one.
Go ahead, light that $$$ diptyque candle. Open a bottle of Bordeaux that cost more than $12. Instead of shoveling mac ‘n’ cheese straight from pot to spoon to mouth – which there’s nothing wrong with, bytheway – take your time in the kitchen, blasting some tunes (what about Foxygen’s latest groovy and goofy album?) and preparing a real sit-down meal. (Perhaps top it off with Liz’s three-ingredient ice cream pie.) Musts: use your dining room table for once, drape a cloth napkin across your lap and banish your phone to another room. Bon appé-effing-tit.
Take a mini road trip.
Or a full-on road trip, for that matter! With so much chatter cluttering our brains these days, let the open road and cruise control at 79 miles per hour calm your subconscious. Catch up on your podcasts; tell me you love Abbi Jacobson’s Piece of Work as much as I do. Or croon along to a road trip playlist and stop at every antique shop along the way. Getting yourself out of your everyday route, and into another city where you’re anonymous, is invigorating.
Pack a picnic.
With the charcuterie and stinky cheeses you like, because you won’t be making out with anyone and no need to worry if your picnic partner is dairy-free or dairy-full! Bring that book you’ve been meaning to read. (Will I ever get past the halfway point of Tenth of December?) A canteen full of wine is optional for some, a non-negotiable for me. While you’re there, stick around for the sunset.
Sign up for that painting/screenwriting/nerdy class you’ve been wanting to take.
At least once a week I go to a dance class. There’s the tall blonde who usually stands in front of me and the suave older man with moves who is front-and-center. That’s all I know about them, and that’s how I like it. That hour is mine. With my phone locked away, I slip in, perfect my cumbia, then slip out an hour later a little sweatier, a little more coordinated and a little more fulfilled. Don’t you dare wait for someone in your life to also be interested in letterpress or tennis or poetry for you to take a course in what interests you most.
Go to a concert.
I know, I know – this one is a toughie! But think: you can stand where you want, head to the bar when you want, dance when you want, see whichever musician you want without needing to convince a friend to also spend $45 and then, oh crap, it’s all sold out. Plus really, how much talking do you really do at a concert anyway? A couple years ago I even went to a full-blown two-day music festival in another state by myself. (Where, naturally, because the world is thisbig, I ran into several friends as well as an ex-boyfriend, who approached me during the Tallest Man on Earth’s set to apologize for being an awful human to me, but never mind that…) I had a great time, seeing the sets I wanted and staying through the final encore without worrying if any concert-mate was too beer buzzed or tired to stick it through.
Wander around a museum.
I once took a new gentleman friend on Date #3 to the Walker Art Center and boiled inside as he said butthead comment after butthead comment about an exhibit at my beloved art museum, a safe place for me in many ways. I decided then I’d never see him again and that I prefer going to museums by myself. I’m a sign-reader. I stare at some pieces for too long, others not long enough. Some things are best experienced at your own pace; museums are one of them.
Treat yourself to the finer things.
Buy yourself flowers at the farmers’ market. Wear that Stella McCartney lingerie set just around the house. Billecart-Salmon bubbles are just as delicious if you drink the whole bottle yourself! Listen to a record all the way through. Write yourself a love letter because self-love is important and has anyone told you how wonderful you are yet today? No? You’re wonderful.
Megan McCarty is a writer, editor, etc.-er who has written about life, love and – shh, don’t tell her mother – s-e-x for Garance Doré, Apartment 34, Rue and more. While based in Minneapolis, she’s always ready, willing and oh-so eager to pack a bag, board a plane and wander new streets.
BY Megan McCarty - September 16, 2017
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.
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