There are a lot of things that happen on TV that I often wish I could pull off in real life, a large number of them involving looking good in any of the outfits worn on Gossip Girl. Also, (perhaps because of said outfits), Serena always seems to be drinking alone in bars and meeting very handsome men (despite the fact, that after five seasons of the show, she might just now be of legal drinking age). The whole ‘being a cool, composed person who can have a casual drink in a bar by herself’ thing happens on a lot of shows (Samantha did it on Sex and the City and met a billionaire!), and it’s something I envy, given my documented fear of eating alone. This fear is why, when I got stood up a few weeks ago, I had a moment of sheer panic. It was one of those unfortunate situations where I didn’t have the guy’s number so I was just blindly circling the restaurant hoping I might find him…and nothing. My first instinct was to go home and eat pie. Then the cooler and more composed part of me kicked in and pointed out that it would be silly to have driven three quarters of the way across town to a restaurant I’d been wanting to try for nothing. So I approached the bar and sat down.
This is the part where I wish I could tell you that something magical happened and a super cute guy walked up to me and asked for my number. Spoiler alert, my life is not actually a TV show, so that will not be happening. One guy did ask if the seat next to me was taken, but he was both not my type and waiting for his date to show up. No, it was a pretty mundane evening in terms of actual events. I sat there and had my beer and my burger (overrated, as I had feared, but I needed to try it myself) and ogled the bartenders (alas, the cutest one was married).
Nope, event-wise, nothing happened. Mental state wise, it was another story. As I sat at the bar, I kept waiting for some sort of embarrassment/panic/awkwardness to set in. I expected to feel uncomfortable or lonely, but strangely enough, I did not. Apparently, I am now the kind of person who is capable of eating a meal in a restaurant by myself and enjoying it. This, I feel, is no small feat for me. Turns out, I don’t have to be lonely when I’m alone.
In retrospect, I’m sort of glad my date didn’t show. There’s something to be said for being able to enjoy a good meal without the stress of making conversation with a stranger. There’s also the fact that too many rituals (going out to dinner, sharing a nice bottle of wine, seeing a movie) have become so conflated with coupledom that for me, they were things that were difficult to enjoy on their own. The truth is, however, that while there’s certainly pleasure in doing things in the company of others, there’s also joy to be derived from the things themselves, and it’s not something we should deny ourselves just because we’re single.
In conclusion: I recommend this. Go to a bar, sit down by yourself, have a drink. You probably won’t meet a really wealthy guy, you may not meet any guy, but you will get a huge confidence boost. And to me, that’s worth the price of having to buy your own drink.
Image via Pop Culture Playpen