It dawned on me the other day that I’ve been single for nearly an entire year. Don’t get me wrong—I love it. But just like I did during high school summer breaks, I always have a long “to-do” list of things I want to accomplish during my single-dom. Backpack alone. Learn a new language. Write a book. Learn to meditate. But as my 1 year single-versary draws near, I realized I haven’t spent my time truly investing in myself. I haven’t accomplished any of my goals, listened to my own needs, or cultivated my interests. What I have done, though, is make a pretty good dent in my couch, and subscribe to Netflix, HBO Go and Hulu Plus. I’ve also downloaded, deleted and re-downloaded Tinder more times than I can count.
What was I doing? Why have I been so reluctant to spend real quality time with, well… me? The most important relationship you have is with yourself, and just like dating is the process of getting to know someone new – their interests, hobbies, favorite bands and foods – it was time to get to know who Ali, SWF, was.
I brought up this concern to my friend Laura, who gave me a great idea:
Why don’t you try dating yourself?
Laura had tried this theory out when she took herself on a date to see a matinee of the musical Wicked. Sure, she might have had to leave early because her unexplained fear of earthquakes drove her from her seat on the third story mezzanine towards the end of the second act. But I was so taken by the idea, and startled that I found this courageous, that I was sold.
The idea of dating myself had never crossed my mind. Myself and I had tons in common, not to mention I think I am very pretty and have a pretty bodacious rack. Myself and I like all the same kinds of food (hate Indian), music (secretly love Matchbox 20) and movies (horror, and anything Tyler Perry). It was time I took me out for a good time.
Don’t put out, Ali. No one wants to buy the cow if they can get the milk for free!
Laura really inspired me. For five days, I was going to date myself. Here are a few things I did, and you can do, when you think it’s about time you learn to settle down with yourself.
Date One: Wine and dine yourself. Indulge in your favorite comfort food, fully, unabashedly and without regrets. For one night only, food has no calories. Dress up fancy. Flirt with the waiter. In honor of the very special occasion of dating myself, I decided to take me out to dinner at the fine establishment of “le California Pizza Kitchen” to have one of my favorite meals, the Pear and Gorgonzola pizza. I typically resist the urge to eat pizza because I don’t understand the serving size. How much pizza is one human supposed to eat in one sitting? One slice? Nope. For me, pizza for dinner means I JUST ATE A WHOLE ENTIRE PIZZA AND AM PROBS STILL A LITTLE BIT HUNGRY, DID SOMEONE JUST MENTION FRO-YO?! Anyway…
Date Two: Buy expensive (okay fine, medium priced) lingerie that no one but you will see. I feel all sorts of sensual when I am wearing a lingerie set under my clothes, and no one else knows it. I’m going to get real here for a second. I’ve become far too accustomed to wearing ripped, ill–fitting bras every day, and underwear that may or may not have the occasional period stain on it. So, I decided it was time to give my intimates drawer a little TLC. And no, this did not mean shopping the Elle Macpherson bra sale on Groupon—although that was a great deal and I did it anyway. I was going to get my butt out of bed and love on my curves in the fluorescent mirrors of Victoria Secret. If only for a day, relinquish any and all insecurities about yourself. Appreciate your body, no matter the shape or size, and luxuriate in the beauty that is you.
Date Three: see a movie—alone. This is one of my favorite things to do, and I do it regularly. I get to see the kinds of movies that no one else will see with me—10am matinee of a Tyler Perry movie, anyone? Put on sweatpants, grab your favorite soda, chow down on nachos with a side of jalapenos and get real comfy with yourself in the theater. Laugh loudly. Cry. Spread out. Use red vines as a straw. I took myself out to see Labor Day. I was the only one in the theater and I put extra butter on my popcorn. #blessed
Date Four: Go dancing. Take yourself out dancing! Nope? Okay. To be honest with you, I wasn’t that courageous. But I did make mocktails, put on my Hello Kitty onesie and dance to grimy rap around my tiny one bedroom apartment. It turns out, if left to my own devices, I can do a mean body roll. Attempt at your own risk.
Date Five: Explore your city. Despite living in LA for 27 years, I realized I didn’t truly know my city. I was going to spend the entire day exploring the nooks and crannies I had always been curious about: hiking trails, Chinatown, that Indie bookstore in Los Feliz, the Mexican Marketplace at Olvera Street. There were food trucks to be eaten from, gardens to gaze at, lattes to drink at coffee shops that were way too cool for me, and museums to wander aimlessly through. Who better to adventure with than myself?
By the end of those 5 days, I’d found my perfect partner in crime: me. Where would you take yourself on a date?
Pictures from my Instragram account @alibaby90