Dating myself.

I go on solo dates very often, these days. Sometimes they’re small – just a quick coffee and a few pages of a book, or a drink in the pub before my friends arrive. Sometimes they’re bigger – a trip to the cinema, the odd gig, a lunch out in London between meetings...

(Photo: Erin Veness)

I have been taking myself on these kinds of dates since I was in my second year of uni; unhappily single, living with jerks, struggling with assignments...and working in the coolest cinema in town. It was then that I started going to see films on my own. Yep. Some nights I’d just work 5:30 – 9pm and then I’d follow the audience I’d just served into the screen – #1 perk of the job, free tickets and special seats with extra leg room at the back of the theatre. Ohhh yeah, that was the sweetest deal. I also got 50% off at the bar and, after the intensive wine and cocktail training I had when I began working there, I was suddenly an expert on fancy booze. So before I knew it, most of my (once boring) week nights were spent watching the latest Oscar nom, drinking a large glass of the finest Chilean Carmenere, and polishing off a bottomless box of free popcorn. It was divine.

Then I went totally crazy one night after work, and went across the road from the cinema to the posh pub. I sat at the bar reading for an hour or so, and chatted with the young barman, who seemed amazed that I was there, all alone and happily reading.

It was a while before I felt I could take myself out for dinner, and I think the first time I did it was out of pure necessity, to be honest. But these days I love treating myself to proper meals out. Just the other day before a freelance gig, I pottered around Islington (the Oxfam Books there is fabulous) and ended up lunching alone in Wagamama. Then recently, I took myself out for dinner in one of my all-time favourite restaurants, Dim T in Winchester. I read some of my book as I ate my delicious yellow curry, then browsed Instagram as I sipped my peppermint tea. Actual bliss. Then I took myself back to a hotel off the high street, because I'm such a fancy gal... 

(Photo: Erin Veness)

I have always been independent and I am totally comfortable in my own company, but it took a while before I was brave enough to actually go out and do ‘date-type things’ all by myself. For some reason, somewhere in my later teen years, I had started to worry I’d look sad and pathetic taking myself out for drinks or dinner. I think in my first year of uni I was even irrationally scared to go to Sainsbo’s for my Big Shop alone – what if other people saw me and thought I had no friends!?

But as I entered my twenties, I realised my ridiculous obsession with what others thought of me, and more specifically the panicking I’d do, all day every day, that some people may not like me (news flash: nobody is liked by everybody)...was bullsh*t. Don’t get me wrong, I have a way to go yet, but these days my self-worth is pretty decent and self-confidence is somewhat consistent. I have no insecurities about going places alone, now. I entertain myself no problem (oohh err) and I like myself now more than I ever have before. 

So...why wouldn’t I want to date myself? 

(Photo: Erin Veness)

Now, here are some fun ideas if you were thinking about dating yourself:

  • The cinema - as mentioned above, solo cinema dates are magical.
    BONUS: you don't have to worry about having someone beside you maybe not enjoying the film as much as you are. No responsibility!

  • Trip to the beach - pack a towel, some sun cream, a book (or two) and your most outrageous sunglasses (mine are huge half-mirrored cat eyes, and a friend told me they make me look like 'a sexy alien'). Sit and listen to the sea, breathe it in and absorb some sun.
    BONUS: well, again, nobody else to worry about. You can set up camp wherever you want, and nobody will pressure you to swim in the freezing cold sea! 

  • A show - have you ever wanted to see that one specific show, but nobody seems to share your excitement and interest in it? Why not take yourself? (See my theatre reviews for ideas, if you're not sure where to start.)
    BONUS: you can sing, dance in your seat and ugly-cry all you want!


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