I’m a big believer in self-love, self-care and lots of other things that centre around myself. I’m also single, which is how I got the chance to date my one true love (me) and report back to see how truly awkward it was going out in public and romancing your own person (strictly PG by the way). I spent a week doing typical ‘date night’ activities as they would naturally evolve, and I did it all solo.
I only did it over five days instead of the seven that traditionally (aka always) makes up a week because anyone who goes on seven dates in one week is a nutter and I wanted to make this as legit as possible. And people obviously aren’t giving up their weekends to meet potential soul mates… right? Wait, is this why I’m single? I digress, here’s what went down…
Date 1 – Getting To Know You Beverage
It’s safe to say I had first date jitters before heading out for solo drinks at one of my favourite local bars (Frank and Blanco as an FYI). I figured I would fall into two categories: the lonely boozer, or the ‘here to pick up’ girl. As neither, I was careful in selecting an appropriate outfit, just like I would for any other date, that wouldn’t draw any unwanted attention. Naturally that meant jeans, t-shirt and a blazer; a tried and true outfit for any occasion in my opinion.
I rolled into the bar acting all confident and decided to sit at the bar as I have seen people do in the movies. It was a weeknight so pretty quiet, which meant the bartender was keen for a chat. This was good and bad. Good, because he was interesting and funny, but bad because he wanted to know why I was on my own. I told him I was dating myself as an experiment and he just laughed and accepted it like it made perfect sense. I felt much better suddenly. The delish passionfruit margarita probably helped too.
I ended up having a great time just chatting to the bartender between customers, reading blog posts and enjoying the #vibes. Between beverages I even got the bartender to take a picture of me (not something I would do on a date FYI) and he obliged, taking several from different angles just like his girlfriend had taught him. Ladies, if you can tear yourself away from solo dates, find a guy who does that!
Date 2 – Dinner and a movie
I had Thai for dinner (beef rendang for those of you who are REALLY interested) and I purposely chose a place without candles, but I was still the only person there eating on my own. This was probably the most awkward I felt during the whole experiment. I was facing outwards to the room, not hiding in a corner, and while everyone was more concerned with chowing down than looking at me, I still felt a couple of curious glances. I ate quickly and ~casually~ sipped my beer for a good 40 minutes before I decided that was an adequate dining time. Good news is I didn’t have to mess around with the awkward “are we going to split the bill?” talk. #WIN
Off to the movies I went and right away I knew I was going to love this. I’ve never seen a movie on my own before but a lot of people tell me how amazing it is, and I can confirm it is very enjoyable. The cinema was a ghost town (I guess 10pm is too late for a movie?) and that helped me feel more at ease as I munched through all my popcorn before the movie even started. Eventually a few people joined me in the cinema… and they were all in pairs. Dinner had taught me to just avoid their enquiring looks and amuse myself so that’s what I did until the lights went down. Solo movies are now going to enter my life on high rotation. Oh, and I can 10/10 recommend I, Tonya. Margot Robbie is brilliant.
Date 3 – Bondi to Coogee walk with fish and chips
Honestly, walking from Bondi to Coogee on my own did not feel like a date. It might have felt like one if I was with someone but on my own it just felt like exercise. I mean, I needed some exercise, but the romance factor was zero and I quickly realised as I walked for an hour that what makes ‘activity’ dates like that special and fun is 100% the other person. It’s definitely the type of third date I would suggest to someone I was hoping would become a significant other. It’s low-key, gives you the chance to talk and doesn’t involve alcohol (which can sometimes make people seem cooler than they are), so it made sense at the time.
It really just ended up being me walking the beautiful Sydney coastline (seriously, next time you’re in Sydney you must do this walk), listening to music, musing about my life and then undoing the hard work with fish and chips takeaway on the beach. I’d give this solo date a 4/10 simply because it was lacking in the self-love factor… and I hate exercising in crowds.
Date 4 – Sunset Picnic with wine
This was my favourite date hands down. I think it would have been whether I was solo or with a hunky dude though. I love sunsets, I love picnics and I adore being outside… with wine. I left work a little early so I could catch the sun setting and went to a place near my house that I knew had a great view even on a cloudy day, set up my dinner (sadly not beef rending, just lamb and veggies) and popped the red wine, settling in for a quiet and amazing scene. I did a lot of good, deep and inspiring thinking while I was here, and I honestly don’t think I would have had that if I had been with someone else. I’d have chatted and gossiped and briefly enjoyed the view between laughs, which is fine, but I’m glad I got this special time on my own.
And the best part? I didn’t feel awkward once! There were a few people around but they were there to watch the world change to night too, and it didn’t feel like we were all that different even though I was alone. This date was quiet and done with intention and definitely something I’ll be repeating when I need some solo TLC.
Date 5 – Netflix and Chill
I watch a lot of Netflix already (I am a millennial, it’s what we do) so was this a truly life changing date? No. It was a standard Friday night. BUT, in an attempt to make it more date-like I did bring some choice snacks along and pick out a movie to watch rather than continue a series I was already watching. No one tried to put the moves on me while I was trying to concentrate on the storyline of the flick which made it better than most Netflix dates, and I do enjoy curling up on my own so we were good.
I have come to the conclusion though that watching TV in a house is decidedly not a date. If someone tries to tell you it is, they are lying. It’s just not noteworthy and there’s no ‘in the moment’ moments to be had while you’re chilling in your comfy jumper with a handful of Maltesers. If I’m wrong about this please let me know, it’s possible I missed an important step like candles or something.
Overall, I’m happy to report this was not the soul-crushing, mortifying experience I imagined it was going to be. Sure, the dinner was a hurdle and made me feel a bit tense, but that was my own assumptions and criticisms coming in, not other peoples. The sunset date on the other hand was magical and I’m already dying to do it again! I often extol the virtues of being sans partner, but this experiment made me realise that I’m only doing half the job of being single and I really could be enjoying it so, so much more by treating myself like I would Mr (or Mrs) Right.