One of the cool things I do as a writer is review live performance. I often attend the theatre, opera, symphony or ballet for my job and it is quite glamorous and fun but sometimes a bit lonely. Although I have many friends who are also interested in the arts, many of them are a part of a couple or family and have difficulty devoting a weekend night to me to catch a show so I go alone. Many people find this shocking but what am I to do when a friend is unavailable or the show is too mature in nature for my tween-age daughter to attend?
But being alone is not always easy. When I first became a critic six years or so ago, I was married but my husband traveled a lot for his work. His schedule was always in flux and many times he would have to cancel at the last minute leaving me with an extra ticket and loneliness for a date. As our marriage deteriorated, he just flat out refused to go with me even if he was available and that empty seat next to me became a painful reminder of the isolation I felt in my marriage. As demands on my time increased when I became a single parent, I would often forget to line up a friend for an event before the last minute when most people already had plans or I was just too tired to go through the hassle of potential rejection.
For a while I did have a male friend who was eager to go to the theatre with me, a successful writer /former actor who was converting one of his novels into a script. He was terrible to go with though because he would talk, text, check game scores and emails on his iPhone during performances. Once we were seated right next to the stage in a small cafe style theatre and he griped constantly about how awful the play was during the show all the while within a few feet of the actors. Shortly after that (and more than a few requests to alter his rude behavior), I decided it was better to go to the theatre alone.
It takes a little courage to get in the habit of doing things alone but once you are comfortable with it you open up a whole new world of limitless fun. If you are un-practiced in going places alone, I suggest starting with a movie because a lot of people go to movies alone and you will feel less awkward. By noticing how many other people are there alone you will understand that it is normal and that no one is really noticing that you are alone just as you failed to notice all those people who were there by themselves when you went places with other people. The first few times you try it, go during the day or in the early evening before the “date night” crowd shows up. As you build confidence you can go when other couples and groups traditionally go and then branch out into other things like concerts, the theatre, etc.
If that is too scary you can try joining a meet-up group which is often comprised of singles who come together due to a common interest. Just google meet up and find out what groups are in your area.
You may find that you prefer being alone at times as I did last night when I attended a college performance of a famous Shakesperean tragedy. The show was so tedious and long and the theatre so frigid in temperature that I was cranky beyond measure by the end and unfit for company of any kind. I am grateful I lacked a date because they would certainly never would have called me again.
What are your feelings about doing things solo until a good companion comes along?
Art Credit: Grisznak