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
So , going back to last Friday….
I am supposed to meet Mr. DWTS at 6:00pm at a local dance studio for a West Coast Swing lesson. I adore dancing and as a single mother on a rather fixed (often fluctuating) income, I rarely get out to dance other than the occasional Zumba class. So I was excited to learn a new dance. Sam was spending the evening with some friends and needed to be dropped off by 5:45pm in order for me to get to the studio on time (which I had to google because I am still rather new in town so a little more wiggle room on time would have been nice but schedules matched this way). Around 4:45pm I begin the process of choosing my outfit. in answer to a Facebook plea for fashion advice earlier in the afternoon, my friend Jeanine suggested jeans and a nice top as a good “go to” first date outfit. I decided on my white jeans which I washed earlier in the day and a sleeveless silky ruffled necked top both from J. Crew.
Here is the outfit I put together:
At 5:05pm I start to get dressed and realize that all of my nude and white panties are in the dirty clothes hamper. AGGGHHH! I really hate the thought of any indication of colored underwear underneath white pants so I freaked. I had to wash some nude seamless panties in the sink then toss them in the dryer in hopes they would dry in time. I put on make-up, tried to create an alternate outfit which was a dismal failure and checked the dryer which seemed to be almost completely ineffective at this point. How long can it take to dry one pair of panties on low anyway? Apparently longer than 20 minutes because at 5:28pm I grabbed the still slightly damp panties out of the dryer and sucked it up and put them on, jumped into my jeans and headed out the door with a slight grimace on my face as I felt the cool clammy feel of my underwear.
All in the name of propriety, right?
I made it to the studio about five minutes late and the lesson started. When I got there it really hit me how little I know about this guy. I met him once and barely know anything about him, including his last name. He made more than one comment about my “dancing” shoes (the only pair of slick soled shoes I own are highish heals with leopard print and patent leather pumps) which made me uncomfortable. He also seemed a little nervous and wimpy as a dancer at first but about half way through the lesson started to ease up a bit and get into the groove. Dancing was fun. I learned a tiny bit about West Coast Swing and enjoyed the safe interaction.
Afterwards we drove separately to a nice restaurant downtown. Here’s were I panicked. As we sat down to chat I really REALIZED for the first time the implications that this man reads my blog. Suddenly all the posts came flooding into my head and the relationship between us seemed way off balance. I said something about how awkward that was and he said, “I already know everything about you. You had a bikini wax three weeks ago and you have on nice underwear.” (The irony here is that I have on an ancient, ugly, rather worn out racer back bra and icky 95% dry panties.)
I guess I had never truly considered what impression someone might have of me if they knew me only from my blog. It was certainly interesting that these were the things that stood out about me.*
We had a wonderful meal with excellent service and a nice conversation which revealed to me that we have too little in common to be romantically compatible. I would like to dance some more though. Maybe he would consider a dancing partner type of relationship until he finds someone else who is a better all around partner for him?
*NOTE TO SELF: Do not give out blog info to potential dates.
So I will not be seeing Mr Nice Change of Pace again and it has nothing to do with my calling him to invite him somewhere. (to see previous blog on calling etiquette click here)
Apparently, within the last 4 days he has had a change of heart. He sent me a charmingly written “Dear John” email stating he is getting back together with his former(?)/current(?) girlfriend.
It was a nice note and I am grateful for his honesty in the matter as opposed to leading me on or just never contacting me again. But I am a bit annoyed with my rotten luck.
It is difficult to meet suitable men in my age bracket and downright rare to find a nice one so this is a bit of a blow. I am also annoyed with the swiftness of the action. We had lunch on Tuesday when he told me he liked me and would like to get to know me better, on Wednesday he sent me an email suggesting we go on a trip together in the near future and on Saturday morning this email acknowledging that there is potential for a great romantic relationship between us but he is choosing to rekindle his relationship with this other woman.
Of course he wants to keep a friendship going- hinting that if things don’t work out with her we could give it a go.
I need some help here. How should I respond to that? Thoughts?
Yep, it is time to start going out again and yesterday, a stunning spring day here in central Virginia, I had a delightful lunch al fresco with a lovely man. If you have been following my recent dating life, you will know that this is a dramatic change of pace- meaning a delightful dating experience.
This man is nice looking, athletic (including yoga), a pleasant conversationalist, has a charming sense of humor, is an established professional, he is a father age AND he has been divorced for a few years which means he is actually
We have enough in common to be compatible but differ enough to be interesting to each other.
Here’s what happened:
He talked about his children rather than his ex-wife.
He asked questions and listened to my answers.
He shared appropriate information about himself rather than things like his sexual preferences, his issues with his co-workers/relatives/other women, details of his divorce or medical problems.
He expressed interest in my viewpoints rather than judging or trying to fix things.
He let me speak in full sentences rather than interrupting.
We ate at one of my favorite restaurants (his too), chatted and shared a chocolate mousse.
After lunch we took a nice walk and that was that. We agreed that we would like to see each other again and there was a comfortable lack of physical contact or attempt there of. (Click here to read about a contracting date)
I look forward to seeing him again soon.
When was the last time you were pleasantly surprised on a date?
Yesterday was Valentine’s Day, one of my least favorite days of the year starting with the 6th grade which was the year all the people in the class stopped exchanging paper Valentines. Ever since then the day has been a gut wrenching, ego-shrinking humiliation of witnessing other women be gifted with flowers, candy, jewelry and wined and dined at fancy restaurants while my day usually ended in a fight with whomever I was dating at the time. The exception were the years I spent married to the father of my daughter H2. He was always very good about remembering the occasion with something wonderful starting with the first Valentine’s of our dating life when on February 13th he sent me three dozen long stem white roses in a basket, you know, like the ones opera singers get in old movies after a stellar performance (aka: post Susan’s performance in CITIZEN KANE) complete with a card that said, ” I just couldn’t wait.” Practical and romantic as roses are probably half the price on 2/13 as they are on 2/14.
Anyway, that has nothing to do with yesterday where I am lacking a lover of any kind other than the vibrating variety. In a kind of desperate moment, I agreed to meet a man we will call B8 for a drink at my neighborhood hangout which is five minutes away from my house. I say kind of desperate because I think the only reason I agreed to meet him last night is because it was Valentine’s and I just wanted to be interested in by someone. But I have had coffee with this man and he seems nice so what the heck, right?
We meet at 7:30pm. We order. I am having only one drink so I opt for a glass of bubbly with a glass of water. He orders a vodka martini AND a beer. This strikes me as an interesting choice. I have spent way too many hours of my youth in bars with plenty of drunks and married two alcoholics but I have yet to observe a drink order quite like this. So I ask him why he ordered the beer and he says it makes him drink the martini slower which prevents him from getting drunk as fast.
What do you think of this logic, readers?
So having said I was uninterested in dating, I met a man for coffee this morning. There is a story behind this, of course. This man is connected socially to my landlords and I said I would meet him before I put the moratorium on dating. They asked about him and I caved.
We had a pleasant coffee and conversation, no fireworks but just fine. He likes to dance and it would be fun to see how this rather conservative person manifests dancing. At any rate, we get out to the parking lot after chatting and he hops into his huge SUV. This is the second rather conservative man I have met here who drives a in-excusably large SUV. Both men are divorced with grown children who no longer have an apparent reason for driving these gigantic gas guzzling automobiles!
It just makes me want to vomit.
Perhaps I am being judgmental here but, really, this act of driving some giant car without a real purpose just seems egotistical and un-thinking. What about the environment? What about practicality?
Both of these men are wealthy and could probably afford any regular car they would want so why stick with these horrible, giant cars?
I know I said that any two people can have a relationship given the right qualities and a willingness to communicate BUT this seems to be a pretty serious indicator of core values.
I drive a 2004 Honda Civic Hybrid. Do you think it is possible that I could live harmoniously with a man who drives a huge, honking’ SUV?
My darling daughter has been out of town for the past week scuba diving in Mexico with her father. I was planning to take some time to relax, work on my end of the year accounting and generally chill but failed miserably. Instead I began the time of being single without the mom part attached by going to dinner and a show with B4. It was a perfectly fine evening but somehow I found myself getting inexplicably irritated about 3/4 of the way through. He is really nice but might be a bit to eager to “be right for me” rather than just be himself. Anyway dinner was delish, he is great at choosing restaurants.
On Friday and Saturday night I performed in a charity benefit and on Sunday made my way to DC to visit a dear woman friend and meet up with B7, someone I grew up with and with whom I recently connected. We spent two fun filled days in DC (separate hotel rooms and no hanky panky- seriously). He is financially secure, sarcastically funny, a professional and is very accommodating. We went to the Shakespeare Theatre to see “Much Ado About Nothing” (which was fantastic), out to 1789 for dinner, The Four Seasons for a glass of bubbles, the next day went for a long walk, saw some art, skated on the mall, dined at Martins (wonderful oyster stew) and had our Tarot cards read. It was a fun way to get to know each other. He definitely shows care for what I care about but I am unsure if the communication piece is truly there and I am a little concerned about the role of alcohol in his life. He is also technically still married which makes me very uncomfortable at this time though I have made it clear that we can only be friends without benefits until a signed separation agreement is produced and if it is appropriate for me at that time to change that status.
Wednesday I had lunch (second date) with B6. I was very tired as I had little sleep on Tuesday night but he was lovely. I really like his even keeled manner and the way he talks about his two children (he has a son and a daughter, both in their 20’s). He also is involved in some major community service. This man intrigues me because he is clear in his communication (so far), and complex. He has a strong spiritual side that is compatible with my beliefs but is perhaps a bit conservative while being quite tolerant of other’s opinions. He is refreshingly sane and seems comfortable in his own skin. He is also athletic and supports the arts.
B6 has since invited me to a UVA basketball game but I was unavailable. He has mentioned a desire to get together next week.