No one ever warned me about what happens to your social life after college. Most of my friends are now scattered across various and sundry parts of the world. A lot of them decided to get married for some reason. And of those, a few are having kids. Already.
Now, don’t get me wrong–my friends are great people. I love them. I’m happy for them. And those that are still in the area are pretty cool about inviting me to events, or even just to their place for a cup of coffee and a chat. But, I have come to realize that I am the single friend who is beginning to relate to everyone else a little less every day. They’re looking up recipes for dinner, worried that their husbands will think that they spent too much on the groceries, etc. And me…well, I’m still worried about papers and presentations. We are concerned about fundamentally different things.
I love my friends, and I enjoy spending time with them, no matter how it happens. I will ooh and ah over their wedding china, pots and pans, new sofa, vacuum… I will be as excited as they are. I am invited fairly regularly. Sometimes, due to the craziness of a grad school schedule, I even have to turn down several invitations. Which is another difference–when you’re still a student, you still have stuff to do after 5pm.
So there are times when I actually get crazy lonely. Because it’s not the same. There’s no more saying, “Bring your homework and crash in my room. I’ll make coffee.” There’s no more army of girlfriends at lunch telling you that six months post-breakup is past time to pull yourself together. There are no more artist series plans based on the understanding that anyone who gets asked by a guy may bail.
And so, after a fairly lonely 2016, I decided it was time for a change.
I’ve always kinda scoffed at the whole “date yourself” thing. Yeah, yeah, love yourself, blah, blah, blah. How narcissistic can a person be? And then I started reading through the ideas.
I’ve gone to plays and concerts by myself before. I’ve taken myself out for coffee before. I’ve gone to the library by myself before. I’ve actually done a lot of things by myself for a while, because I’m an introvert, and so that’s how I naturally roll. So now, I just have to remember that I enjoy it.
Snow came this weekend, and very few people are back from Christmas break, so I got bored out of my mind today. And so I began to look at “date yourself” ideas thinking that I would follow through next weekend. But then I had an idea.
The past few months, I’ve struggled to get out of bed in time to make myself look decent, mostly because I’m constantly exhausted, but also because why should I wake up earlier to do my hair? Who am I trying to impress? And so, last semester, I set a new personal record–ten days straight of having my hair in a ponytail, despite hearing my mother’s voice in my head asking if I was wearing my hair up every day and telling me to cut it out. And this quote from Mean Girls:
So today, I got dressed up and did my hair and makeup (even looked up makeup tutorials) for no reason other than because I felt like it.
And then I decided to make myself a fancy dinner.
Ok, so it was Velveeta shells and cheese with a barbecue chip crumble and a dash of cayenne pepper. And iced tea. And two squares of chocolate for desert. (Don’t ask me why I have a champagne flute. It’s a long story, but I swear it has nothing to do with me consuming alcohol.) So I can’t light the candle? So the flowers are some dried baby’s breath from the last bouquet I received (last April, but who’s counting?) and a bunch of random decor shoved in a glass Coke bottle? Hey, this is my date, I can do what I want!
I turned on some ambient lighting,
And then I found a Frank Sinatra playlist on YouTube. And I sat down to eat. And for a few peaceful moments, I thought about…nothing. Absolutely nothing. And then I got very weirded out by what I was doing and began to think that I should probably not be left alone for long periods of time.
Oh, well. It worked for a few minutes.
I then tried to teach myself how to do the Charleston via some YouTube tutorials. This was a largely unsuccessful experience, because I was raised a good fundamental Baptist girl, which means I cannot dance. At all. But I tried.
Next up: whatever movie I feel like.
Not a bad first date with me.