The Beauty and Difficulty of Doing things Alone

Amelia Kramer-Coffee Shop Date Booke Glasses Latte CozyIn movies, if a guy has had a hard day he goes to the bar and has a drink by himself, this is a common narrative. Have you ever seen a woman do that? The likely answer is no. Does that mean she can’t? Again the answer is no, however, intersectionalities consisting of sex, danger, and social cues that follow can impact whether she does.

I know this from experience. I went to my favorite bar alone because I honestly was sad and overwhelmed (and the workers are awesome). This man comes up to me and asks me why I’m alone, followed by a comment on how distressed I look (something every girl wants to hear). Already annoyed this man keeps talking and finally says, “You should have friends here,” because I have total control of that, and most of my friends live in Saint George. Overall it was a big smack in my face.

But this is one story and I wanted more answers, so I hopped on Facebook and asked if girls like doing things by themselves. The overall answer was yes…to a point. The plethora of women who commented said they love doing things like, going to coffee shops, bookstores, little walks, and cafes. But, most of the responses including not wanting to do things outside of those activities because of a worry for their safety. Not that I blame them, because in Utah the rate at which sexual assault happens to women is 1 in 6. So if you do go somewhere by yourself, you have to let someone know, keep your phone on you close and your pepper spray closer. It is through all this stress and worry that it makes more sense to just stay home, order DoorDash and watch a movie. 

Because this isn’t an inhibitor enough there is a lot of social cues when doing things by yourself. Some can be as small as, “Just you?” by the server, implying that I am lesser than or the awkward glances you get from people passing by, then the straight-up apparent comment of you being a loner. As a woman, according to mass media movies, the only reason you should out alone at a bar is to leave with someone—otherwise, you should be out with your friends. While this is fun, a woman shouldn’t have to be in that strict binding all the time. 

There is an elegance of doing things alone, it gets you to know you. But, like most elegant things, it takes practice. Going out and doing activities by yourself is so awkward at first, but as someone who now does things regularly by herself, I’m here to tell you that it is not impossible.  Here are a few ways I got to own my independence: 

  • Go to a small diner in the afternoon, it is quiet and not normally as busy. 

  • Bring a book, it passes the time quite nicely while you wait for your food. 

  • Ask some questions about the menu, it is a nice and easy way to make conversation without controlling it. 

  • Lastly, a personal favorite, get dessert because if all else fails, at least you can end the occasion with a sweet treat. 

 As someone who wants to live as if her last day alive is tomorrow, I don’t like having to wait for people to live my life and I don’t want that for anyone else either. Sitting at home waiting to be someone’s priority, not knowing, but hoping people will, is okay because at least you are hoping, but sometimes that is not the reality. Sometimes you are not someone’s priority and that is a hard thing to learn. But the nice thing about hope if you have some is it follows you everywhere. So why be hopeful at home, waiting, when you can be hopeful and having fun on a date with yourself? 

While I completely understand that social anxiety, assault and awkwardness is a thing, the hopeful side of me wants to think that through movements like, “#METOO,” third-wave feminism, awareness on mental health and overall peace among all on the gender spectrum, that living life more than content for yourself can become a reality. Because you don’t need to wait to become someone else’s priority, you can be your own, start living that way and soon enough more people will. Self-love is yours!