Dating YourselfPosted: November 7, 2014
I’m dating myself. Not in the way in which I make myself look old in front of the babysitter by talking about Thanksgiving pep rallies, but in the way in which I take myself on a date.
And it’s fucking awesome.
I’ve always loved dining in restaurants alone. A book, yummy food, wine, people watching and weird chit chat with strangers. It’s a joy I associate with travel, but something one can do anywhere, even in her hometown.
So yeah. Herr Husband is traveling for work all weekend, and our fantastic babysitter was available tonight. So I decided to take myself out.
I had a ninety minute massage. (Courtney at Lotus is a goddess. She has that sixth sense where she finds all your tension and presses it out of you. See her now. But not while I’m seeing her.)
Then I took myself out to dinner. I first fell in love with dining alone when I lived with a Spanish family in college. I was a newly minted vegetarian, and some nights their garden salad efforts at feeding my weird palate (“Estás segura que no quieres probar el cordero?”) just weren’t cutting it. So I would fake a study group and sneak off to the restaurant around the corner with my book and postcards on which to write deeply philosophical and revelatory notes to my high school boyfriend. The restauranteurs found my requests for gazpacho increasingly odd as autumn wore on, but they humored me with their deliciously cold soup and their cozy Rioja and left me to my my late-adolescent musings. The last time I remember dining solo was on a research trip to Germany shortly before I got pregnant with Das Big Boy. And once again, that combination of a book, wine, food, and writing materials was just perfect as I tried to trace my grandmother’s footsteps all over Berlin.
But once you have kids, it’s hard to mark out time to dine alone. I wouldn’t choose it over a date with Herr Husband, because we get so few of those. And when I do ditch him (or when he ditches me) it’s usually for friends. So I’ve inadvertently abandoned one of my favorite guilty pleasures.
No more. Tonight it was the wonderful Farmhouse for Montepulciano, kale salad, and cheese plate. And make a note of it people, it is possible to experience Euro-style solo dining fun in suburbia. I walked to dinner. I had a glass of wine paid for by a stranger: a fellow mom (of older kids) whom I’d just met who clearly appreciated my efforts at me-time. [Shout out and big thanks to Charlotte!]. And I ate yummy food including dessert and coffee. I read my book, The Handsome Man’s De Luxe Cafe, because yes, I adore the charming #1 Ladies Detective Agency novels. I thought thoughts and remembered memories and breathed and relaxed and smiled to myself about my sweet family. I chatted with the bartender about his impending baby. I walked home and bumped into my neighbor the life coach and enjoyed his friendly if unsolicited advice. My (amazing) babysitter said all was well. My children slept.
Life was good.
So here it is, people. I’m not going to make November 7 international date yourself day, if for no other reason than it would make getting a babysitter really fucking hard. But I insist you all date yourselves. We parents talk about me time but I don’t think we’re good at it. We come home and the kids are awake and we’re right back in the thick of it. We choose to go out with friends or our partners because we don’t get enough time with them as it is. But I insist. Go out by yourself. Dining alone is the best, but if you’re too shy, just go get a cup of coffee alone. Take yourself out. You’ll find you’re excellent company (and if you’re not, I do know a life coach you can call…).