#18: Dateless date night

Posted by Megan on August 18th, 2011

I love date night. The cliché dinner and a movie combo is the number one activity for lovebirds and blind dates for good reason. It’s a casual, entertaining way to get out of the house and requires little planning. While movie tickets are getting a bit pricy lately, you can still manage to have a perfectly lovely night on the town for about $25 per person. That is way cheaper than a therapist!  Sadly, date nights at my household have become increasingly sparse. Between my husband’s crazy busy work schedule and my canine child’s incredibly demanding social life I rarely get to enjoy the pure joy of going out to a movie. The last movie I saw in a theater was Avatar… in 2009!

Great move, great date night.

I’ve never considered doing date night solo. It seriously never crossed my mind that I could eat dinner and go to a movie alone. I’ve been brainwashed into accepting social norms, so going stag just seemed awkward and dare-I-say desperate.

I’d been hearing friends rave about how hilarious and entertaining the movie Bridesmaids is. At every summer happy hour, every girls’ lunch, even wedding showers the conversation always turned to how awesome the movie was. I’d been dying to see it, but never got a chance to organize a movie-going trip with my friends. Months after the release date, with no Friday night plans in sight I decided I had had enough. I was going to accomplish something I had always been afraid to do. I was going to go to a movie alone.

Since I was feeling brave and especially hungry for mayo based appetizers, I also convinced myself to go out for dinner prior – thus rounding out my solo date night.  Prior to a typical date, I shower, shave, dry and straighten my hair, apply several layers of makeup, find a casual-cute outfit, spray on some perfume and give myself some positive affirmations in the mirror. This process takes at least an hour, longer if I’m monkeying with the canine child.

Prior to solo date night I changed into yoga pants. That’s right, I changed out of real pants, INTO my pajamas. I threw my hair into a pony tail and located my favorite hoodie. It had spaghetti sauce stains down the sleeve. Not matter! It’s solo date night. My outfit was homeless chic.

I’d been craving their spinach dip for weeks, so I settled on the Green Mill for dinner. I love how spinach dip somehow seems remotely healthily since a vegetable proudly proclaims it’s presence in the title. In reality it is 90 percent mayo with some wilted spinach sparsely offering a sad pukey garnish. Popeye would be so disappointed. Not me! Spinach dip is an acceptable way to eat mayo as an entrée and I’ll take it! While I would never order spinach dip for dinner on a real date – anything goes on solo date night.

No makeup + sweaty pony + beer = a peaceful evening. No random old dudes even attempted to give me googlie eyes.

I opted to sit at the bar. I have to admit, I was very nervous. I’ve never eaten at a “sit down” restaurant by myself before. If I’m dying for a gourmet meal, I’ll order take out. Thankfully, the bartender didn’t publically ostracize me. No one snickered or called me a loser. In fact, no one cared that I was there alone. The adorable bartender called me “sweetie” and small talked with me with expertise. She knew exactly how much social interaction to offer and let me enjoy watching the Twins game while sipping a local beer without any judgment or questions. I paid my tab, then made my way to the movie theater. A latte sounded amazing, so I stopped at Starbucks on the way. It tasted great, but when I arrived at the theater, it was apparent that I was not going to have time to finish my delectable drink in time. I made a bold decision and stashed the cup in my purse. As I waddled very slowly, trying desperately not to spill the concealed drink, I noticed dozens of couples hand-in-hand flocking to the large movie complex. As far as I could tell, I was the only desperate loser lame enough to attend a movie alone; and dressed head-to-toe in sleepwear none-the-less. The latte waddle only perpetuated my exceedingly apparent loser status.

Caution! Contents may be hot!

 

Good thing the two beers I consumed with my “healthy” dinner offered some liquid courage. I was determined to watch this movie alone regardless of the social ramifications. Happily I made it to my theater with a few minutes to spare without ruining my brand new Michael Kors purse or getting publically flogged for arriving dateless. As I looked around the theater I realized that I was shockingly not the only solo moviegoer. A few others dotted the theater. I sat down, retrieved my coffee, spread out and realized, this is pretty nice! I don’t have to make small talk, I don’t have to sit politely and I don’t even have to share a cup holder!

The movie was great. I was much more in-tune with the rest of the theater goers reactions than I normally would have been. Instead of sharing the movie with my husband, I shared it with 100 strangers, which was a completely new experience.

Not only did I survive date night, it was rejuvenating. Although I love and cherish my husband and my friends, I don’t need them by my side to have a wonderful night out. I’m anxious to try all kinds of new solo date nights. Perhaps a solo trip to StarGate is in order. I’m sure that trip would make for a mighty interesting blog.

  • © 2011 Megan Steil