- Posted June 11, 2014 by
Single Again: Going Out Alone
by Lucy Connor
I am a tough cookie. I can handle anything. I raised four children to adulthood and they are all happy, well-adjusted college graduates. I managed to stay in a not so great marriage for 27 years, get out of it, change towns, get my Masters Degree at 53 and start my life completely over again on my own. I have figured out how to work 12 hours a day, come home and take care of all of the business of home ownership, cook, have relationships, craft, work a second job, write….basically…I can do everything that modern day society expects of me. I can do everything that I really want to do…with one huge exception.
I cannot just “go out” alone. Now, I can shop, visit a friend, take care of my grandkids, go to work, to a movie or even sit in church alone. I just can’t go out where I will be identified as a “single”, alone. This includes going out to a sit down restaurant, going to a club or a social event. Frankly, this makes absolutely no sense to me at all! I am outgoing and have never met a stranger. I love to talk and quite honestly, be the center of attention. My goodness, I can perform on a stage for hundreds of people and barely get a butterfly. Why is it that I walk into a “venue” for a meet and greet hosted by the Ath-Fest volunteer coordinators, and I freeze?
I volunteer at this wonderful festival called Ath-Fest. It raises money for music education in Athens. I happen to be a music teacher in a neighboring community, so I volunteer for a couple hours for this crazy –good cause. I got an email last week that there would be a meet and greet at a local watering hole and music venue and, though it was not imperative, the volunteers were invited to go at 7:00 for fellowship and stay for the band that was to start at 8:00. I missed the meet and greet last year so I made a point to go. I dropped my grandson off with his parents and got to the site about 7:40. I walked in and froze. Everywhere I looked were couples and groups of people, sitting around and having drinks or chicken wings. No one looked like an “official”, there were no name tags, no one was speaking or asking my name. There were just people hanging out and chatting…duh…it was a meet and greet. Long story short, I made my way to the table to get a flyer and a bumper sticker and I walked out the door within five minutes of my arrival.
Now, this particular site is about 30 minutes from my home and I beat myself up the entire drive back. Why do I have so many issues with this one part of being single? I called my kids and talked to them about it, I googled it trying to find tips on how to enjoy yourself as a middle age-single woman at a social function with strangers, but I still have no answers. Every year I go to a conference in Savannah and while my buddies are out eating shrimp and having a beer, I am in my hotel room with a microwaved baked potato and a diet coke. It baffles me. I simply dread the idea of walking into a place filled with people talking and laughing, and sitting at a table by myself. Goodness knows I would spend the entire time there glued to my cell phone for fear of looking up and making eye contact with someone. That is NOT the woman I want to be.
I guess going out alone makes me feel like I have failed. I have no one on my arm, therefore, I am unlovable. Who would want to talk to such an unlovable woman? What if I sit here all night and no one talks to me? What if I sit here and a scary man comes and talks to me? The tapes in my head roll on and on…
After thinking on this, talking about it, researching it and thinking some more, I have come to the conclusion that going out to a social event alone is kind of like riding a roller coaster for me. Not doing it…and I am ok with that. I don’t have to like everything, I don’t have to do everything and I am not worried at this point about all of the things I am “supposed” to do as a single, middle age woman. We all have preferences, limitations, likes and dislikes. These are some of the things that make us unique.
I guess the man I end up with will get the benefit of these years. When I have someone on my arm…I have some catching up to do!!!!