Yes Please, A Table For One
“You went on a date by yourself? Do you not have anybody around you that wants to go?”
How the hell do I even respond to something like that?
I knew that talking about my solo dating endeavors was going to raise questions, but hearing my old classmate ask me this almost gave me a heart attack.
We were supposed to be studying for an upcoming genetics exam when we got off topic and started talking about restaurants that we loved. I told him about this Italian restaurant that I found in Summerlin where I had the most amazing dish of seafood ravioli. The shrimp was not as savory as I had wanted, but the lemon butter mixed in with the sweet Roma tomatoes and the lightly salted oysters pulled the entire dish together. In the middle of my endless description of my lovely outing, he asks me who the lucky man was that I went with.
“I went alone,” I answered, “I like going on dates on my own.”
That’s when he asked me those dreaded questions. He also pulled out his phone to show me the Instagram of this man who appeared to have a drink too many while enjoying a guys’ night out.
“He’s your type,” he told me, “And it’s better to go out with somebody than to be alone.”
Society puts a great amount of stress about the so-called importance of not being alone. It has been theorized by Abraham Maslow in 1943 that there is a hierarchy of needs, where we place the importance of esteem and recognition above the need for food, health, and employment. Though this theory was proposed many years ago, we can see its truth today. In the case of 32% of women, for example, they stated they would prefer to be told that they had life-ending cancer than to have to walk through life without any partner.
It becomes draining after a while, when you must explain to people that you’re not looking for someone and that you’d rather spend time in your own company. Though my solo dating journey began due to having no friends to go out with, it morphed into something more valuable and rewarding. I’ve learned to break this hierarchy that I’ve created and start putting myself first rather than worrying about what others think of me. I’ve started to enjoy solitude rather than be disgruntled at the thought of no one ever being there with me. It’s not easy to explain to others, but it has always been clear to me that finding time to be alone reaps more benefits than detriments.
The public needs to mind their business. What one chooses to do with their time away from work and school should not be something to ask, especially in a way that pushes the idea that they are not happy with their lives. In an attention-driven society, it should be valued when a person wants to take time alone and involve themselves in things that pleases them. It’s time that others are more encouraging about people taking the time to learn about themselves rather than use their precious time to surround themselves with people that are temporary and bringing more harm than good.
In short, I want to have peace for once. I would like to make meaningful relationships one day and to surround myself with individuals who bring a smile to my face. However, I know that I need to learn how to love me before I can give that love to others. People need to understand that there is joy even in solitude.
So, with that, I’d like to enjoy my table for one.