For some, going to public places, doing activities or attending events while ‘flying solo’ is no big deal. You might not even question it. But for many of us, we feel a real anxiety about being alone…out in the open.
The idea of eating at a table for one in a restaurant makes us dread the judging or even pitying eyes of other patrons.
“Isn’t that sad? She has no friends.”
Or that going to a concert alone might make you an object of mockery.
“That guy is trying to listen to his favorite band. Creepo much?”
What’s with these voices and presumptions about other people’s reactions? What taught us that every activity requires a support system? Moxie’s commercials where eight friends laugh uproariously while eating calamari? The hideous concept of Fridays being permanently classified “date night”? That old Frankenstein movie? “Alone bad. Friend good.”
Yes, Frankenstein’s Monster, sharing an experience with others is enjoyable. But life doesn’t always work out that way.
Your friends are busy, your mom is in Phoenix, you’re single, you have a partner, but they’re away this week. Does that mean you hide away like a leper?
A few years ago I replied “hell no” to that question and began purposely enjoying my own company.
I took myself out for lunch, went shopping in ‘that store I keep meaning to go to,’ went to plays by myself, comedy shows and art exhibits. I even travelled alone.
But somehow on my route to dating and liking myself, I never once went to a movie… solo.
In my mind, that was still a sanctum of friends and hand holders.
So! As an experiment to see if solo excursions are mountains or molehills, I did just that… while live tweeting it. #moviealone
And I went hard. First movie ever out by myself? The Revenant starring Leonardo DiCaprio as a fur trade era woodsman, abandoned and half dead from a bear attack, thirsty for revenge.
Best part right off the bat? I got to pick which movie and which treats. No kowtowing to other people’s taste. Blam.
And from the vantage of my seat up at the back, I saw no mountain, only molehill.
So far no one has given me the stink eye. And the couples didn't hiss at me when I walked in. #moviealone— Jane Testar (@TestarJane) February 9, 2016
Most of these couples aren't even talking to each other. Ergo, we shouldn't freak out about movie watching solo. #moviealone— Jane Testar (@TestarJane) February 9, 2016
Here we go, Leo. This is going to be upsetting. But not because I'm here by myself. #moviealone— Jane Testar (@TestarJane) February 9, 2016
Only need 1 me, but should have gotten 2 nacho cheeses. #moviealone— Jane Testar (@TestarJane) February 10, 2016
It felt refreshingly normal and comfortable to be there solo. Not once did I wish someone was sitting next to me. And with good reason.
Indeed the only discomfort I felt was from eating too many corn chips, and seeing a naked man sleep inside a dead horse.
Experiment complete. Pleasant experience! Will do again soon. Except next time I'm seeing a comedy. Christ.#moviealone— Jane Testar (@TestarJane) February 10, 2016
Done! I’ve tested the waters for you and they’re not nearly as cold as the ones Leo had to navigate with a broken leg and a gaping neck wound.
Takeaway: Don’t let the IDEA of people supposedly judging you stop you from experiencing anything. Whether that’s food, entertainment or just a skate down the river.
Because like that bear claw digging into Leo’s skull…it’s all in your head.
Jane is a writer and performer with the Winnipeg sketch comedy troupe, Hot Thespian Action, an improviser with local improv troupe, Outside Joke, and the host of the CBC Comedy Factory Podcast.
Published in Volume 70, Number 20 of The Uniter (February 18, 2016)