When I was in my twenties, single and without children or much in the way of responsibility, I used to occasionally take myself on a date. I would take a shower, put on makeup and a nice outfit and even spray on a little perfume too. The courtship of myself was something I took seriously and I wanted to impress myself. I picked a nice restaurant, enjoyed a good meal and then if I was in the mood, I would treat myself to a movie or a coffee in a cafe someplace. A lady never kisses and tells, but if the date went well... maybe I'd get lucky? Who knows? Anything's possible on a good date. The whole point of dating myself is to take time- to treat myself as I want others to treat me, to explore the things that I enjoy and mostly, to enjoy my own company and build my self-esteem. Looking back now, it was an admirable idea, but I wasn't ready to really learn these things.
Now, I'm in my early forties now and as you know from reading this blog, I am on a journey of self-discovery and I believe I am now ready to fully embrace myself, exactly as I am. Now that I am single again, there are some nights without kids and I thought I would see if I was free tonight. To my delight, I was. I don't want to ruin the story for you, but it is now 6:47 p.m. and I am home blogging. So yeah, it didn't go great.
I'll be honest, I'm WAY out of practice in terms of dating myself. I waiting until the last minute, basically took myself out to dinner immediately following yoga, despite being a sweaty mess. I do get points for taking myself to a new favorite restaurant of mine, LYFE Kitchen. I had a book and my mind on their vegan 'sausage & cheese' ravioli and recalling the days when I would go out on solo date nights, I was very optimistic. Walking to the restaurant, I checked to see what movies were playing. I saw that Lee Daniels', "The Butler" was starting about an hour later so this was all looking good.
Walking into the restaurant, I see that they have 'happy hour' prices for appetizers so I opt to order Edamame Hummus along with my ravioli. I knew it would be too much food, but it was HALF PRICE! You can't just pass that up! As I sat and waited, I relaxed, read a little, listened to the music playing. Good music- and I was super excited when I heard, "Can't Let it Go" by Lucinda Williams* (written by Randy Weeks). She is so darn talented and I haven't heard that song in some time. Anyway, the hummus shows up and it was so beautiful. Fresh edamame, radishes, tomatoes and cucumbers along with these tasty flax seed chips. Delicious. I know this isn't a restaurant review, but the hummus made me so happy! If you find yourself at LYFE Kitchen, seriously, try it. Good stuff.
I should have trusted my instincts, though. I was enjoying myself and ended up eating too much of it and then ate my ravioli too. If you know me in real life and personally over the last few years, you know that I don't eat that much and when I do overindulge, I am one sad little panda. I had to tell my date to take me home. Date over! And it was going so well!
As I drove home, I thought about the date. I felt the familiar pangs of guilt I recalled from dating in the past- like I was letting someone down by taking care of myself. Instead, I challenged myself to think about it as the other person. If someone told me that they needed to go home, wouldn't I understand? Of course I would. And it was then I reminded myself that I deserved the same grace that I would offer someone else. So instead of thinking about the past, the too much hummus debacle and going home before seeing a movie, I thought about my standards of dating- whether it be myself or another person:
1. Not only should I NOT make a date last minute, I should NOT say yes if asked last minute, either. Meeting up with a friend is one thing, but in my opinion, a date should be planned.
2. If I must go on a date after yoga, I will take a shower and put on clothes that are date-worthy. I enjoy dressing to impress not only my date, but also myself.
3. Know my limits and keep my eyes on the entire evening. Even if hummus is half-price.
4. If I do need to call it a night for whatever reason, it is fine to apologize and even feel disappointed. Someone who is worth dating will understand.
*So as I sat, writing this and listening to Lucinda Williams, I found out that she was played in L.A. tonight. Had I planned it, that would have been a kick ass date.
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