Girl Talk: I Love — And Prefer — Going Out By Myself

As a divorced woman in my 30s, meeting a man wasn’t always a top priority, but when I gradually started dating again, I called in my two wingwomen who were also on the prowl, Dana and Mary, for support. Both of these beautiful 30-somethings have had my back for years. They’ve been my wingwomen in everything from moving into a new apartment to keeping me sane throughout my divorce. I couldn’t have adjusted to single life again without them.

So when Friday night came and I was raring to go out, I called my girls. We put on our heels, stepped up our makeup, and headed to our favorite lounge hoping to meet the men of our dreams. With my dark curls, Mary’s flowing blond locks, and Dana’s sleek red ponytail, we were like the “Witches of Eastwick” trying to conjure up the perfect guy. Sitting at the end of the bar, the three of us were four drinks in and cackling too loud when Dana noticed two cute guys buying drinks not far from us. One was the blue-eyed, dark-haired spitting image of Superman, and with the grace of an elephant, he sloshed his drink on his shirt cuff. I gathered my liquid courage and said to him, “Damn, I can’t take you anywhere.” I got a smile and they came over to stand with us. Dana took the lead in making conversation, focusing most of her attention on Superman, a.k.a. James. We got on the subject of travel.

“I’m planning a trip back to Greece; Patmos and Santorini,” said James. Score! Both Dana and I had been to Greece at separate times and we all agreed Santorini was stunning.

“I loved Patmos,” I said just as Dana said, “You should go to Ios.” Dana hadn’t been to Patmos.

He nodded as if considering it and said to me, “I really liked Patmos too, less touristy.”

“You’re right,” I said. “You need a boat to get there, so it’s a trek for tourists.”

Dana leaned in and said in a raised, drunk voice, “Ios was great though. It had better clubs than the other islands. It is kind of known as the party island.”

James turned to me, “So where else did you go?” I tried to pronounce Kusadasi, but after four whiskey and sodas, it was a little difficult. Embarrassed, I explained it was an island off the coast of Turkey when Dana jumped in and gave us a rundown of all the places she had traveled. James listened politely to Dana, but continued to glance at me.

As the night went on, it was obvious James was into me, but Dana was into James and in her drunken state, she was not giving up.

I didn’t want to be in competition with my friend over a guy we barely knew. So I downed my fourth drink and said my goodbyes. Turning, I did my best not to stumble out the door.

The next afternoon I needed some time to think about our club fail the night before. I headed over to my local pub alone, settled into an open corner, flipped open my laptop, ordered a sandwich, and started typing when I heard, “You ever been to Coney Island?” Startled, my head snapped to the left and there was a cute guy with both elbows and a cold beer on the table in front of him. When I answered I had been to Coney Island years ago, he whipped out his phone and showed me a picture he took of his terrier in front of Nathan’s. In return, I showed him a picture of my French bulldog.

Talking about our dogs led to a conversation about the best beaches to hit over the summer, what I was writing on my laptop, and what he did for a living. All of this was casually done in between my web-browsing and his watching the baseball game on the flat screen. After a few hours, I packed up my laptop and we acknowledged the possibility of running into each other again.

I had stumbled upon something big.

The next Saturday afternoon I slouched in the corner of a different pub pretending to work on my laptop while I scanned the room when I caught the guy at the next table eyeing my tattoo that was peeking out of my boy beater. “Nice tattoo,” he said. After inspecting the ink that was swirling down his arm, I said, “Yours too.” His name was Matt, he had a sexy goatee, and he lived in the neighborhood.

We didn’t stop chatting … and he asked me out.

Going out by myself was a revelation when it came to meeting guys. I didn’t have to worry about drunken fights with my friends over a guy none of us would ever see again. It was just me, being witty and smart … not to mention sober. All I needed was my laptop and a corner table.

Matt and I weren’t a match in the end, but I discovered that going out alone is a goldmine. My wingwomen and I still hang out, but mostly we keep to brunches and movie dates. If I’m cruising to meet a man, I prefer the lazy afternoon chat to a late-night, alcohol-infused exchange any day. I’m more attractive when I can relax and be myself. So until I meet the guy of my dreams, I’m going to continue to go out by myself.