So I’ve been doing this experiment of sorts, taking myself on dates. When I see something interesting that I want to go to, instead of asking someone else to go with me first and waiting to see if I can get a “date” (friend or otherwise), I just buy myself a ticket and put it in my calendar. And then I go. By myself.
I haven’t really done this before, but New York City lends itself to this attitude. It’s not weird to go to anything by yourself here, and there’s always someone to talk to if you really want to.
Date 1 was Hanna Rosin’s talk as part of her book tour for The End of Men a few weeks ago. I was slightly intimidated, and admit I felt a bit embarrassed at how excited I was to get to see all of my Slate journalism idols–Hanna Rosin, of course, but also her husband, David Plotz, as well as Emily Bazelon and Jessica Grose. I didn’t actually get to meet them all, but I felt oddly star-struck just seeing them, as I’ve read their words and heard their voices on so. many. podcasts.
I really enjoyed the actual conversation and had been reading the book, so it felt fresh and exciting. But I did feel awkward afterward, when other people were just shooting the shit with other people they’d come with. Still, I pushed myself to actually introduce myself to Hanna and David both (and I’ve met Emily at another event), and then I left. Still cool.
Date number 2 was by far the most expensive (excepting the shopping accoutrements of date #3, which I’ll get to)–“Sleep No More,” the renowned performing arts experience that’s been extended because of such intense demand multiple times for, I believe, over a year. It’s a “play,” but one that you can walk through, spanning 5 floors of the McKittrick Hotel, which is fictional. The whole experience is super spooky, though I highly recommend it. More eloquent words have been written than my own about the description, so I’ll skip that, and just suffice to say that I am so glad I went by myself. I felt a freedom to explore this alternate world that I don’t think I could have with someone else. And I got a weirdly intimate experience. It was the perfect solo date.
Tonight, I went to see economics Professor Joseph Stiglitz speak about his book, The Price of Inequality, which I’ve also read. Though the talk unfortunately coincided with the first presidential debate, I got some nice quality time at dinner and then Sephora prior to the event, and it was cool to hear what he and the other speakers said. Not an awkward moment. I got a discount on my ticket because I was under 35 (yes. Thirty-five. I have 9 more years to use a youth discount. I guess I am young, especially in the academic/intellectual world??), and I was definitely one of the younger people in the audience. But worth a try. A nice evening of Shannon time.
That and improv practices, plus some real dates thrown in occasionally, and life isn’t so shabby. My 10K in a few weeks is gonna be killer. But there are more 10Ks. I’m not one to keep doing the same thing anyway. And I’m practicing not getting down on myself for not doing everything perfectly. There is always time to improve.