by myself at a musical

I’d heard a nearby theatre was putting on The Rocky Horror Picture Show and I couldn’t resist. I love musicals but have surprisingly never seen this one. Brief clips, yes (Tim Curry’s mouth is captivating) but I’d never seen it in its entirety. Now I had the opportunity to catch a live rendition. Sold! I called and reserved a last-minute ticket and began preparing for my seventh date by myself.

I’m no amateur. I’ve been around a while, seen and done some things. I’d certainly heard about Rocky Horror. People come from all around, dressed in elaborate costumes consisting of risqué negligée, prepared to get rowdy, yelling and throwing things at the performers. It sounded hysterical; I was excited and terrified.

I did a bit of quick character research (Google) then made the obvious choice to dress in a white bra and slip à la Janet. It seemed the easiest and safest costume for a first-timer. Then I took several deep breaths before walking out of my house to my car, avoiding eye contact with my neighbours (who all seemed to be outside at just the right time).

IMG_20150918_185151The drive was uneventful and singing along to the radio helped to calm my nerves. I was feeling pretty good. That is, of course, until I turned onto the main street of the theatre and saw that nobody else had dressed for the show. Jesus fuck! I shrank in my car and sped around the corner, mortified.

Even after I put on the emergency pink dress and white sweater I brought (in case I chickened out) it still took a few minutes to convince myself to get out of the car and go inside. But I did. I still kind of can’t believe I did. I am seriously bad-ass. Once inside I relaxed a bit, smiled and pretended nothing weird or embarrassing had just happened.

I took my seat, looked through the playbook and the “participation bag” of things we were permitted to throw, and interacted with some strategically scattered costumed extras. Finally the show began.

I’m not going to give any specifics about the theatre or anybody involved because, quite frankly, it was terrible. I don’t know if they were having an off day – they were using most of their understudies for this performance – or if it is always the worst thing ever. Or (most likely) whether it was a great show and I was simply unable to appreciate any of it because I was wearing a fucking emergency dress. All I know is that about 20 minutes in my face hurt from trying very hard to smile and enjoy myself. By minute 25, I gave up and opted to let my face rest in its neutral bitch position.

When Betty, the peppy little extra in the leather getup, appeared by my side at intermission to ask me if I like dancing as much as she likes dancing (because she really likes dancing) I gave her the most patient please go away smile I could muster. She obliged.

Two more acts later, I was full-on scowling. When the show was (finally!) finished, everybody stood up to do the time warp. I took this opportunity to bolt; I’d had enough. In an attempt to rescue the evening, I got myself a gyro and parked somewhere quiet. But I just ended up falling asleep in the car and then waking up sore, so I declared date number seven a complete failure and went home.

All of this happened on Friday, September 18. I am only writing about it now because I needed to sit on it for a while – the doubt and embarrassment. I needed to marinate in my shitty date before deciding that, yes, it is worth the risk of humiliation to get to know myself. I am worth the time and effort even when it is awful.

When I told this story to my therapist, he laughed his ass off. “Some dates are just bad. I guess being by yourself is no exception.”

Indeed, some dates are just doomed whether you experience bad food or rude service at a restaurant, whether a bird shits on your romantic stroll, whether you run into an ex and things get awkward, or, in my case, whether you show up in your fucking underwear. Next!


by myself at a bowling alley


Truth be told: I didn’t feel much like going out this weekend. I’d have been happy to spend it parked in my hammock with a good book. Realizing this was perhaps the best opportunity to experience being out by myself – when I wasn’t feeling into it – I decided to go out anyway. Saturday night at 9pm, I arrived at Parkway Lanes, in St. Catharines, for my fifth date by myself.

It wasn’t busy; fewer than half of the lanes were occupied. I purchased two games from a young man, his voice cracking with fresh puberty, and headed to lane 14. As I laced up my rented shoes, the group of people three lanes down whispered to each other and laughed in my direction. As I got myself set up, the young man and his manager (who’d come out of his back office) stood silently staring at me. To be fair, I showed up for bowling packing a giant tripod.

I giggled to myself as I took some pre-game photos. Please excuse the poor quality. It was all dark and glowy in there and I am shyte with the settings on my super professional camera – it is utterly wasted in my unskilled hands. Hopefully you are still able to appreciate the amazing pants I chose to bowl in.

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My first ten frames took all of 20 minutes. Bowling does not take long when you are alone. Also, I am terrible at it. I took a little breather, bought a 5-dollar bottle of “Great Value” water from the bar and started my second game. I expected I’d be a lot better after loosening up and shaking off the cobwebs. Nope. Still terrible. In an unexpected turn of events, I learned something quite unfortunate that evening: bowling is not fun.

I’ve done a lot of bowling in my day. Whether on dates or with large groups of friends, bowling has always been a go-to guaranteed fun time. Now, by myself and stripped of conversation, competition, or (especially) alcohol, I saw bowling with new eyes. The darkness, the loud music, the dancing strobe lights, the disco ball, the novelty of my glowing clothing – all of it speaking to me subliminally. You are having a wonderful time. Sure you are just trying to knock down some pins by hurling a ball down a long lane, but this is the best night ever. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

What a bummer. I did manage to get one strike, which I celebrated halfheartedly. I stretched out the time by playing in the air that blows out of the bowling ball retrieving machine thingy. But eventually I admitted I was bored and gave up. I packed my things and went to the bar to hang out and finish drinking my over-priced water. At the bar, a small crowd of what appeared to be regulars watched me as if I were about to grow another head.

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The entirety of my bowling experience was met with stares, whispers, or laughter. And yet, I was unperturbed. I didn’t feel the typical animosity, defensive anger, or urge to explain myself. I felt comfortable allowing everybody to think and conclude whatever they wanted about me. For this I am pleased.

Still, I did feel a hint of something I couldn’t identify over all the strategic distractions. More than just disappointment for having discovered that bowling sucks, this was something else, something I needed to attend to.

I headed to a spot where I’d long ago been taken by a date who’d tried to salvage a terrible evening by feeling me up: a small bench atop a grassy hill. In the daytime, you can see that this bench overlooks a private beach on Lake Ontario. You can see clear across to Toronto on a sunny day. I couldn’t see a thing that night. It was so dark I could not even distinguish the sky from the water. With no visible horizon, I could have easily been convinced that the world dropped off at the bottom of the hill. I sat and stared into the darkness.

There had been a couple just arriving as I ended my last game at the alley. They took the lane beside me and flirted playfully. The girl worried aloud about the balls being too heavy for her so the guy set out to find her a lighter one. I could have told them the purple ball I’d been using was pretty light, but I didn’t. Instead I watched as he tested eight balls before returning with one that suited her. I turned away when they kissed.

As the sound of the gentle waves breaking slowed my breathing and eased my searching mind, one thought came to me simple and clear: I want that. There it was, the exact feeling I have been seeking to make peace with: loneliness.

When it came there was no fear or anger. There was no lump in my throat because there was no resistance. I let it wash over me and I began to cry. I sat in the loneliness for a long time, crying and breathing and feeling it. Then just as easily as it came, it passed. When it was all done, I wiped my face and smiled to myself. That wasn’t so bad.

I’m really glad I decided to go out anyway.


by myself at a comedy show


After skipping a weekend of dating myself to hang out with my niece and nephew, I was surprised to find that I missed it. Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with the kids. But I have begun to look forward to taking myself out.

This past Friday night, pumped up with two weeks of anticipation, I headed back out to Niagara Falls for my fourth date by myself. My all-time favourite place to go on a date (and the one I was most dreading doing alone) is located in the lower level of Casino Rama: Yuk Yuk’s comedy club.

These photos were taken moments before a security guard yelled at me for taking photos in a casino:

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As was my plan all along, I positioned myself at a small round table directly in front of the stage. I ordered myself a ginger ale and a water and got cozy while the club began to fill. Soon Anthony Mlekuz, the host for the evening, burst on stage and I felt myself stiffen slightly. I had been remarkably calm leading up to the show, sipping my drinks and taking in my surroundings, but the stage was small, I was sitting directly in front of it, and my natural line of view fell neatly on his crotch. Things had just gotten a little awkward.

I consciously pulled my eyes up to his face just in time to catch the punch line of his first joke about elderly women finding him sexy. He got a big laugh, reached out and high-fived me four times, then settled back on stage and proclaimed: “she’s got two drinks and nobody’s sitting with her, ladies and gentlemen!” Another big laugh.

He started to get in to his second joke but got side tracked instead. “Seriously, why are you still sitting alone? Did you come here by yourself?”


“And you sat in the front row?”


“Can I just get a clap for the weirdest fucking thing ever!” Laughter and applause were followed by a moment of pause as he looked me over curiously. “I don’t even know what to do with this, it has literally never happened before.” Then he moved on. It was the gentlest razzing I’d ever experienced from a comedian. It was funny and easy and I was left to enjoy the rest of the show untouched. Brilliant!

The first act was mediocre but the headlining comic, Chris Quigley, was outstanding. I was so relaxed toward the end of the show I began using the laugh I reserve for when nobody is around. There was snorting, knee-slapping, dribble may or may not have run down my chin at one point. I was having so much fun I did not give a single shit.

I left the club feeling so light and happy I didn’t want the evening to be over yet. Oh, hello SkyWheel!

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After a lovely ride in pod number 22 of this luxurious wheel – where I forgot people outside the glass could see me and accidentally flashed my green panties to the kids in the neighbouring pod by putting my feet up – I decided I still wasn’t ready to call it a night.

Someone had recently told me about a bar in the Fallsview Casino, the R5 Lounge. They described it as sexy and classy and the perfect place to bring a really good date. I could think of no one else I would rather take.

Fun fact about me: I will walk great distances to avoid paying for parking. In this scenario, the long and scenic walk added to the overall magic of the evening.

Very happy I had chosen to wear a dress, I sidled up to the bar of easily the sexiest establishment I had ever entered. I ordered a virgin cocktail. The bartender whipped me up a delightful concoction of mango, strawberry, and unicorn kisses (I’m assuming). By this time I felt so wonderful I decided I deserved a reward. Oh, hello late-night dessert menu!

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I’m pretty sure I was just floating around on a cloud of hearts and butterflies; it was without a doubt the best date I’ve ever been on. But something completely bizarre happened after I left the bar and began walking back to my car. Amid a crowd of drunken tourists, I noticed a little old man waiting at the crosswalk. I linked my arm in his and said hello. He smiled and we walked across the road together. At the other side, we said good evening and parted ways.

I have never done anything like this before in my life. I’m not entirely sure where the hell that came from.

The only explanation I could come up with for this spontaneous act is that I was so completely full of love for myself some of it actually overflowed and splashed onto a random stranger. Come to think of it, ever since that night I have been more patient and kind and compassionate to everyone I’ve encountered. I’ve even been driving better.

Huh. I may have stumbled on to something.


…To All the Nice Guys (& Girls)


Photo: “We are Scientists” by Stuart1000

Great news! I’ve just had a second article published by Elephant Journal! Please click here to read it. Then share it with the world and let me know what you think in the comments. Also, don’t forget to like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter. Thanks for reading, friends. Lots of love! 🙂


by myself at a festival


After plans to meet a friend fell through Saturday afternoon, I began my third date by myself at the Midsummer’s Dream festival of colour, in Hamilton.

According to its website, the festival was inspired by the principles of an ancient Hindu festival called “Holi,” intended to celebrate the triumph of good over evil and the renewal of spring. From where I was standing, it seemed like an excellent excuse for a lot of people to get extraordinarily dirty. Sign me up.

I quickly got my bearings and wasted no time jumping into the mess. Armed with six small bags of coloured powder, I pushed to the middle of the large crowd. As the first musical guests chanted in Sanskrit, we pressed together and waited for the countdown. When it happened, it didn’t matter that I was wearing sunglasses or that I’d pulled my scarf over my face, that shit got everywhere. It was in my eyes, ears, mouth, and up my nose. It found every crevice. Eventually, of course, I had to use the ladies’ room and then the powder got… everywhere else.

This colour-throwing ritual, which represents how different cultural backgrounds can come together as one, repeated every half hour. Here are some photos of me gradually acclimating to my surroundings:

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Aside from music and colour, there was plenty more to see and do. I contentedly explored the tea lounge, the craft vendor market, the do-it-yourself creativity tent, and the large yogafest.

In the creativity tent, I sat and made myself a brightly-coloured ankle bracelet while chatting with a woman and her daughter. “What do you think this festival represents?” I asked her. “I think it’s just a celebration of love and friendship and equality,” she replied. Yeah, I can get behind that.

I somehow managed to score a free coconut by flashing my brightest smile and asking the man how much it was for pretty girls. Wow. I’m embarrassed how easily that worked.

I don’t particularly like yoga, but I did enjoy the soft music and the soothing voice of the instructor, so I laid next to them under a tree and drank my coconut. Life is good.

I wandered around aimlessly, occasionally engaging in playful colour fights with strangers, spontaneously plopping my ass on the grass to chug water, and randomly contributing to passing conversations. “Am I pink, orange, or blue right now?” A young girl asked her friend. “All of the above!” I shouted.

Overall, my experience was very positive. I was alone and yet felt very much an accepted part of the large faceless group of awesomeness.

There was just one thing that troubled me. I didn’t dance. Not even when a great DJ put together a series of tracks I’d normally shake my ass to. I love dancing. Whether I’m any good or not has never concerned me; I’m an uninhibited dancer. But I still didn’t dance. I couldn’t.

Come to think of it, I’ve never danced by myself in public. I’ve always been among friends. What’s more: it was always with the underlying agenda to either entice or impress someone else. I did not like this revelation at all.

I began looking closer at the moving crowd of brightly coloured people, young and old, and I began to see it for the smaller groups it comprised. Everyone danced with someone else. Sure they were dancing freely, but only with the familiarity of someone they knew. Dancing is about the music not the people; isn’t it? Or maybe it’s both?

I may not have joined in the dancing, but I also didn’t run from my discomfort. While these questions tumbled around unwelcome in my brain, I stood amid the dancers and felt it.

It is now my goal upon completing this project to be able to dance by myself and feel great about it.




really by myself


While backpacking in Australia, I briefly worked as a housekeeper at one of the hostels I stayed in. Living on the beach for free was well worth that time I cleaned red wine puke off the bathroom walls.

I remember a well-dressed woman in her 30s coming in and telling the front desk she was there to review us. They immediately upgraded her to a private suite and instructed us to kiss her ass for a week. She, of course, was lying. They eventually called her on her bullshit and she was asked to leave. We were pissed. She’d had us running around fetching things for her and smiling about it.

In retrospect, her scheme was pretty brilliant and hilarious. (She got a lot of free stuff out of us.) I also completely understand the need behind it.

When I explained to my dad that I am now dating myself for the purpose of learning to enjoy solitude (among other meaningful reasons) he had some tips for me.

He suggested I bring my own ball when I go bowling, wear gloves when I go mini golfing, and bring a notepad when I go to a fancy restaurant. Then I could tell people I was a professional bowler/golfer out for a practice session, or the other diners would think I was reviewing the restaurant. Excellent tips to avoid feeling rejected, alienated, lonely, or weird.

I appreciate his need to protect me; he’s a good dad. But I don’t want to protect myself from these feelings; I’d like to make friends with them.

We would have treated that lone traveler with the same respect as all the other guests. What a tempting thought though: to be treated differently because you tell people you are important instead of risking being treated differently because there is “something wrong with you.”

Here’s the catch: she didn’t make any friends or join in on any of the fun activities while she was there. Trying to be better than everyone can be just as lonely as believing yourself less than them.

Yes, lady traveling alone, it is scary being by yourself, especially in a new country. And yes, dad, it is scary being out by myself in couples-and-families-only scenarios. Both of your fears are justified; this is all true. I just don’t want it to be true for me anymore.

I am alone and I don’t want to be afraid of it. The fear of being alone is what kept me in unhealthy, abusive, and destructive relationships for so long. I don’t want to end up married to some asshole just because it’d be “better than being alone.” Fuck that shit.

I’m supposed to be heading out for glow-in-the-dark bowling by myself tonight. That was the plan. But I just don’t feel like bowling today. That’s the magical thing about dating yourself. The answer to “what should we do tonight” is always “whatever I feel like!”

I’m on my way to an amusement park by myself for the day. Bring on the roller coasters and long lineups filled with uncomfortable eye-contact evasion!

Bonus points if I get my sexy ass into the water park. Wish me luck!


by myself at miniature golf


Saturday evening, around 8:30 pm, I went out on my first official date by myself. Please take a moment to skim through my previous post: by myself if you have no idea what I am talking about.

A first date is typically riddled with nerves, awkward pauses in conversation, and restrained farts. These are non-issues on a solo operation, so I already felt ahead of the game. I left the house looking cute and feeling well. This is going to be a breeze!

I pulled into the parking lot and my confidence deflated. Wow, there are a lot of people working on their short game this evening. I got out of the car and began setting up my tripod. In order to provide photo evidence without compromising the integrity of the challenge by bringing someone, I got a remote for my camera.

“Why don’t you just take a selfie with your phone?” my sister had asked, flabbergasted. “Because that would be too easy.”

Indeed, I intend to do this the hard way. Correction: “the more meaningful way,” says my therapist. “I think you’re just torturing yourself,” commented my sister. There may be some truth in that.

Here I am at Super Putt, in Niagara Falls, looking exactly as awkward as I felt in the moment.


I returned my equipment to my trunk and got in line behind a group of four, a middle-aged couple, and a family of three – all of whom had just watched me take that photo and were now eyeing me curiously. The family of three approached me. “Are you here by yourself?” “I am, yes.” “Would you like to join us?”

Even though this life raft was probably well-intended, I hated being directly confronted about being alone. I had to stuff the urge to launch into a full explanation about my intentions and this new project I am writing about. Instead I smiled and replied simply: “no, thank you.”

The next 45 minutes were somewhat painless. Mini-golf is boring without conversation or flirting or competition. And it would seem I am not very good unless I have somebody to beat. Interesting.

There were several uncomfortable moments backed up behind slower people and waiting around with the other groups. The couples embraced, the families joked around with each other, and then there was me.

I wish I could tell you I stood tall and faced the discomfort with my head up, smiled at the strangers and felt as if I belonged. That would be a lie. I felt like a weirdo. I got out my phone and took photos, posted them online, and cowered behind the warm glow of the social media security blanket. (A “no distractions” rule will be observed going forward.) Clearly I’ve got some work to do.

Not wanting to go home disappointed, I finished the evening with a romantic moonlit stroll by the falls. I had forgotten how captivating it looks lit up against the night sky.

At one point a man standing beside me got up on the ledge to take a picture and I jokingly yelled, “Don’t jump!” We laughed innocently for about two seconds before his wife swooped in and dragged him away. Oh, for Christ’s sake! I rolled my eyes and headed home.

Glow-in-the-dark bowling this weekend.


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