I’ve definitely been living my best life so far in 2022, from the Jason Bateman weekend of weekends to seeing some of the biggest shows on Broadway. The one thing I hadn’t thought twice about in years has raised some eyebrows from the people around me, though. Could I really be doing these things alone?
Almost every usher who checked my ticket asked for the other ticket, and seemed surprised when I didn’t have one. Some have even gone as far as to assume the random man behind me is with me, and they start to walk him to the same seating assignment.
At one of the shows, two couples stood up to allow me into the row to my seat. And as I was passing, the following conversation went down:
Woman #1: Is your friend coming?
Me: No friend, just me tonight.
Woman #2, turning to Woman #: Does she have someone coming?
Woman #1: No, she said it’s just her.
Me: *Internal eye roll*
OK y’all, I get that you may be curious if someone else is going to come right behind me and ask you to stand up again…But let’s take it down a notch.
I’m also completely aware that I’m sensitive to these sorts of questions and reactions. I’ve never had a steady +1 to anything, much less a paid event. For years and years, that made me so sad and self-conscious that I would always buy 2 tickets to everything and hope that a friend or family member would be willing and able to go with me.
The only time I went anywhere by myself was SXSW in 2014 to see Jason Bateman. The passes were way too expensive for me to justify buying more than one, and I had to see Jason. In my mind, I had no choice. It wasn’t until I moved to NYC for the first time back in 2018 that I was forced to change my mindset for good. I knew no one in the city, but I wanted to do and see a lot of things. I had a choice — go and see these things by myself, or don’t go and see them at all. Somehow that made the answer crystal clear, and I never second guessed it again. If I wanted to see Broadway shows, or Central Park, or the Met, or a famous restaurant, I had to venture out alone.
And once I started going to shows and events by myself on an ongoing basis, it truly became no big deal. I actually enjoyed not having to keep track of anyone else or what they wanted, being able to leave when I wanted, go just where I wanted, change my plans if I wanted…It was blissful.
Then at the first SmartLess show in Brooklyn, the lovely young lady next to me had shelled out for her front-row ticket because she had a love of Will Arnett akin to my love for Jason. During our conversation, she said she was glad that she wasn’t the only one who came to the show alone. Her friends weren’t able and/or interested in attending…maybe even a little surprised she still went by herself. And we discussed this same concept. Despite any stigma, if you really want to do something, not having someone to do it with you, should never stop you. I’m so glad the universe sat us next to each other that night.
Thank goodness I finally came to the realization that I deserve to do all of the things I want to do, and that doing them alone takes nothing away from the experience. I can’t imagine letting my sadness and self-consciousness about what other people might think continue to keep me from going where I want to go. In fact, you just might meet some super cool, like-minded people while you’re there.