The other day I was stood up on a date. I’d met this guy at a friend’s house, we’d connected and laughed and the following week he invited me out for lunch. I said yes.
He was bright, gorgeous and filled with potential. At the very least he could be a new friend.
We set a place and a time and I arrived at the restaurant wearing jeans and a white shirt, a splash of perfume and a touch of optimism.
He hadn’t arrived so I picked a table, sat and ordered a glass of chilled white wine. Wine to match my mood. I read the menu, read the paper, read my phone, looked around for something else to read and tried to look calm and cool.
He was late.
I’m patient with people who are late; I am often late myself.
I’m not so patient with people who are very, very late.
Fifteen minutes, twenty minutes, half an hour. I wasn’t sure what to do. Should I call him? Text him? Get angry with him?
I chose to do none of that.
I folded the paper, put my phone away and instead, ordered lunch. I was starving. The menu looked fantastic and I suddenly realised that it was absolutely fine if I didn’t have a date. I was old enough and big enough to eat on my own. It isn’t something that I do often and I decided it was about time that I learned how to do it.
Eat alone, not just a snack, but a full on meal – with confidence and in public.
I told the waiter I’d been stood up and he made me feel really good by saying ‘any man who stands you up is an idiot. I quite liked that, and thought – it’s true.
A few years ago I would’ve thought ‘Oh God what did I do wrong, why didn’t he arrive, why hasn’t he called me and it’s all my fault’ – but now I just wasn’t taking it on. This was about him being the fuckwit, not me.
I ate my meal, which tasted especially good because I had had this epiphany that I was okay, and then – oops as I was paying the bill, he arrived. I was so glad I hadn’t phoned him and been all needy. He had the time wrong.
Actually, I had the time wrong; I was an hour early.
I sat with him while he ate. I think I oozed a confidence that I’m not sure I had oozed before. I could sense that he really liked me and the vibe that I was giving out, and it was a really fun, if very late, lunch.
Over my second slice of chocolate cake he asked me out on a second date. I was the one who said ‘Sure, but let’s just be friends’. I was suddenly enjoying my new found sense of ‘Hey motherfuckers, I’m okay on my own!’.
And I am. It is such a great feeling when you realise you don’t have to take on the whole world. When you realise that other people have issues and problems and that not all the issues are your own. And that everyone makes mistakes.
Tonight I’m going out for dinner. Alone. Same restaurant, because I don’t want to be too brave too quickly, but hey – I’m dining alone. And I have this quiet sense that finally, eventually, right now, I am quite happy with my own company.