I do not love dating, but I love going on dates. The problem with dating is rarely the actual date, but all the stuff that happens before (like finding someone to date) and after (getting that person to date you again or leave you alone) can really suck. Common date activities rule, however, and there’s honestly no reason to get another person involved.
Most of the things I like doing with a romantic partner can be done without leaving my apartment. My boyfriend and I will occasionally venture out to eat a food that I can’t or won’t cook, or see a movie that is not on a streaming platform, but we are always relieved to return home, where we have snacks and a bed and control over the volume and temperature. In fact, most “date night” activities—movies, dinner, and drinks—are just as good, if not better, completely alone. Beyond the little rush brought on by feelings of independence and self-reliance, doing things by oneself is just easier, logistically speaking.
See movies by yourself
Unless you are a teen in need of a place to neck, going to a movie with someone else is largely pointless. You cannot talk during the film, so you are essentially paying 10 dollars to sit in silence and have your date stare at something other than you and the amazing outfit you picked out. I suppose you could argue that it’s nice to talk about the movie after, but I would hope you wouldn’t need that kind of conversational crutch, especially on a first date.
Watching a movie at the theater by yourself rocks for many reasons. You can sit wherever you want and, because there is only one of you, you are more likely to be able to find a good seat. You’re free to douse your popcorn in as much fake butter as you like, salt it as you please, and pour a bag of M&M’s in there if you desire. You also get to avoid the whole passing the bag back and forth sharing situation, allowing you to shovel your movie snack into your mouth without interruption.
Another great thing about enjoying the cinema on one’s own is that you can sit with your cinema-related thoughts for a bit, rather than form an immediate opinion upon exiting the theater. I find this usually results in me eventually saying smarter things about the movie, and I love nothing more than saying smart things. Heck, you don’t have to even tell anyone you saw the movie; excuse yourself from the discourse entirely if you like.
Go to concerts by yourself
Just like the theater, a concert is a terrible place to talk. Even before the show starts, the house music is often too loud to carry on any sort of conversation. (If you are thinking “I’ve had great conversations during live music shows,” know that you are very rude and are also now my enemy.) The best conversation you can hope for at a show involves awkward shouting, asking “WHAT?” a whole bunch of times, and nodding and smiling because you cannot bear the thought of asking your date to repeat themselves yet another time.
You can also stand wherever you want, without worrying if your date can “see okay.” If you are but a single person all by yourself at a show, it is much easier to worm your way into a good spot. You don’t have to worry about losing your partner, and—this is especially true if you’re a single women—people tend to be friendlier to a lonely single person, and less annoyed about letting one person past, rather than two. (This may not apply if you are a tall dude. Sorry tall dudes.)
Then there is the matter of time. Both leaving a show before you want to and staying longer than you desire are deeply annoying. Going alone means you can come and go exactly when you want, and either leave early to beat traffic or stay to snag the setlist.
Get a drink by yourself
“Drinking alone” is often framed as “sad” or “alcoholism,” but, for me, there is nothing more meditative than sipping a super cold martini and staring off into space. If the bar lighting allows, you can take a book (either the kind you read or the kind you write in), but letting your brain wander under the gentle influence of a cocktail or two is a good way to check in with your thoughts and feelings, if you are into that kind of thing. Sitting at the bar means you might get a spot of conversation with the bartender which is nice, but not necessary, so there is no real pressure to dazzle with dialogue.
Dress up for yourself
No matter what kind of date you’re taking yourself on, it is important to not skip the “getting all dolled up” step. Shower, shave, do your hair and/or makeup. Put in some effort for you. Back when I was dating a lot, my favorite part was getting ready. More often than not, listening to a Rolling Stones record while I got dressed and did my makeup was a highlight of the evening, as making oneself look nice makes one feel nice. (It’s particularly fun if you can give yourself a 90s teen comedy makeover moment by wearing something shlubby all day before transforming into a proverbial swan.) If you’re someone who usually dates men, you may find getting dressed for yourself, free from the male gaze—though we’re never really free—to be exhilarating.