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.