How to be Alone

5 Aug
Alone in the Big City

Alone in the Big City

Blogging on a Saturday night after a hiatus of, what, four months? Not exactly the triumphant return I hoped for. It may be a short post, but it’s worth writing. I just read Tracy Clark-Flory’s article on Salon entitled, simply, “How to be Alone”. I simply feel that I have to comment, as somewhat of an expert on being alone.

I live alone in a very “cozy” studio apartment. When I tell people this, they react in either one of two ways. Men usually tell me that it would drive them crazy, and women tell me that they envy having a space of their own. Yes, the space is small- I can see my refrigerator from my bed- but I love having this small corner of the big city that is mine and mine alone. And yes, I like living alone. It does not mean that I am a hermit with no family or friends. I see family and I see friends- as a matter of fact, living in a cramped space forces one to venture out more than one would otherwise, I think. So I make plans with friends- we meet for lunch on Sunday, for Happy Hour drinks on Thursday, perhaps for a movie on Sunday.

But I am single, and have been resolutely single most of my life, with only short relationships interspersed between the years. I am very used to being alone, but some of the experts quoted in the Salon article mention that one of the difficulties in being lonely is the perceived stigma. I can attest to this and say that it is the difficult aspect of living in a big city alone and single. I only care when others care. Meaning, I rate restaurants based on how they treat solo diners. There is one place near me where I ate once with my mother and had a lovely lunch. I then went back alone on the weekend to have breakfast, and had a horrible experience. I watched as families and couples at tables were greeted warmly and served attentively by the waiter, while I was treated like a leper. I have never returned.

Going to movies alone is fine, as many in the theater are alone as well, and moviegoing is a communal experience any way (besides, I can’t stand going to the movies with people who want to chit chat. Let’s discuss who that actor is after the movie, please!). Going to concerts is something I cannot do alone, as that is an experience I believe has to be shared. However, I once went to a concert alone- my favorite band at the time, Dandy Warhols, was playing, and I couldn’t miss them. I ended up running into a dear friend from high school in line and we enjoyed the concert together, and went out afterwards. Serendipity.

It’s tough out there for a single woman in her 30’s. I often feel as though I am the last single person on Earth. It seems as though everyone I know is either married, engaged or in a relationship. I am quite used to being the third, fifth, or seventh in group outings. And because I’ve always felt that it is better to be happy alone than miserable in a shitty relationship, I am quite happy living my life until the next guy comes along. This doesn’t mean I don’t feel the occasional twinge of loneliness. But I try to make myself responsible for my own happiness and not mind if others are uncomfortable with my single status. I live in a great city, San Francisco, where it is hard to get bored, and where I prefer to enjoy all the city has to offer whether I am alone, with friends, or with the rare boyfriend. Even if it means a brazen public display of singleness.

And this should make your day: How to Be Alone, by poet Tanya Davis.

One Response to “How to be Alone”


  1. Creating a Community of Single Women | The Lebanexican - September 11, 2013

    […] even when it seems that we are the last single women on Earth (and trust me, I often feel like the last single woman I know), we are not. There are others out there living their lives and facing the same joys and […]

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