As I mentioned in a recent post, I drove up to a folk music festival by myself the other weekend while B went to a baby shower for her niece. On the one hand, I liked the idea of going off by myself for a day. But then I felt awkward and a little out of place once I arrived at the venue and wandered around all by myself.
There was a dance tent where a surprisingly large number of people were
learning a folk line dance. I would likely have joined in if B was with me, but
she wasn't. That's one reason why, by and large, I do not like to
travel by myself -- and why I'm glad that I have a partner, that I'm not single.
I will go to a diner or fast-food place by myself, but never a nice restaurant, or even a Chili's or Applebee's. I have been going to Florida for a few weeks in the winter for a number of years. I'd really rather have B go with me, but she's still working. And even though I spend a few days visiting my sister in Jacksonville and my friend in Ft. Myers, I still feel I miss out on things because I'm by myself, and I get lonely after about a week on my own. I go to the beach and watch the sunset, alone. It's kind of sad. Last year I took an airboat ride in the Everglades -- myself and three couples, two with kids. I felt kind of stupid.
Of course, my problem may be that I lack the self-confidence, or self-possession, to appear in public on my own. I feel self-conscious, like people are feeling sorry for me because I have no friends to go out with. Or maybe I just do not command the social skills to insert myself into a crowd of strangers, meet new people and make new friends. Maybe it's just that I don't like my own company.
I don't have a lot of experience being alone. I have never really lived by myself. I had a roommate when I moved to New York City after college, then was married for 29 years. After we got divorced I shared custody with my ex-wife, and my son was with me in my condo three days a week -- and my daughter came home for college vacations as well. Also, my ex-wife lived around the corner, and we had an amicable relationship and did things together once or twice a week, especially when the kids were around.
By the time my son went off to college, and my ex-wife moved away, I had a new girlfriend, and we soon moved in together -- and we've been together ever since, about ten years now.
I've never had to make it on my own, make new friends. I've had the same friends for decades. We do things together, mostly as a group. But I've never in my life called up a friend and said, "Hey, I'm going to the beach. Wanna come with me?" Or, "Would you like to go to the movies tonight?"
Is that why I feel awkward when I'm alone?
My older sister, now married, was single for most of her life. She goes out to lunch with her own friends, without her husband, and goes walking on the beach, and attends the symphony with her single friends. Once or twice a year she'll go away for a weekend with her girlfriends.
B also has her girlfriends. They go out to lunch, or occasionally to dinner or to go see a chick flick.
I don't have any "single" friends, and I don't think I could handle being single very well. I don't have the coping skills. Is that because I've never been on my own? Or is it because I'm a man, and men don't make friends as easily?
B and I go to a dancing class once a week. The class consists of four couples, along with one single man. I feel sympathy for him, because he's alone, although he seems to handle the situation quite well. But I could never be that guy.