I’m thinking about going to the movies by myself.
A woman at work told me La La Land is wonderful, a delight. The perfect movie to sit at the back of the cinema and watch on my lonesome without any embarrassment over the fact I may or may not cry. Not in a sad or desperate way; in a way that this is exactly where I want to be.
2017 is all about “treating yo’self”.
You might think it's remarkable I've never before been to a movie by myself. A lot of people I know roll their eyes at that. "Really?" they ask, an air of superiority about them. Others gasp at the prospect - and why would you ever want to?
I do a lot of things by myself. I regularly take myself on hikes. Swimming in the ocean is something I much prefer in solitude. Sometimes I sit in a park, or at a coffee shop and read by myself.
But I've never dated myself. And this... this is going to be a game changer.
Before you get any ideas, I'm not talking about anything sexual. Yes the name carries connotations. No, I'm not interested in exploring the concept further with you.
Masturdating on Mamamia Out Loud. (Post continues after audio.)
Instead, Masturdating is referring to exactly that: dating, yourself.
Taking yourself to the cinema, out to dinner (no split bill arguments), to a theme park or the zoo or the aquarium, all for the purpose of getting to know yourself.
Yes, it's the old trite concept: You must love yourself, before you love another. But there is something in it.
As you have the same conversation with yourself for the third time in a single evening - and you're still pondering what you should tell your mother about coming over for Sunday lunch - you're likely to be more aware of the fact that you're going round in circles.
Similarly, if you find you can't shut up about how much you love dancing-but-you-don't-actually-have-any-time-to-do-it, you might finally convince yourself to take action. Book a dance class. Maybe even take yourself to a night club (now that's a real date).
It's all about self-awareness.
Stopping, treating yourself and - in doing this - listening to yourself is the only way forward in discovering who you really are and what you really want.
What better way to do this than getting dressed up, taking yourself to a nice restaurant, and sitting down to your favourite meal with no washing up required?
There are a few tips to getting it right. Expert Masturdater Patrick McAleenan (who knew there was such a thing?) wrote for The Telegraph about the art of masturdating, and he recommends the following:
Smile. A lot. People will look at you strangely and that is okay. Just because they're their with the first date, or wife of 12-years, or gaggling group of best girlfriends, should not mean that you can't enjoy yourself also. Yes, they will look at you weirdly. No, you do not have to react.
Take a book along with you. You know that feeling when your date will just not shut up? Yep, that's likely to happen when you're dating yourself. Without the constant distraction of another person — are they touching your hand purposefully? do you think you should go back to their place? is there a future with this particular one? — your mind will try its hardest to distract itself with... itself. And it will chatter, and chatter, and chatter. Reading a book will take you out of your own mind, and into some real date-worthy dialogue.
Don't get too used to it. Certainly, dating yourself has benefits — you will learn more about yourself, your habits, the way you think. But it shouldn't be your only outlet. There's a reason, and a place for, and some very exciting possibilities that come with dating someone else. Don't forget these in your journey of self-awareness-through-Masturdating.
Finally, McAleenan says, take an aisle seat in the cinema... I don't want to be stuck between two snogging couples as I enjoy the wonders of La La Land. That will just make it depressing.
Listen to the full podcast here. Maybe make a date of it.