Dating Diary Part Eight

I recently struck up a conversation with a woman on a train. She looked so chic with her black Chanel suit and beautiful mane of grey hair. We got onto the subject of dating and she told me that for the past year she’d been going on at least four dates a week. Sometimes, she said with a wicked chuckle, she will have two dates in one day!

I did the math. That’s over 208 dates a year! Amazed by her dating stamina I asked: How do you manage that? Where do you find the time? Where do you find the dates? Isn’t it exhausting? 

Oh, it’s easy, she said. I only date myself. 

Excuse me, I asked?

She explained how she loved going on dates – but only with herself. “Trips to museums, art exhibitions and the cinema are so much better on your own. You don’t have to worry if the other person is enjoying themselves and you can see things at your own pace. You really should start dating yourself.”

I can’t, I explained. I’m seeing someone at the moment so I can’t start seeing myself — that would be a terrible betrayal of me, by me! 

She smiled. 

And I wondered: who in their right mind wants to date themselves? It seems that increasing number of Britons do. I read that more than a third of Britons enjoy taking themselves out on a “date”. 

The lady on the train told me that dating yourself is very “uplifting” and “empowering.” And besides she added, if you can’t go out and enjoy your own company, then how can someone else do it? 

The cynic in me thought: self-dating is for people who can’t get dates! The optimist in me thought: why not just give it a go? So I did and here’s what I found. 

One of the great advantages of self-dating is that there’s none of that anxious wait for the person to respond to your text asking them out on a date. You don’t get cancelled at the last minute. You never get ghosted. You never fail to turn up to a date with you. There’s no worry about what you’re wearing. And you never think: but you look nothing like your profile picture! 

Taking myself to the cinema and an art exhibition was great – and cheaper! But my self-date for dinner was a disaster. When I arrived at the restaurant the maître de greeted me with: good evening looser! Couldn’t find a date, eh? Well, we have nice table for one by the toilet!

Of course he didn’t say that but the tone of his voice and his haughty manner suggested it. Or was I just being paranoid? 

The food was good, but the conversation was bad. Here’s a snippet.

Me: Had a good day? 

Me: You know what kind of day you had. 

Me: So, are you doing anything nice this weekend?

Me: No! Just the usual moping about and feeling sorry for myself as you well know!

Me: If you’re going to be difficult we can just sit here in silence.

Me: Well, that’s fine by me! 

What I discovered is that it’s good to be able to go out on your own once in a while and it can be fun. But don’t fool yourself in thinking that self-dating is the same as real dating. Just try and giving yourself a romantic good night kiss to know the difference. 

Cosmo Landesman is the former dating columnist for The Sunday Times and writes about love and romance for a wide range of publications including The Times and The Spectator magazine. He is currently single — but remains optimistic that true love is just one date away. 

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