Dating and falling for myself is harder than I thought

After reading a spate of articles over the last few months about the rise of "sologamy" - the practice of falling in love with and marrying oneself - I decided to give it a try.

It seemed a great alternative to the potential disappointment of dating sites Tinder and Bumble.

Besides, when you date yourself, you are never "geographically undesirable".

I knew there could be drawbacks. For one, it would be hard to lie about my age. Still, I pressed on.

I soon realised that the first step - asking myself out - might be the hardest.

As a shy woman, I have never asked anyone out, except for invitations dropped subtly into conversation such as: "Hey, Jackson Elementary is putting on Antigone on Friday at 7.30 and I happen to be free."

I would have to be more direct when I asked myself on a first date.

But how?

I would need to be confident without being arrogant.

I am very turned off by arrogance.

I decided to take a week to work up to it. I determined that I would do it on a Friday night in front of the mirror in my bedroom, after drinking a glass of rose.

Then I baulked again.

I wanted to lose a few kilograms first. Nothing wrong with extra weight, but I wanted to feel healthier in mind and body when I presented myself to myself.

I decided to wait for two weeks.

As the fateful Friday approached, I agonised over what to wear.

It was important to look nice but not desperate. I found a solution.

I would ask myself out at 5.30pm, immediately after work, so I would be well-dressed without seeming as though I were trying too hard.

On a warm Friday evening, I marched through my door, put on a Barry White MP3, stood in front of the mirror and said: "Hi. I was wondering if you would like to go out sometime?"

Inwardly, I cringed.

It had come out so formal.

What if I thought I was too stiff?

I pondered over this for a while, then felt nervous because the answer was taking so long. If I was this insecure asking myself out, how good could the date be?

I took a half-hour to mull over the question and to give my cat a bath. Then I accepted my offer. After all, I had no plans for the coming weekend, or all of summer.

"Great," I responded.

"Have you seen Wonder Woman?"

"No, I haven't," I replied, already knowing full well I had not seen the movie.

This sologamy stuff was genius.

There was one more snag. Films in Manhattan have got expensive.

The Saturday night showings were US$17.50 (S$24).

I managed to find several cinemas with Sunday matinees for US$9.

But did I really want to date someone so cheap?

On Saturday night, I searched for a neighbourhood that might be tolerant of sologamy.

I found a cinema in the Bronx.

I got there early on Saturday night and gave myself a pat on the back. I admire punctuality.

"I used to love watching Wonder Woman reruns after school," I told myself, sitting down.

"It came on right after General Hospital. Luke and Laura were like superheroes, too. They saved the world three summers in a row."

I made myself smile, but then I had nothing to add. Maybe I needed to switch topics.

"I heard the Yanks are in first place," I said."I'm not really into sports," I responded.

When the movie ended, I talked to myself a little about some patronising reviews I had read, but people were looking at me funny.

I took myself to a bar to loosen myself up. At the bar, I grew tired of myself quickly. Truth was, I just was not feeling a spark.

On the way home, I realised: I liked myself, but I was not in love with myself.

But how to let myself down easy?

At home, I sat on the edge of my bed staring at my phone, trying to figure out how to word a text rejecting myself politely but firmly.

For three days, I debated what to say.

As I hesitated, the other side of me got angry about waiting so long for a text. How hard was it to send a simple text?

Maybe I was really busy. I checked Facebook and Twitter to see if I had posted anything in the past few days.

I noticed some photos of avocado bruschetta that were a week old. Whew, clearly I was just busy. Besides, I had a life before I met me.

Finally, I came up with a solution - I would "ghost" myself.

The other side of me was disappointed in myself for the cop-out, but eventually it was time to move on.

When the next weekend came, I made a decision: No dates at all.

I ordered Asian fusion takeout, plucked a frosty pint of Ben and Jerry's from the grocery store and watched An Affair To Remember (1957) at home.

As I spooned my frozen yogurt, I revelled in the lack of pressure and labels.

It was the best Friday night I had ever had.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 16, 2017, with the headline 'Dating and falling for myself is harder than I thought'. Print Edition | Subscribe