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The Time I Dated Myself

Masturdating (v): the act of dating yourself by going out alone to a movie or restaurant

When I first heard this term I, like many of you, cringed. It’s hard enough to watch senior citizens eating alone in a restaurant. Their old, brittle hands attempting to cut through their steak might as well cut through your heart. And then there’s the fear of the cashier at the box office judging you when you ask for just one ticket to Channing Tatum’s new movie. Not to mention the added horror when you end up sitting beside a couple still in their ”honeymoon phase.” Blegh.

However, with the concept of dating yourself becoming more and more embraced (recommended, even), I became drawn to discovering the fascination behind it. Even though I consider myself to be an independent person, the thought of masturdating never occurred to me. I’m all for a night in with a cup of tea, my favourite PJs, and 45 hours of Netflix. But to go to dinner and a movie alone– with 3 dimensional people? Interesting. So one rainy Wednesday afternoon, I decided to masturdate.

Wearing a black, lace dress and some red lipstick, I strolled into a busy downtown cafe for lunch. Mumbled conversations of business meetings and friendly coffee dates filled the air along with delicious aromas of expensive lattes, waffles and pasta. “Fancy, aren’t we?” I thought, as I ordered the $18 plate of carbs with a side of salad, eyeing the waiter for signs of judgement. None. I was already impressed with myself. Financially stable and pretty? Score!

There were a lot of things I learned while I sat at this table for two. For one thing, people do notice you. Within the hour, one man, also sitting alone, asked if I was waiting for someone while an elderly woman proceeded to ask where I was from. No, and oh, hell no. I gathered enough courage to smile at two other women at the table across from me to let them know how obvious their staring was. “Sorry, we’re in love with your bag.” They admitted, as I quickly changed the subject before they asked me where it was from. They all seemed to be thinking something different about me. And then I realized- I didn’t care.

The food was good. I looked good. And there was no awkward small talk to fill the silence. In fact, it was rather emotionally stimulating being lost in my own thoughts in such a busy restaurant. The vulnerability of being alone added some spice to the elements of a successful first date. The feeling was similar to going out with someone you’ve had a crush on for  a very long time. Even though you think you know everything about him or her, including where they went on vacation back in 2006 (thank you, Facebook!), you still end up getting a little nervous trying to impress them. Masturdating, I learned, is the idea of impressing yourself instead of trying to impress the one across from you.

I would like to address some concerns before I masturdate again. I proved to be a little less than perfect when I found myself mindlessly scrolling through Twitter and Instagram, forgetting my line of thought. Or- when my thoughts were diverting somewhere I didn’t want to go. It was like texting your best friend when your date says something weird. It was rude.

All in all, I would definitely say yes to a second date.  I already have an outfit in mind. Dinner, maybe? Can’t wait.

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