Saturday, December 04, 2010

The Advantage of Being Older


I love the fact that the angst of being young and dithery and should I or shouldn't I stuff has evaporated. The clarity of certainty is a true gift.

Example:

The annual village dinner/dance is on tonight and I had two tickets, for a dear old friend of mine and myself. My friend is quite sick so had to opt out.

Now in my younger years I would have forced myself to go it alone. Attached myself perhaps to other couples. Suffered the approach of alcohol-fortified dance partners and their left feet and surreptiously checked nearby watches to time my escape. Which was never soon enough.

Not anymore. I called the dance committee first thing this morning and expressed my regrets with a suggestion they give my tickets to someone on the waiting list. Over pleas of "You have to come, you will be missed!" I said gently and firmly, "No, I'm sorry. I will not be attending alone".

Which begs the question: Why on earth don't these events set up tables for singles like me? And then tell us loners about it?

There is nothing lonelier in my mind than the holiday season banquets full of couples and the solitary man or woman sitting at a table while everyone around them dances.

I'll pass, thanks.

31 comments:

  1. Agreed 100%. I decided long ago not to attend these things unaccompanied for precisely the reasons you offer. Come to realise I'm just as happy at home with a warm fire and a good book.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree with you, WWW. Attending these functions on your own is no fun at all. The world is still geared toward couples, although more and more of us are single. I think your suggestion of a singles table is excellent. You could make it an especially festive one by decorating it extra and putting it in the middle of the room on the edge of the dance floor.

    ReplyDelete
  3. VP:
    Yes, it is hard to beat a toasty fire and a great book!
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  4. Nora:
    It never ceases to amaze me too, what an opportunity to meet other singles and have one's own fun. Totally short-sighted.
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  5. I agree. Being on your own at that sort of social event is just embarrassing. Couples can be so indifferent to singles, snug in their cosy little twosomes. Yes, why not a singles table?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Nick:
    You're one of the few partnered to understand this. Other couples just urge and plead saying oh, we'll take care of you, etc., sit with us, blah blah.
    No, I'll take care of myself and stay home, thanks.
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  7. I have not been to a dinner dance for years - thankfully.

    This brings to mind an overnight stay I had in an hotel in Wexford some years ago. I was alone and in need of an evening meal. When I went to the dining room I was shown to a table on my own. It was one of two rows of four small tables, each with a setting for one facing the table in the other row, just far enough away to prevent conversation. Why oh why, did they not push the tables together and allow the eight people to chat and enjoy the meal together.

    ReplyDelete
  8. GM:
    I wonder too, could it be some loners resent company?
    I think the fact they're out and about (and not ordering in) shows a keenness to socialize, don't you?
    My father never tired of talking about his "lunch bunch" at a restaurant in Cork where he ate every day. It was a constantly changing cast at a large table. He loved it.
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  9. The good thing for me at my age is that I no longer want to go anyway, whether with someone or by myself. By the way, your Christmas turtles will be in the mail to you as soon as I can get the dough to dry.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Ah, Marcia, that old dough drying excuse!

    That "NO" thing has a lovely sound, doesn't it?

    I guess being able to be totally selective with friendships is such a bonus!!!

    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  11. I agree they missed the chance to set up a singles table. A restaurant we like here has a very popular bar where singles from the village often come in for dinner. It's the most popular place to sit.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Staying in with a good book sounds a lot more fun. In my working years there were many church events I was expected to attend, so it is a relief now to be able to stay put.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Standing in a buffet line once upon a time ago, I was feeling sorry for myself because I was alone. In line behind me was a group of people. Unseen by the loudly talking
    man was obviously his wife who was silently mouthing, 'shut up, shut up, shut up', and I thought to myself; "I get to eat alone."
    Helen

    ReplyDelete
  14. What about that old bone that couples are more comfortable when singles aren't buzzing around? Does it still have meat on it? Sounds like from your comments, there is still an unstated tension.Too bad.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Zuleme:
    I do believe that couples (who usually organize such events) give it any thought at all.
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  16. Freda:
    Yes in my time too, there were lots of company events and I am so glad I don't have to suffer these anymore, with our without the escort.
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  17. Helen:
    Oh so many times this has happened to me too, I am so grateful I don't have to partner with an ongoing drone. Silence would be preferable!
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  18. Lori:
    I honestly don't believe it has anything to do with that at all. It is just thoughtlessness or fear of doing something different with the singles.
    Believe me, I am no threat to anyone (and wouldn't want the husbands anyway!
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  19. There is nothing lonelier in my mind than the holiday season banquets full of couples and the solitary man or woman sitting at a table while everyone around them dances.

    So true. But, as I read your post, I couldn’t help but feel for those who are truly lonely at home – and not just for the holiday season. Christmas – with or without banquets – can make those who are alone feel more isolated and depressed (for lack of a better word). It is good to spend time home alone by the fire with a good book, but for anyone whose is alone and graving company, I suspect that it quickly grows old.

    Your suggestion of a singles table is a great one. It would be helpful in more ways than one.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I agree with the last comment and feel quite lonely at the holidays as it is forced upon me loneliness.

    ReplyDelete
  21. It is almost as if the notion of 'being single' is an attribute of youth. I fear that many still raise their eyebrow at being older and being single -- and thus don't accommodate that idea. It is really kind of silly.

    This is truly felt during holidays. Sad.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Chris:
    Ah, the Walton's Mountain Syndrome hits a lot of people at this time of the year.
    We can often fantasize that company is better than being alone.
    I think we all need to embrace our own solitudes.
    But I agree, some people just never do and pine for what might have been.
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  23. Nora:
    It is not a good time for anyone, partnered or not. Too many memories and it breeds a form of dissatisfaction too in a lot of people.
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  24. Jerry:
    I agree. You got me thinking I should have the occasional lunch party for "strays", older people who are single in my community.
    H'm.
    change starts with me 'n all that.
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  25. I've never been to a dinner dance in my life, WWW - alone or otherwise....anti-social is my middle name. ;-)

    I do understand how you feel about going to one such "do" as a single though, because I'd feel it, even as a "double".

    ReplyDelete
  26. T:
    You got me thinking, I've rarely enjoyed such events. In my drinking days I got plastered, in my non-drinking times even with partner I felt I was an alien.
    Not my kind of thing at all. I just hate congo-lines and those awful Texan line-dancing efforts with everyone kicking up on their own beat.
    I am a recluse at heart too :D
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  27. You really struck a nerve with this post. It's perversely reassuring to my anti-social nature to see so many others who would rather pass than be the object of a couples well-meaning charity. I never considered a "singles" table and think it is a great idea. If I choose to attend as a single, I want it to be with self-confidence and equal status.

    ReplyDelete
  28. If I am ever privy to the planning of such occasions, I will be sure to speak up for a singles table - it's a wonderful idea. I don't go to evening outings unless I go with someone else as I can't see well enough to drive at night but staying home alone doesn't make me feel lonely. I often much prefer it.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Sharon:
    Yes, it is that enforced "less than" status which I find the most irritating of all.
    I must try and gently suggest these singles tables, I think they would be a hoot...
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  30. Pauline:
    I am careful with whom I share my preference for being alone!
    I really really really enjoy my own company and so many don't understand this at all.
    I think one has to have lived alone for quite some time to so thoroughly enjoy one's interior.
    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  31. Well said WWW. I'm starting to know the benefits of more confidence and assertiveness already (though hopefully minus the trap of getting stuck in my ways).

    ReplyDelete

Some of you are having trouble, I've removed captcha and verification so we'll see how that goes. My apologies. Blogger is putting up far too many roadblocks. Thanks for the emails alerting me.
wisewebwomanatgmail.com