I’m taking a cue from the behavioral sciences to increase my comfort level with going to bars solo to meet men.
Join me in some slow cooker ratatouille and I’ll fill you in.
From what I have observed, most men are comfortable sitting in a bar solo with the intention of meeting women. Although some women also have a relaxed attitude about this tactic, a fair number of us, including me, are NOT at ease.
I have no problem going to a bar with a friend or two in hope of flirting with and meeting men. But going by myself is another story and since I believe that romantic success in a bar setting is more likely if one is alone, I have challenged myself to get comfortable with this approach.
This is where psychology comes in.
My discomfort as a solo bar goer does not qualify as a phobia and it certainly is not at the level of a panic attack. However, I reasoned that exposure therapy, a demonstrated treatment used to treat phobias, panic disorders, and other conditions, might help with a “softer” issue.
There are various types of exposure therapy. My plan is for “in vivo exposure,” basically forcing my butt out the door and into a nice happy hour venue with an age appropriate (loosely defined) clientele.
Exposure therapy may be combined with relaxation exercises to reduce anxiety and to help the individual associate the targeted activity or situation with relaxation. A nice glass or two of wine works well in the Nadia version of this technique.
Exposure therapy à la Nadia has another element, which I’m calling The Back Story. The Back Story is the story you tell yourself about a situation to help you deal with it. When you play that role, like the award-winning actress that you are, it’s easier to cope.
So if I tell myself that I’m visiting DC and don’t know anyone here, I feel more comfortable doing things solo. It sounds crazy but it seems to work. I am much more at ease going solo when travelling so an inventive Back Story helps me channel that comfort level in my hometown.
To date, I’ve had four solo bar outings (no friends accompanying me, no wing women etc.). And it has pretty much been a bust – other than having a nice glass of wine and delicious appetizers. I’ve talked to the bar wait staff and in one case discussed the food with two married men. But I have either picked a bad time (the bar is deserted or so crowded that strategic seating choices are limited) or a bad bar (in terms of clientele). And I still feel awkward when I go. But practice makes perfect (cliché happiness) and I plan to keep trying.
Maybe one day I’ll actually meet an eligible man at a happy hour.
How’s your search going?
Until next week, happy dating or not dating.