~ Audrey Hepburn
The other day, I saw a post on Facebook. Lord only knows who or what page posted it, and I saw it a few times over by the end of the day anyways, but this now infamous-in-my-mind post was a Fall 2013 Family Bucket List. It was written by Katie of the Loves of Life blog. And while Katie’s suggestions are family oriented but not without merit for a single gal, it got me thinking: Are there bucket lists for Singles out there?
A quick Google search showed that yes, yes there are.
The first list that came up was Emily Abbate’s of The Stir, but I got the feeling her list may have been written in a post-break up phase. When a post starts out with, “Breakups suck. OK, that’s an understatement…” one gets that impression. Yet skimming through other blog posts, most women mentioned modeling their own list after the one published to Glamour’s website in June of 2010 (interesting enough, Glamour’s list was the last link on my first results page). Some people retyped the Glamour list or the one written by Abbate, and others were slightly sexist, with their suggestions of “learn how to change a light bulb on your own.” Really? If you can’t change a light bulb by yourself and you’re over the age of 10, you need more help than any Bucket List could ever give you. The one list that truly had me laughing though was Tres Sugar’s “Summer Bucket List for Single Women.” Not only was it published on August 30th, three weeks before the first official day of fall, but some of the suggestions were just completely unrealistic. “Go for a ride in a paddle boat.” As someone who has attempted paddle boating by herself, let me tell you that without a partner, you’re going nowhere but in circles. Or “go on an organized camping trip.” Maybe it’s because most of my past camping trips were anything BUT organized, but going camping with a bunch of strangers isn’t one of those YOLO moments for me. Agree? Disagree? Digressing? Probably.
What I found the most interesting about all of the lists was that for the most part, 75% of what’s on a Single Woman’s Bucket List should be on a Married Woman’s Bucket List as well. Notice I said should be. Yes, the lists all mentioned dates with both a younger and an older man, kissing a random stranger, going on a group date, and/or trying speed dating. But mostly, the lists all suggested having a meal alone in a restaurant, going to a movie by yourself, going to a bar by yourself, treating yourself to new heels or a red lipstick, or saying hello to a stranger.
These are all things every woman, regardless of age, marital status, race, size, whatever, should try.
I learned to eat a meal by myself in a restaurant when I was 18. I was working on Mackinac Island, and not only did the majority of my roommates work evenings in bars and/or were dating, but grocery shopping on an island in the Straits of Mackinac that allows no cars except for emergency vehicles is pretty much… well, impossible. The store was about 1,200 sq. ft., fresh produce was a small fortune (think organic prices for conventional stock), purchasing meat on a $6/hour salary was like purchasing Kobe beef and one can only eat so many cans of soup, Spaghetti-Os, and La Choy Chop Suey. It was just easier to eat out and I did. Sometimes I’d take a book or magazine with me, other times I would sit in a corner listening to my Sony Sportsman (the 90s! YEAH!), and on a few occasions I would just sit quietly observing the world around me.
The winter of 2004, I started attending movies by myself. Dipshit had just left for Iraq after telling me he wanted a divorce, and there were nights I couldn’t face going home to my empty apartment that reeked of anger, desperation, and regret (or “Scent of Divorce”, whatever you want to call it). There were two theaters within walking distance of my office, and movies offered an escapes, solace. I’d do this every few weeks, and I’ll admit, I can’t recall many of the movies I saw during this period (nothing new, as I don’t remember much about the first six months of 2004). The one movie I do remember seeing and regret seeing by myself though was “40 Days and 40 Nights” with hottie Josh Harnett. If you haven’t seen it, Harnett, a Catholic, takes a vow of celibacy during Lent. You would think, considering my relationship status at the time, that this would be a movie I’d embrace whole-heartedly. Well, I forgot just how hot Harnett is, and since it’s a movie, there were huge hurdles for his character to jump and yeah, it wasn’t a good movie to see at the time. Though it did jump-start my fondness for adult toys, I’ll tell you what.
Trying new hairstyles, treating yourself to a new red lipstick, or buying a great pair of heels… truthfully, you should already be doing these things. Try growing out your hair to a length that allows for a ponytail. Have your stylist add a few blonde highlights during your next visit. Treat yourself to a new red, magenta or burgundy lipstick, the three hot colors for fall where lipsticks are concerned. Hit Payless or Prada on your way home and grab a new pair of shoes (and if you stop at Prada, my birthday is October 19th). You should never hesitate to do something new for yourself every once in a while. Lipstick doesn’t have to break the bank (though the colors recommended by Harper’s Bazaar might). Just do it. And feel great not only when you do, but every time you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror.
And while you’re out and about, strutting that new lipstick color or ponytail, remember one thing. With the exception of close family, everyone in our lives, our best friends, the neighbors who watch your pets while you’re on vacation, your spouse/partner… they were all strangers once.
So stop and say hello.