Romancing Yourself

“Being single used to mean that nobody wanted you. Now it means you’re pretty sexy & you’re taking your time deciding how you want your life to be… & who you want to spend it with.” — Kim Cattrall

I was inspired to write this piece by a fantastic girl called Kylie who emailed me the other day, saying that she had never had a boyfriend & was pretty happy that way. Recently, however, in a conversation with a friend, she declared that she was no longer single — that she was dating herself! She said, “I believe in order to find your soul mate you need to find yourself & who you are… so I have decided to date myself & get to know who I am first.”

I couldn’t be happier for her, & as I read her email, sparks flew inside my skull & I knew I needed to write an article on romancing oneself!

How many horror stories have you heard about people dating wildly inappropriate people? I’ve heard hundreds, & they just keep coming. I think a lot of it stems from the fact that so many of us don’t know what we really want in another person. If I asked you to describe your dream lover, would you be able to? Not the physical attributes, but the aspects of their personality that really matter to you. So many people just don’t know.

To cut down on the amount of hideous dating disasters, it makes a lot of sense to get to know & love YOURSELF before attempting to do the same of another person. Maybe it’s time to start dating yourself.

How can you do that? Well, the short answer is to treat yourself as if you’re a person that you are head-over-heels in love with. What would you do for that dream person? Would you cook them fabulous meals, take them to the movies, fly them to Paris for a weekend? Time to start doing that for yourself! But here are some other suggestions…

Tell yourself that you’re beautiful
& do it every day. Look in the mirror while you’re in the bathroom getting ready to face the world & say, “You know what? You’re really gorgeous/handsome/beautiful/dashing/sexy.” (Whatever works best for you.) At first, saying this aloud might make you feel like the world’s most tragic person, & so if it does, try saying it in a silly voice & making it kind of like a comedy routine. But I promise you that after a while, you’ll begin to believe it — & you’ll feel so much better when you leave the house, because you know that you like yourself.

Go on dates alone
So many people are afraid to go to the movies or eat dinner alone! Learn to embrace this, especially if you’re afraid of it. There is no need to be scared of your own company, & if your primary worry is that people are judging you: trust me, they’re not. They probably think you are brave & that there is some awesome & mysterious reason why you are watching Casablanca alone. Go to museums, dance parties, art exhibitions & parks too. You do not need to wait for other people to accompany you to do the things you want! Going out with friends is great, of course, but experiencing the world alone is another thing entirely. Not to mention, dancing alone is one of the most fun things ever — come on, it has to be great if Billy Idol sang about it!

“Oh, dancing with myself, oh, dancing with myself, well there’s nothing to lose, & there’s nothing to prove, I’ll be dancing with myself!”

Buy flowers
Buy a huge bouquet of your favourite flowers & put them somewhere where you can admire them on a regular basis. Perhaps next to your bed or on your desk at work. Make a mental note to remember that they are a reflection of your love for yourself.

Spend hours in bookshops
Libraries, too. Allow yourself to wander all the way across the floor, from rack to rack, upstairs & down to the basement. Make notes of the books which interest you, & don’t allow your rational mind to get the better of you. If you want to submerge yourself in cooking books, or tomes on shoes, or a stack of pages on F1 racing cars, then do it! This is a really good way of getting to know yourself. Maybe you’ll become obsessed with industrial design or the illustrations in children’s books — & who knows where that could eventually lead?!

Start keeping a journal
Buy a journal (I like Moleskines, but what’s new?) & a super pen, & make a commitment to writing every day. As soon as you wake up, set a timer for 20 minutes & just write. Write write write. If you don’t know what to write, start by writing “I don’t know what to write…” Don’t worry about what you’re putting down — the beauty of “morning pages” (as they’re called) is that it is an authentic, true expression of yourself without censorship. Writing regularly & knowing that your words won’t be read by anyone else is incredibly liberating & an excellent way of getting to know who you really are. If you think about it, it’s the mornings when you are most yourself — you’ve just woken from a dream, the room is silent, the day stretches out in front of you like a cat & there are no external influences pushing or pulling you. Take this time for yourself, make it yours & appreciate it.

Learn about your sexuality
This is a really important part of the whole deal! Get to grips with what gets you off & what just plain turns you off. After all, if you don’t know what you want, how is your future lover going to know? Read erotica, rent porn, do online “research” & visit sex shops. No, not the nasty seedy ones — well, unless you want to! (Violet has a great list of stores here.)

Support yourself
You need to learn to become your own best friend — to have faith in the choices you make & to have your own back. Really, if you don’t look after, trust & respect yourself, who will? Be good to yourself. Stand up for yourself. It’s not quite a goodnight smooch, but I promise it will make you happy regardless.