We’re used to the notion of dating as a route to a relationship between two people. What we’re less used to is the concept of dating yourself.
My friend put it this way: he said he was having a date at Loneliness, the bar.
“Where’s that?” I asked.
It was on Wednesdays, generally, and it required a desk-like table and a view. It resulted in moderate amusement – a couple of drinks sealed with Miles Davis. The table reflected the dining-out-alone armor – Samuel Beckett plays, a collection of Bukowski poems or that journal received as a birthday gift, housing illustrated paragraphs of a personal life. The view was one to space out in front of, and allow your internal monologue to dance around with the landscape.
In El Salvador, from the slopes of the San Salvador volcano, where the city decided to spread itself up, you get to see the array of streets and lights, recognize the old and new buildings and stadiums and… what’s that over there? Lake Ilopango appears majestic, with more volcanoes behind it.
It doesn’t have to do with being single. Dating yourself is about taking yourself out. If you enjoy your own company, why not?
Treat yourself to what you like, to complement your alone time.
What would you like to do today?
You can try something new, or go back to that familiar feeling of a place you like.
Screenings of old films are a great way to break the habit of never going to the movies alone. If Cinemark La Gran Vía is having one of their routine cycles of classic films, watching The Godfather is a good way to spend your Saturday afternoon. If you crave a new movie, a trip to Multiplaza might be a better choice. There, you’ll also find Sanborns and Librería Internacional. You’ll scan the books, undecided… until you’ve found the new book (or books) to pass your time with. Take it with you, stop for coffee, and ignore the rustling of people and the buzzing of life. Weekends generally leave a little room for the stuff you enjoy by yourself.
Movies, coffees, drinks, and museums
For weekdays, check out the cultural calendars around the city. There’ll be invitations to Italian movie screenings at the Museo Nacional de Antropología (MUNA), French cinema at La Alianza Francesa de San Salvador, art shows at the Centro Cultural de España (CCESV) or La Casa Tomada. You don’t need a date to schmooze at art openings, and stopping at one after work is likely to save you from traffic. Take your mind off your week; that’s what evenings are for.
Oh, and a date with yourself can be a perfect prelude to another date. After you’ve circulated the rooms of the Museo de Arte de El Salvador (MARTE) and before you meet someone for dinner, order a drink at the bar. A quick little parenthesis of you and your thoughts before, wait, what are we eating?
There are always “we moments” you’ll find yourself in: colleagues, friends, family, partners. That’s why I value the “I moments”. Like right before a meeting when I can sip my coffee the way I like it, stopping for a bite amid errands.
Intermittently, between chunks of things on my schedule, I’ll order coffee at Viva Espresso. With a handful of different branches, this is where I get to taste special coffees from different plantations across El Salvador.
Le Croissant is always good for improvised snacks, and Básico is my favorite stop for food on the go. Take your salad to wherever you’ll sit down, and stick on your headphones to distract your ears with a podcast. What do you want to listen to today?
I’ve been practicing this dating thing for years and have since discovered that I enjoy dating myself in San Salvador. I like to stop and have a late breakfast, stretching out that date with a book or a notebook.
I have a very good time, on dates with myself.
Patricia Trigueros is a free spirit, writer, and translator from El Salvador. She has the habit of drinking too much coffee and writing in English, French, and Spanish. Check out her blog here and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.