It turned out to be a very romantic date. I had my nails done. I got dressed up – a kimono from Japan, worn as a coat and the red silk dress I had made in Vietnam to go under it for just such an occasion as this. I checked in to one of the best hotels in town and was delighted to be given a complimentary upgrade to a park view room, before taking a taxi to the Sydney Opera House. Really spoiling myself!
I only discovered that I like opera a few months ago when an offer I couldn’t refuse popped into my inbox. Dinner and an opera for $99! Then I was working and staying in Sydney, so it wasn’t a big deal to add this excursion. I took myself to The Merry Widow, thinking that at that price it would be a lousy seat. Not so. Good design means most seats in the Joan Sutherland Theatre have a great view. Dinner at a Circular Quay restaurant was pretty good. While most people were couples, a lady at the next table was by herself too. Like me, she was visiting from a regional city. I loved being there, the Quay, the Opera House, the whole experience.
This time, it was Aida. Not quite the bargain I got last time, but I confidently chose a less expensive seat and added a three-course dinner in the Opera House itself at a very reasonable price.
Being by myself, I didn’t think I’d get a great table in Overture Restaurant, so imagine my delight to be seated at one of the best, right next to the glass overlooking glittering Sydney Harbour. I took a photo and then put the phone away. The view was stunning. Ferries raced back and forth, illuminated in the darkness. I looked out to the familiar, funny face of Luna Park, backed up by a jewelled Ferris wheel, framed by the iconic coat hanger – the Sydney Harbour Bridge. A glass of bubbles completed the exciting ambience. A set menu with choices at entreé and main was light, satisfying and delicious.
As I sat there I reflected that I’m fortunate to enjoy my own company. I live alone by choice, but until now there has usually been a man in my life. Last New Year’s Eve, I ended a 10-year (non-live in) relationship in a last-straw moment. The romance had disappeared, the sex too and love and our similar enjoyments were no longer enough to counter our different tastes.
Some of my friends insist that I will ‘find someone’, but honestly I don’t feel the need. I like singledom. I have male and female friends to lunch or socialise with, but I’m getting more and more comfortable going out solo. I have travelled alone for business and pleasure, and I can take myself out here. This dinner by myself sealed the deal. I sat there immersed in the view, the food and the whole experience and wondered if I were sitting opposite a man whether that would add to or detract from my night. It was then I started thinking of this as a ‘date’ with myself. It was undeniably romantic and how lovely to be completely comfortable with my own company, no work, no need to please, make small talk or get tangled in deeper stuff, just enjoy.
It was funny, in the theatre I sat next to another solo woman and had a short chat. She told me she knew someone who actually married herself in a ceremony at the beach. I don’t plan to go that far, but I’ll definitely do more of these dates. I could fall in love with me!
Oh, the opera? It was spectacular!