Why drinking alone is perfectly fine.
We all know the sad image of the lone woman arriving home to an empty house after work. She pets her cat(s), microwaves a meal, and spends the rest of the evening watching TV all by her poor, lonely self. She has dozens of take out menus, no friends’ numbers on speed dial, and the only person she talks to regularly is her mother (who, incidentally, wants to know when she’s going to get married and have kids). Poor, sad woman.
The only thing sadder is when the deluded soul thinks she’s actually happy. How she needs someone to show up in her life who’ll show her that there’s more to living than just being alive.
And on, and on.
The only real problem with this image is that for some women, that’s exactly what an ideal life looks like. The introverted woman doesn’t secretly crave society. Secretly, she’s delighted to come home to a blissfully empty house, her favorite food, and her favorite show. She’s had to tolerate loud, complaining people all day long, and doesn’t want to muster the energy to go out drinking.
The friends who nag her to come out with them have her best interests at heart, but they just don’t understand that relaxing and social interaction are completely antithetical to her. While they’re bored and saddened by silence, she’s renewed by it. While they’re energized by a night at the club, it drains her to her core.
So where did this image of the sad, lonely woman come from? Why is it that a solitary woman sipping wine in front of Netflix is a pathetic sight? Did extroverts invent it? Is it a by-product of the patriarchy?
Well, probably a little of both. When we grow up with the idea that being popular and in a good marriage are the best ways to be happy, anyone not in those situations is bound to be seen by most as unhappy. And most people don’t like to see others unhappy.
But here’s the thing. We’re not unhappy. We love our own company. We love creating in solitude, and we love the few, close friendships we have. And – truth be told – we love our cats. For some, living (and drinking) alone isn’t a wretched existence we pretend to enjoy to avoid pity. It’s an ideal existence that we genuinely delight in. And in all likelihood we wouldn’t enjoy being married with kids. That would be the wretched existence we’d have to pretend to enjoy to avoid public scorn.
So don’t pity the single, introverted woman. Just say hello in a passing text message, then leave her to enjoy her day.