For Pat Brothwell taking someone home after a night on the town has never been his endgame.
A few weeks back, I was out with some people laughing about how the week before, I’d ended a night of barhopping early, retiring to my bed with a quesadilla and Law and Order: SVU marathon. “That’s really sad,” someone commented, and before I was able to wholeheartedly agree, they continued, “that you weren’t able to find anyone to come home with you.” I wasn’t really looking, I said, not thinking it’d progress past that exchange, but I found myself met with incredulous stares. “Come on, you had to be bummed. The night was a bust.” I looked back. I’d caught up with a good friend I hadn’t seen in a while, we ended up having a great time and stayed out well past the dinner and drinks we’d planned on. We’d both had to be productive the next day which is why we’d ended early. I actually remember waking up and thinking what a good time I’d had.
I shared this with them but was realizing that I was out with a some people who had a completely different approach to living than I did. “What’s the point of being a single guy if you’re not getting some all the time?,” I was asked. “Why even go out?”
The thing is, I began explaining to them, a lot of the nights I spend barhopping end with me going home alone. “A lot” is even an understatement. The majority of the time my only bedmates are deep fried and picked up at Wawa. And, I made sure to mention, because I could see them going there, it’s not because I’m afraid of girls or anti-relationship.
Part of it might have to do with growing up in rural Northeast PA. It’s not the type of place where you go out and meet an assortment of new people every night. Half the time the friends I go to the bar with are the only ones there. You go out to socialize, to have fun, and you have to make that fun yourself. Part of it probably has to do with the fact that my college friends are spread out all over the tri-state area, so when we do go out with one another, it’s to actually hangout and catchup. But I’m over rationalizing here for no reason as we’re apt to do when voicing a minority opinion. Even when I was in college, I corrected myself, when I saw my friends every day and there were tons of attractive young people around, picking someone up was never my first priority.
At the risk of sounding like a judgey-asshole (which automatically means I’m being one), I sometimes feel sorry for the people who consider going home alone a failure. To be fair to those who live life in this way it’s something I don’t quite understand. I suspect it takes a thick skin, because in order to find someone to stick, you need to get turned down, more than once even. I don’t know if my ego is built for that. It also takes some damn strong perseverance; you have to be consistently on, and sometimes, on a Friday, I just want to relax, let loose, and be decidedly off. It seems exhausting and it must be stressful when the onus for a night being successful or not, relies almost completely on another party. I’d rather the success or failure of a night depend on just me.
And at the risk of sounding like the world’s humblest human, I’m not saying all this because I feel like it’s not something I could achieve. I’m relatively good looking. I work out regularly and dress well. I’m decently intelligent, have a wide range of interests that lend themselves to conversation and I’m not stingy in the drink buying department, especially after having a few myself.
My bar companions agreed with me. I definitely could’ve slept around more than I must’ve. Didn’t I regret that? I’m not getting any younger (I don’t know why people keep pointing that out).
I mean, we all have our could’ve, would’ve, should’ve moments, but in general, no. What I don’t regret most is all the great memories I made on nights out, that I probably wouldn’t have made if I’d spent all my time caring about how I looked or how I was presenting myself or was perceived. A lot of my best memories were made, to put it bluntly, at times when everyone was passed the stage of giving a shit. Singing bad 80’s music in my college kitchen with my friends, piling into a cab for an impromptu 2:00 AM casino trip and nights that turned into mornings without any prior realization are the sorts of stories that cement friendships. They are, to steal a phrase from Matthew McConaughey’s Dazed and Confused character, L-I-V-I-N at its finest.
And other nights? The reasons were far less salacious, but no less regrettable. Maybe I went home early because I had a big hike planned for Saturday morning or was driving two hours or simply needed some sleep. I don’t look at any of them as failures. If you happen to find someone to take home, well great, that’s a happy surprise, but I suspect that on a majority of nights, the majority of us don’t, so why the pressure?
I’m not sure they bought it, but I stand by what I said. For the time being, I’m perfectly fine starting and ending a night out alone if that’s what ends up happening, although perhaps I should drop the Wawa habit before it turns into an alone-forever thing.