Shelley Widhalm

Archive for the ‘Going out’ Category

Bar Hopping it Alone

In Going out, Rejection, Shyness, Talking on July 3, 2011 at 7:00 am

I took my broken heart to the bar on Friday night.

A few months ago, I begged out of my challenge to go to a bar by myself, believing it would make me extremely uncomfortable to stand around alone with my rum and Coke.

What led me to go it alone is my big disappointment a week ago. I had reconnected with an old boyfriend, or whatever he was at the time. But when he came to visit a decade-plus later, he made it quite obvious that in his eyes, I was very, very boring and not very fun to look at – he kept wearing his stupid sunglasses and if not, he’d look everywhere but at me.

But enough about him, because I don’t want to go on and on about what is not.

Anyway, I gave my bar visit one hour.

I bought a drink at this big-city ultralounge in the small city where I live. Tad, the owner of the bar, was at the deejay booth, so I put in a request for Lady Gaga.

I knew Tad from a work-related interview about his new bar concept, so I felt comfortable enough to tell him about my blog challenge. He introduced me to three twenty-something men playing pool. I said “hi” and stood there, waiting to be overcome by brilliant conversation on theirs or my part.

When it didn’t happen, I scurried across the dance floor and up a flight of steps to a sitting area with box-shaped chairs with no backs. I felt like a dork sitting ergonomically correct with my drink. I looked at my glow stick-lighted watch. I had made it 20 whole minutes.

“I can do this,” I said to myself. I took a tour of the bar, though I already knew what it looked like from the interview, and returned to the deejay booth to request another song by Lords of Acid.

And then a drunk but handsome man offered to buy me a drink. I accepted and tried to hold a conversation with him as he swayed and slurred. Drunk number 2, short but cute, came and chatted me up. I started to feel like the drunk guy magnet. Come and talk to the shy girl. And they did.

Between chatting up drunks and talking to Tad, I ended up staying at the bar for 3 ½ hours until close. I guess it was because I was having fun. I had done something I hadn’t wanted to do (go to a big, scary bar all by myself) and I got through it. Plus, I got complimented enough that it started to negate my awful weekend with Mr. Wishy Washy.

Next challenge: start a conversation with a handsome man (sans ring) in a bar. However, if I get the sense that I’m boring him like I did Mr. WW, then I can take a tour of the bar and not let me ego get trampled on along the way.

Girl with Dog

In Best Friends, Coffee shops, Going on walks, Going out, Shyness on March 6, 2011 at 8:55 am

I have become known as the girl with dog, at least in the small city where I live. I have a few acquaintances, some from my job as a journalist, and run into them at coffee shops, restaurants and downtown. If I’m dressed casual after normal work hours and don’t have my miniature dachshund, Zoey, with me, they ask, “Where’s your dog?” It’s like we’re a unit, my 9-pound best friend and I.

Our hanging out together during after-work hours started with a conflict of interest. Being a single girl for a couple of decades (with boyfriends thrown in here and there), I got used to doing what I want in my free time. And then I adopted a dog with needs, particularly for going on walks, getting pets and being social.

As a coffee shop lover, I started taking my squirmy dog with me to a downtown coffee shop, so that I could read and satisfy her needs for getting attention. At first, she didn’t want to be a lapdog, but after a few weeks, she learned that it was a compromise – she sits on my lap and people come up to us and want to pet her.

I take her to open houses and events that allow dogs and into shops that do the same. The result – when I am sans dog, it’s like I’m missing my purse. I run into people who ask that question, where is she?

Zoey, too, loves our regular coffee shop. When we’re actually trying to take a walk and pass the shop, she pulls me to the door and scratches on the glass, as if saying, “Let me in!” “The shop is closed,” I tell her. “We can come back tomorrow.” Scratch. Scratch.

I feel bad for her, my friendly girl who wants to go inside for attention, a free bone and some love.

My challenge next week is to ask someone out for coffee who I normally would not, because I would tell myself, I’m too shy. I just might bring my dog, too.

The still small voice of childhood

In Alone, Challenge delay, Going out on February 13, 2011 at 10:45 am

Again, I didn’t fulfill my challenge this week to go to a nightclub by myself. As boring as it may sound, I had my pajamas on after visiting an art show in downtown, and thought, “Oh yeah, my plan.” I was curled up with a book and my dog on my lap. No way was I going back out.

On Saturday night, I didn’t feel good. I think I might have eaten gluten, something I’m not supposed to have because I’m gluten intolerant. In essence, I had an excuse, albeit a lousy one.

After talking with my mom, I realized that the challenge is too big of a step at this point in trying to finish overcoming my shyness, if such a thing is ever possible. I am putting off the nightclub visit until this summer.

Another reason for not wanting to go the club is I like dressing up to go out, and this winter, it’s been cold, sweater weather. When I was in my twenties and into my thirties, I did go clubbing with friends and wore short skirts out, even in the winter months. But now, I feel old and not so adventurous – though that former wild side remains, albeit in a crumbled ball of want in a small corner of my soul, like a piece of paper with long forgotten memories trying to unfold.

I went clubbing then as part of a group, not having to brave it alone. But it’s been awhile since I’ve been in a club like that. I’m not flying solo, however. I notice the same thing happening to my friends, especially those who are married and have children. That wildness leaves for calmer activities, like getting dinner or going for coffee.

Does anyone miss that need to be crazy, if only for a Friday or Saturday night? Is it like missing being a child when you’re an adult, wanting to run and scream and swing or slide in a playground?

My challenge for next week is to do something that makes me feel young again, even if it’s only for a few minutes, to remember how it felt to be my whole real self without a side hidden away because I’m an adult.