I know that this blog post is late. I’m actually kind of glad it is, in a way, or else it would not have fallen on International Women’s Day. I was originally going to talk about the night I went out for some drinks on my own a couple of weeks ago, but now I can write the same post in relation to the daily struggle and celebration that is being a woman.
So, a couple of weeks ago, I had an afternoon and the following day off work. This is a rare occurrence for me, who currently works two jobs about six or seven days a week (my record is 57 hours in one week, which was pretty hellish). I, of course, wanted to take advantage of this fact and wanted to go out. I had previously made plans with my housemates, my pole friends and my brother, but one by one these all fell through – leaving me fully dressed and made up, slightly tipsy and refreshing the uber app in my kitchen at 1:30am while waiting for the price surge to fuck off.
I could have just given up and got into pyjamas, beginning the inevitable RuPaul and/or Grace and Frankie Netflix binge (see my post about the best show of recent times – https://thebechdelbitchblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/28/grace-and-frankie-review-2/ ), but something stopped me.
I don’t know whether it was the conversation with my recently-single colleague about going out for drinks by yourself, or perhaps the fact that I hadn’t been out for ages, or the fact that I felt an obligation to experience something new, but something kept me refreshing my phone and downing my beer until, at last, I was alone in an uber heading towards Subside, Birmingham’s resident grimy rock bar.
In honour of International Women’s Day, I would like to take this time to point out how privileged I am. Yes, there is still the fear of going out alone as a woman in Western society, of course there is, but the fear of being hit on, of some guy giving you creepy eyes across a room until you are forced to just pick up your things and leave, is nothing compared to what women all over the world face. To be allowed to leave my house alone, to have the choice to go to a bar and order a drink without fear of arrest or disownment or worse – is something so many of us take for granted. And while I want to continue to write about this phenomenon in this blog post as something of a personal achievement, overcoming anxiety and experiencing new things, I am fully aware of how tiny this achievement is when compared to the greater struggles women all over the world face.
That being said, to go out alone as a woman anywhere is something to be celebrated. It’s a ‘fuck you’ to everyone who says that a single woman is unlovable and unwanted. To everyone who thinks women should always be careful and on the alert, to the extent that they can’t have any fun.
I felt all of this and more as I stepped into Subside, immediately buying myself a pint and looking around. There were a couple of people I knew there but no one I talked to for long. I struck up some conversations with bartenders and drunk people, garnering myself another free pint in the process. I gained confidence as the night went on (and yes, as I drank more), managing to approach a whole new group of people and introducing myself to them all. For someone who has suffered a lot from social anxiety in the past, this is a pretty big deal for me. By the end of the night, I had started a dance party on the stage (and ballroom danced with a guy dressed as the singer from Ghost – which isn’t really relevant to this whole night of self-love and acceptance but hey, it was pretty cool).
Being alone isn’t always something I’ve been comfortable with. It doesn’t come naturally after the years of self-loathing and loneliness which dominated my teenage years. But it’s something that, when I force myself to do it, I find incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. On International Women’s Day today, I encourage you to take the time out to make yourself happy on your own terms. Even if it’s as cliché as having a bubble bath and moisturising, take the time out to fulfil your own needs.
In the immortal words of Cyndi Lauper, “Some boys take a beautiful girl and hide her away from the rest of the world/ I wanna be the one to walk in the sun, oh girls just wanna have fun”
Have fun girls!
Until next time,
The Bechdel Bitch xxx