I have never been to the pub by myself. Not once. Ever. When I read about this months session from Nate at Booze Beats and Bites, I decided it was time to take the plunge.
I set a plan. Drive home from work, go to the local newsagents, buy a paper, and then go and park up in the pub round the corner from home
The thought of a solo pub visit terrified me.
What if there wasn't a seat free? This would wreck the plan of reading the paper: holding a pint and a paper whilst standing it logistically complicated. Then, this would lead to standing in a busy pub with nothing there to make me look "busy". This would invite conversation.
Conversation. That's not so bad is it? Of course not. But I'm ridiculously shy with people I don't know. Lacking in self confidence, is somewhat of an understatement. Get to know me and you can't shut me up. But tackling a conversation with a stranger without back-up... grim. I'm notoriously literal, and can't always tell if someone is joking or not. Invariably this leads to me feeling a bit dense
Then there is the fear of the slightly lecherous inebriated bloke, making lewd remarks. Never happens when you have a 6'2 bloke in tow. Not that there is an expectation for blokes to be lecherous over me of course... it has been a rare occurrence, but still one that fills me with a sense of impending doom.
After deciding the plan, I realised I was talking myself out of it. The excuses were abundant. Housework in urgent need of completion. Tea that needed cooking. Put it off until tomorrow. Or next week. Or don't bother, write a post about drinking beer along at home. At one point I'd decided I was going to Costa Coffee and could just pretend that I'd been to a pub.
I didn't, I sucked it up and went.
So, there I was, paper in hand, approaching the door. No sweaty palms, just a quiet resolve to get it over and done with. Entered the pub, and relief! It was practically empty. There were seats! In fact, it was so empty that on my arrival, the one person at the bar joked that he was leaving now the crowds were rushing in. I bought a pint, and searched for the darkest deepest corner to sit in. Nobody spoke to me, and there were no lewd remarks from inebriated blokes. There were definitely eyes on me, questioning why a young female, who is a very rare customer in this particular pub, was there by herself, and having a whole pint, no less, of beer. Made me feel self conscious a bit.
The outcome, was a partly enjoyed experience. I got to read the paper, a rare treat. However, I'd have preferred to do this at home, where social convention of feet on chairs and pyjama wearing, are all entirely acceptable. Where music being played is my own choice. Where there is a zero chance of the atmosphere changing and paper-reading becoming impossible. Would I do it again? Maybe. If I had an hour to kill somewhere before meeting someone/catching a train, then yes. But I wouldn't go out of my way.
For me, a trip down the pub is all about being with friends. I might have the odd beer at home on my tod, in my PJs watching reruns of CSI. But it is the odd beer, and I'd prefer to do it entirely alone than in the company of total strangers.