One of the few advantages of co-parenting, and trust me when I tell you that there are not many, is that two nights a week when Cygnet stays with his Dad I can go out without having to fork out for a babysitter.
In reality, I work late on one of those nights and by the time I finish work I am too tired to do anything other than sit on the sofa and drink wine. On the other night, I always make sure I go out. Just because I can.
Tonight came round very quickly and I hadn’t made plans. My delightful ex collected my son at 6pm and I was left in my flat on my own.
Although a plan is clearly better, not having a plan has never stopped me from going out before. I put my hair up, painted on some red lipstick to hide the fact that I hadn’t changed out of my scruffy jeans or plain black t-shirt and left the flat with my laptop. I would go to one of my local bars, order a glass of Prosecco and write a blog post, just as I have many a time before.
Except tonight was different.
I peered into the local pub and it was full of large groups of people laughing and chatting. I felt self conscious and conspicuous sitting on my own in front of my laptop. I decided against it.
I walked passed the local gin bar (and an excellent gin bar it is too). I planned to sit at the bar with my laptop and a large Hendricks and tonic (always Fever Tree). But this evening the tables around the bar were candlelit and occupied by dating couples. Again I felt too self conscious and I didn’t go in.
I went to the local Italian restaurant where I have been known to occupy a table by the window, order a penne arrabiata and read my book. But this evening it was full of families, of groups of friends, and of work colleagues having an early evening meal. Again I didn’t have the confidence to go in.
In the end I walked to Waitrose. Red lipstick is not my normal supermarket attire and the man who serves me my daily free coffee noticed and smiled. Again, Jesus, I felt self conscious.
I walked round Waitrose, picked up some sushi, a yoghurt, some grapes, and decided to buy myself a bunch of flowers with the money that I was going to save by not buying Hendricks or Prosecco.
I am now sitting at home. I have eaten my sushi, my yoghurt and some grapes. My flowers are in a vase on the side board and I am drinking wine whilst writing this blog post.
I sure hope this crisis of confidence doesn’t last long.