A girlfriend and I were recently talking about our plans for the weekend.  I asked her what she had on her agenda.  She replied dispiritedly that because she didn’t have any dates lined up for the weekend  she would probably stay in.

Don’t get me wrong, staying home alone is one of my favorite things.  But that is a blog for another day :-).   However, I get where my girlfriend was coming from because I also enjoy spending special moments with a man out on a date.  There is something sweet about a man picking you up and, in a way, courting you.  He can take you for a night out at the movies, dinner, a play, a special concert or an event.  Or it can be a daytime thing that involves hiking, a picnic, sightseeing, a scenic drive or something else fun.  Day or night, the man’s goal is to show you a good time… not to mention share some  romantic moments of hand holding, subtle touching, eye contact and/or lip locking.

However, if there is no man at the moment… what is a girl to do?  It can get tougher as we get into our late 30s and older.  Every year, more and more of our  friends are getting married.  The pool of women you used to go out with continues to shrink.  And all of the sudden, you are stigmatized as one among the women that still can’t find a husband.   You and your status can quickly become the topic of conversation any where you go.  A date with a man shows that you are a least making progress. So more times than not, if you don’t have a date, you opt to stay home.

I submit that instead of staying home, that you date your girlfriends.  Now I am not suggesting that you start romantically dating women.  What I mean is you should grab one or more of your girlfriends and get out of the house.   You are probably thinking “I do go out with girlfriends”.  But I am talking about something different than a ‘girls night out’.  Why not stop making such a firm distinction between going out on a date with a man and going out with a girlfriend?  When we do make that distinction, we put off doing many things that we really would enjoy, like attending a black tie affair.   We single ladies often save the plus one to that special occasion for a man.  And many of us reserve our date nights… Thursday, Friday and Saturdays…  for men.  We do this because… well, that’s what we think we are supposed to do.   Often we feel so unaccomplished if when don’t have a man for at lease one of those date nights or special occasions, that we would rather hide at home than face the public.   That’s because for too many of us our self worth is greatly defined by a man’s affection for us.

Society is mostly to blame for this feeling.    Before we even enter preschool as children, we are conditioned to value the importance of the affection from the opposite sex… after all  Mickey Mouse had Minnie, Mulan had Shang, Shrek had Fiona and The Lady had the Tramp.    And as we continued to grow, we saw romantic love  celebrated in just about every movie, tv show or book we encountered.  So it is understandable that we feel deep disappointment  when we find ourselves without that type of love.

But we should not lose sight of the importance of non romantic love and relationships.  My girlfriends  get on my nerves sometimes, but I really do love them like family.   And medical studies show that spending time with friends is good for our health.  While so many men have come and gone, my girlfriends have been there for the highs, the lows and all of those little yet significant moments in between. Often we are so busy mourning the man that we wish we had, that we forget to appreciate and enjoy our friends.

You may not want to attend that black tie event, because everyone (including you) would expect for you to show up with a man, and you don’t have one.   Or you may feel a bit embarrassed to go out on a ‘date night’ and let the world see you don’t have a man.  But why not  stop worrying about what everyone else thinks and instead imagine how much fun you will have hanging with your BFF!  Life happens quickly.  We shouldn’t wait for a man to bring us flowers in order to ‘smell the roses’.  We have to do our best, everyday, to enjoy our lives right where we are.  So call up your girlfriends, get out your calenders and make a date!