Newly Single & Scoping On The Bar Scene: How To Know If You’re Ready Or You're Not

by Mara Siegler · July 26, 2011

You’ve spent weeks crying everywhere:  the bathroom at the office, at dinners, in the shower, in the bathtub and into your oatmeal (both being activities that are signs of self-pity), while listening to that same Adele song, the one that you just know was written for and about you, but it’s finally time. It’s time to hit the bar and at least attempt to meet someone new.

Depending on how long you were with someone and how serious you were about them the level of difficulty varies, but it’s always difficult. You may have lost your ability to flirt, be open, be intimate, let down your walls if even for a second. You’re rusty. You’re damaged. You are merely a hollow, numb shell. You may not be ready, but tonight’s as good as any. Distraction or a genuine attempt to move on, you have to push yourself sometimes. But you still need to be aware if you are really ready or just faking it.

Ready: You went out and got your hair cut, changed your appearance in some way you feel is drastic. Inner equals outer change! It' so simple.  You have a new dress, a new pair of sneakers, or a hat. You are now officially in 'hat phase," and you feel good. You get ready to blaring music. Maybe you dance a little bit while checking yourself out in the mirror. Oh yeah. You’re hot, you’re a tiger, you’re ready to prowl.  You check your OKCupid/ profile to pump yourself up.  You can’t wait to hit the town and meet someone in the flesh. It’s been too long. Freedom calls and it’s the call of the wild.

Not Ready: Getting ready is hard. Leaving your apartment is hard. You are still deeply depressed, your wearing the same shirt you have been donning day and night, a white tank top with a stain here and there, and oh shit, you just spilled your coffee, there. You may not have showered in a few days. What’s the point? What’s the point of anything you may ask yourself when the person you are in love with, your soul mate, is off…oh god, you feel sick. You don’t even want to think about it. But you do. You Twitter stalk, you Facebook stalk. You look at the clock and realize you are late to meet everyone out at the bar. You’re friends are making you do this and you feel bitter. You’re so deep in it that having them try to help and support you feels like you’re the one doing them the favor.

Ready: It’s so great. You’re out with your friends. You’ve seen them but not as much and not in this context for a while-the context in which you get shitfaced and your sole aim is to make out with someone, behave badly. For the past (insert X amount of time) you’ve merely been an innocent bystander as they’ve worked their magic, or only enjoyed the rare designated "Girls/Guys Night." Maybe you’ve forgotten how much fun this was, how great they are, how much they make you laugh. You’ve missed so much but you are ready to make up for all that lost time tonight. Right now.

Not Ready: Damn it, you've been here five minutes and you are already crying. If you’d bothered to put on or wear make-up  it would have been ruined. Your friends are telling you to suck it up, that you need therapy, that you will be fine, that he/she was a dick anyway. That you’ll get through this and be better, find someone better. It all just sounds like background static. You’re too busy thinking about what you will say or do if you see your ex out. Should you ignore them, act like you don’t care, tell them everything you’ve been thinking, how they crushed you?  Ask them all the things that are left like hanging threads, scream why didn’t you love me in their face, or will you just shattered into a million glass pieces at their feet?

Ready: You are having the best time. That person is hot. That one is hot. So is that one. You tip back another shot. Man, you have been missing out. This city is full of sooooo many good looking people. You like that tall one’s tattoo. That blond has been looking at you all night. God, you haven’t had good sex in so long. You need it. You can taste the heat and the tension in the back of your throat, slightly metallic with anticipation. It’s on. You are on your fifth drink and feel fantastic. They are coming over, they are talking to you, omg, they are so great, so cool, so everything your ex was not. You’re having more fun than you have in weeks, shit, months. OMG, years! You’re back from the dark side. You feel awake and alive. It’s time to hit the dance floor!

Not Ready: You are having the worst time.  It’s loud, it’s noisy, it’s so crowded. How did you used to think this was fun? These people are dbags and whores. You take a shot and attempt to scope the crowd. The people here are superficial and terrible. Here is where X marks the desperation and it’s palpable. You could almost swallow it if your own sense of pathetic sadness wasn’t stuck in your throat. Everyone seems false and conversation seems forced. You’re being hit on. Badly. You don’t care how much money this person makes. You don’t want to see pictures of their dog on their iPhone. You want to tell them they’re a terrible human being, but you don’t. Instead you just drink more. You half smile at their joke. You just want to be home in bed with Tasti D and Law & Order. You can’t even muster the strength to fake it. You feel like you may never smile again. Man, you need to try harder. Or maybe just get even more drunk.

Ready: You’re wasted. You're making out on the dance floor to some song. You don’t know what it is but it’s your new favorite. This feels good. Yes! Yes, you want to get out of here. Your place. Or maybe theirs. Which one is closer? Is the cab driver watching? Who cares! You’re there, you’re groping on the stairs, in the hallway, and now you are in bed and all you are thinking is, I want this. You forgot how good this can feel, that intense cant keep their hands off you wanted, hands grabbing and grasping at every inch needed. And vice versa. You don't think of your ex at all. You haven't thought about them all night.

Not Ready: You're wasted. You're making out on the dance floor to some song. You don't know what it is, maybe Chris Brown, but it's horrible. Or maybe the person eating your face, just slobbering all over it, is the problem. Do you want to get out of here? Yes! With this person. No!  But, wait, why not? Maybe this is part of the process? Maybe it will in some way jump start you on the road to broken heart recovery? Get off me, the cab driver is watching. They are prodding you, poking you, ouch, that body part is not supposed to be handle that way.  Wait did they just say what you think they said? This isn't working. They're kind of freaking you out.  You get out, you go home, you look through old pictures of you and your ex. You were so happy. You drunk text them. Three times. Then cry yourself to sleep and think, maybe I should have gone home with that guy/girl? I shouldn't have texted. Next time I'll do better. Next time, I'll be over everything. Maybe I'll just text them one more time...