How to go to a concert by yourself when you’re socially awkward

There comes a time in every young woman’s life (or maybe just mine) when she wants to see a certain band but her friends are, for lack of a better term, lame and don’t want to. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go and head bang your face off.

So here’s a guide for the socially awkward to successfully attending a concert by yourself and surviving all the awkward moments and self-doubt when the beers are $8 and everyone is with someone.

Part I: Buy the ticket
– Selecting one ticket on can seem weird. It is weird. OK, it’s just downright unnatural. But remember, you want to go, it’s your friends who have the problem. I mean who doesn’t want to see [INSERT BAND HERE (unless it’s Justin Bieber)]??
– Resolve that you possess the pinnacle of fantastic music taste and buy the damn ticket.
– Remind yourself that this doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to die alone.

Part II: The morning of the concert
– Consider leaving the ticket at home while getting ready for work because leaving the ticket at home means you can’t go.
– Dwell all day on how awkward it will be. Just you, standing there, by yourself, one hand in your pocket and the other one anxiously texting anyone who will answer. Your life is an Alanis Morissette song a decade later.
– Decide you’re not going. No way. No how. Not happening. Because it’s raining and unlike Alanis it’s not your wedding day but it’s still a sign, right? It’s 10,000 spoons telling you not to go get a knife, or something. Sing “Ironic” in your head and decide Alanis has no idea what that word means.
– Decide not to decide not to go until later…

Part III: The three hours before the concert in between work and door opening
– Hang out at Starbucks playing on your iPad and drinking a triple espresso. Hey, the caffeine might make you brave! Let a few tears well up because you know that won’t work.
– Get too caffeinated to sit still. Fuck around in a book store, sit in the sun, slowly make your way towards the concert venue. It’s best not to rush oneself.
– Get close enough to the venue to check-in on FourSquare that way if you puss out and don’t go, it’ll look like you did.
– End up in front of the venue, ticket in hand, feeling like you might vomit up espresso.

Part IV: Half hour before the show
– Listen to the opening band’s first song from outside. Determine it’s bad, start to walk towards the subway to go home.
– Stop. Have a conversation with yourself while pretending to be texting and waiting for friends. Do you really want to do this? Do you really want to go home? You’re already here. You’ve come so far. You have a ticket.
– Answer yourself: Yes.
– Yell at yourself: If you go home now you are setting yourself up for a life of loneliness and misery. You’re going to end up an obese 50-year-old woman with two cats and a parakeet, who goes to work 9-5, Monday to Friday and otherwise doesn’t leave the house except for her weekly trip to the Farmer’s Market to buy artisanal tapenade, which is the highlight of her week.
– Make a mental note to find some artisanal tapenade.
– Resolve to go in. Walk up to security and let him check your bag. Make an awkward comment telling him you were waiting outside but your friends are already inside. Realize he doesn’t care. Also realize he doesn’t believe you. Blush. Go inside.

Part V: The opening band
– You’re in. Uh, now what? Beer. Yes, beer. Drop your ID instead of handing it to the guy giving out wristbands. Stand there paralyzed until he picks it up. Get a wristband.
– Go to the bar and buy an $8 can of Blue Moon.
– Stand around listening to the last few songs of the opening band chugging your overpriced alcohol pretending to text with your free hand. Do. Not. put it in your pocket. You will not be a statistic, Alanis.
– When the opening band ends go get another beer. This time opt for the $8 Coors Light 16 oz. It’s 4 more ounces than the Blue Moon and the same price. If you’re going to stand around being awkward you might as well be economical.
– Go back to your spot. Have some guy come up to you and say “My friends dared me to talk to a plump girl, so here I am.” Tell him he has a miniscule man part.
– Have a guy ask you which band you’re here to see. Make a sarcastic comment about how you’re here to see the first band because they were awe-some. The dude will look at you weird, realize it’s because he didn’t get your sarcasm because you were staring at your feet and picking at the hole in your jeans…like in a Taylor Swift song.
– Realize there’s no hope for you. You are Taylor Alanis Swift-Morissette. Deal with it.

Part VI: The headliner
– As the band starts find a spot where you can see and blend in with the crowd. Pick a spot behind two girls (women? you can’t tell) who look like they’re having a great effing time.
– Head nod to the first two songs.
– Hear the opening riff to the third song and know exactly what it is in an instant. Hear the girl in front of you say, “I love this song, I love this song! Why is the intro so long?”
– Before you can stop yourself or over think it say to the girl “They’re going to make you wait for it.” She will turn around and say, “AH! I can’t wait!”
– This is called making conversation and being friendly. Make note of that.
– As the show goes on make small talk with the two women (you know now they’re women in their 30s). Talk about all the times you’ve seen this band. Feel validated when one of them says they’re jealous you saw the band play one of their most celebrated albums front to back.
– When they ask you if you’re here alone, lie. Tell them you’re reviewing the concert. Feel bad about lying, but not really. When they ask what publication say the first thing that pops into your head. “Concerts Weekly.” Reallly? Concerts Weekly???
– Begin to feel comfortable with being alone even though you’re not technically alone anymore. You have “concert friends.” Dance with them.
– Feel good about yourself when one of the women tells you that you seem like a “fun girl.” You haven’t been called that since that time in college when you got drunk and decided to come out of your shell by joining your self-destructive roommate and her friends in a midnight skinny dip in the lake behind the bookstore in Buffalo…in October. Remember how you got a really nasty cold. Wonder if you’ll get another cold for being fun. Wonder if you should go home before you get that cold. Decide to go home.
– Decide to stay when your favorite song by this band comes on.
– One of the women will ask you if you want another beer. Say no thanks because taking free things from people feels awkward. Feel even more awkward when she pats you on the arms and give you a look that says “oh, you’re not 21 are you?” Feel supremely awkward because you’re almost 24 and everyone seems to think you’re 18.

Part VII: The encore and the end of the night
– Begin to edge your way to the door. Submit to an awkward hug from the women. When the band announces the last song stand on the edge of the crowd. Poke a dude with your phone by accident. Give him a look like “Who? Me?” Find a new spot
– When the show is over head for the exit, trip down the stairs.
– Find the subway, trip down those stairs.
– Go home. Slam your finger in your apartment building door.
– Go to bed thinking how proud you are that you went to a concert by yourself and that you weren’t too socially awkward. Realize you’re lying to yourself about the second part and sigh.

In case you’re interested, this is a play-by-play of what actually happened when I went to see Our Lady Peace (No, not a Jesus band, yes the ‘90s-early ‘00s alt-rockers from Canada) at Irving Plaza. They were great. And when all was said and done I’m glad I went…even if it took a process to get myself there.

One day I’ll grow up into a social butterfly. One day. (That’s probably a lie.)


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