Dinner cruises, fine dining, cooking classes, cycling tours. Bangkok is brimming with activities marketed for couples, which can make the roughly one-in-three capital residents who are single like myself feel left out.
With the build toward Valentine’s Day’s fussing over flowers, right outfits, and ATK tests before sex, I felt the pressure to frantically slide into DMs and swipe right through my catalog of dating apps.
Instead, I set aside time to see what would happen if I took myself on a date, going undercover as a singleton in this couples-only world to see how it felt – and how I would be received.
For this, I slipped on some pink shades and a flowery shirt to signal I’m ready for a day with me, myself and I.
The most social interaction I had was asking randos to occasionally snap a photo of me for this report.
SNAP SOME BRUNCH
If social media has taught me anything, dessert cafes are filled with couples producing endless selfies. Could a lone foodie just relish some sweet sugary treats without the likes and follows?
I made my way to Gump’s Ari for some blood sugar before embarking on more exciting activities. This picturesque community space, like many spread throughout Bangkok and beyond, provides picturesque spots (and even a photobooth) as well as tons of desserts and drinks.
Here, in a country where most romantic days are spent literally spending on restaurants, hotels, transportation, jewelry, dessert cafe boyfriends order the biggest sundaes imaginable.
As expected, many couples were already scrambling into every corner for the same perfect photos. Boyfriends take snaps from all angles while girls repeat their rehearsed sets of poses before the next pair take their place to do the same.
In other words, I was already feeling better about being single.
Verdict: No one should fear the FOMO at dessert cafes. Quite the opposite. Get high on sugar and be happy you’re not trapped on the social media treadmill.
MARVEL AT ART EXHIBITIONS
Hip partners are into art exhibitions, where they can spend the day looking at things beside their phones while still keeping interaction to a minimum.
Could I do it alone? I set out in the last few days of the annual Bangkok Design Week, when creatives take over spaces throughout the city to share their “design thinking” potential in artsy and imaginative ways.
Over at CentralwOrld is a bright, pastel-colored photo landmark designed by lovey dovey illustrator duo Sundae Kids.
For those unfamiliar, the artist couple is hugely popular for their comic style and ability to capture moments most couples go through, whether taken from personal experiences or movies. In other words, Sundae Kids is incredibly popular with Thai millennials.
At the mall, they’ve outdone themselves with a multi-story monument to a cute couple doing sappy, coupley things.
And couples there were. They swarmed through each floor, gazing at posters filled with saccharine sentiments such as “I wish I could give you a big hug” to “Lift each other up.”
But there was a little inspiration for those unpartnered such as me, whose own couple memories are fading with the distance of time.
“Leave the past behind.”
“Love yourself a little more everyday.”
Verdict: It’s rather enjoyable to admire art alone, at least to this introvert at heart. Plus, most shows aren’t laser-focused on love to amplify those super lonely feels.
Decision time. Head to the gym to work on my single physique, or head to a happy hour sesh of mini golf and brewskis at The Turn BKK in Phra Khanong? I think you know where this is heading.
Tucked inside the little alley that is Soi Sukhumvit 44/1, I stepped inside to be surprised by just how much green there was. And not a couple in sight!
Peace and quiet. For just THB300, I gain unlimited drinks and rounds. Off I went with my putter to drink, and to golf.
After one full game, a group of mini-golfers came in. They appeared to be a gang of friends – all platonic. Such lovely company; I did feel a stab of loneliness. For some friends to make merry with.
Verdict: Swing and a miss. While golfing was reasonably enjoyable alone, nothing can beat the company of others for some competitive putting.
Brain appeal – Because knowledge is sexy, or something like that
After the mini golf left me a little down on the solo life, I thought of something to do where I might meet someone – but still unconventional. Could flexing my knowledge on general trivia from which cities have hosted the Winter Olympics to songs themed around directions lead to love?
Because nothing could be sexier than knowing what year St. Moritz hosted a celebrated sporting event.
Screw fine dining, pub grub would do just fine too. And who needs speed dating? I could just approach like-minded individuals sharing an interest in facts such as potato milk’s viability as the new milk or the difference between gibe and jibe.
Verdict: Although it turned out that pub quizzing would not sail my ‘ship, I must also admit that it’s a pretty poor single’s activity if you want the points necessary to feel good about your fun facts.