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I chose a spin class, because it's dark and I feel fairly comfortable on a bike.

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I had another glass of wine, and another — my being alone at the bar resulted in some extremely attentive service — and pretty soon I was making pleasant conversation with strangers and thinking I probably should have eaten hours ago.Yet, when I go out to dinner, I usually have a companion, or several. My out-in-the-world free time tends to be about maximizing socialization, so if I'm out having fun, I'm probably not alone. Sometimes, being alone in the pursuit of activities usually done with a companion — as a woman in particular — can seem a bit, well, uncomfortable.When I head to the bar for a drink, it's because I'm meeting someone. As social scientist and author Bella De Paulo, who's done extensive research into the perceptions we hold of singles, told me, "When they are out and about, women in particular may feel safer when they are with other people.Many of them watched me in return, not always smiling.The height of the stoop lends a kind of power, though, regardless of how agreeable those below happen to be — you are the queen of your domain, which you survey — and the proximity to one's actual home is ideal.Things got a little bleary, but I recall scrawling my phone number on a receipt after the bartender requested it, paying my tab, and leaving, fairly happy with my experience.

That had not been so bad, until the headache the next morning, and the regret: Don't flirt with the bartender of your local establishment! Also, yes, this seemed to prove that the odds increase in being hit on (by your bartender) as a woman alone. I like to know what I'm doing and I like to look like I know what I'm doing, but in new situations, especially physical ones, this is nearly impossible.

So, while the varied and kooky-sounding classes at the gym sound intriguing, I am far more likely to stick with the familiar in a workout — unless I can get a friend to go with me and somehow ease the first-time anxiety because we'll both look like fools while trampoline-boot-kick-pilates-camping.

However, this exercise in doing things solo meant I had to at least some new form of exercise on my own.

In public, people feel less self-conscious when they are with other people than when they are alone." It's true, sometimes having a companion around feels a bit like wearing a seat belt: Less freeing, perhaps, but better for you and generally advisable.

At the same time, feeling dependent on another in order to do what you feel like doing in any given moment is far from empowering. Tired of being stuck in my inside rut, and inspired by De Paulo's words — "If you know that you can do things alone, that gives you a certain power " — I decided to embark on an experiment.

Eating alone is probably the alone-behavior I most eschew.