A few weeks ago, I went out for a second time with a tall, fit blonde-hair boy with dimples, and as I sat across him, sipping wine and nibbling a cheese plate, I only could conclude I was drunk on our first date.
Because otherwise, why in the world would I have agreed to go out with him again?
Now, forgive me for being critical (it wouldn’t be the first time someone suggested such a thing) – but there wasn’t anything wrong with him per se. Except that he was upset that I choose to sit at a table instead of the bar (since I arrived 5 minutes early and he arrived 10 minutes late, I got to take my pick). And that he spent the better portion of our date complaining about his job, and the last few minutes of our date laughing telling our handsome European waiter (who was interested in my work) that he doesn’t “read shit like mine.”
I escaped quickly after, and instead of taking the subway home, I decided to take advantage of the last leg of beautiful weather by walking two miles back to my apartment. The weather was just chilly enough for a sweater and I wrapped myself up, while turning to my (beloved) ‘It’s Out There’ playlist that I always listen to after a bad date or on the way to a date that I’m anxious about.
My taste in music -at best- is eclectic. I genuinely can give anything and everything a chance, but there are certain songs that I’ve listened to for years that I not only swear by, but that always make me feel better. Just like when I’m running on the East River or in Central Park, my playlist features a good beat, the songs on this collection are all empowering – without being (too) melodramatic or (completely) boy bashing.
I could, sure, make one full of why guys are so awful and why they continuously disappoint every female I know, but how would that be helpful? Doesn’t seem like a good idea to wallow when you’ve already had an evening of lackluster conversation and boring, trite discussions about someone you will truly never see again.
Instead, this list is about hope. And about celebrating freedom. And savoring possibility. Because while you will probably go on several more dates (maybe even 100 more) – if you stop opening up your heart (and only talk about the bad stuff) – then you’ll never find what it is you’re walking across town to find.
Before you judge any of my selections here (hey, it’s okay if you do!) – here’s the lyric or the reason that really makes me strong enough to book another date. (To listen, click below or here.)
‘Believer’ by American Authors
Lyric I Love: “I’m just a believer that things will get better. Some can take it or leave it, but I don’t wanna let it go.”
‘Dancing On My Own’ by Robyn
Reason I Love: There’s something really nice about walking (or driving) back from a crappy date and being able to celebrate ‘dancing on my own’ in the middle of the East Village…
‘Indestructible’ by Robyn
Lyric I Love: “I’m going to love you like I’ve never been hurt before. I’m going to love you like an indestructible.” Never give up!
‘Roar’ by Katy Perry
Reason I Love: Not sure it needs too much explaining considering my last name (yep, lame, I know). But it’s also empowering to say ‘I’ve had enough’ and to stop settling for someone not worth your time.
‘Rescue’ by Yuna
Lyric I Love: “She looks into the sky and all her tears are dry she kiss her fears goodbye. She’s gonna be alright. Things were bad. It was beyond repair. She was scared, she couldn’t handle it. Things were bad, but now she’s glad. Can’t you tell that she’s walking on air? Yeah, she’s got light in her face, she don’t need no rescuing, she’s okay. Yeah, she’s got life in her veins, she don’t need no rescuing, she’s okay.”
‘All About the Bass’ by Meghan Trainor
Reason I Love: If somebody’s gonna love me, he’s gonna love all of me.
‘You Make My Dreams Come True’ by Daryl Hall and John Oates
Reason I Love: Because there is going to be a man out there who feels that way about me. (And you!)
‘Girl On Fire’ by Alicia Keys
Reason I Love: Because it reminds me that my world is on fire and there is always something really amazing the corner.
‘Here I Go Again’ by Whitesnake
Reason I Love: Because every empowering bad date playlist needs something cliche and dramatic. (And now, ‘I ain’t wastin’ no more time’ either.)
‘Somebody Loves You’ by Betty Who
Reason I Love: It’s a good reminder that you have so many people who love you – and yes, there will be one who wants to wake up with you every day.
‘Shake it Out’ by Florence & the Machine
Lyric I Love: ‘And I’ve been a fool and I’ve been blind. I can never leave the past behind. I can see no way, I can see no way. I’m always dragging that horse around… Tonight I’m gonna bury that horse in the ground… But it’s always darkest before the dawn…”
‘The Show Goes On’ by Lupe Fiasco
Reason I Love: When I was unemployed a few years ago, this was my go-to jam to remind me that no matter how hard life gets or how frustrated I could be, the show goes on. It just keeps going.
‘Pumping Blood’ by NONONO
Reason I Love: Because if (when!) this blog is turned into a book and then turned into a movie (in my wildest dreams ever) – this will be the song. I hope it always reminds you that your heart is alive…
‘Shake it Off’ by Taylor Swift
Lyric I Love: ‘I stay out too late, got nothing in my brain. That’s what people say. That’s what people say. I go on too many dates, but I can’t get them to stay. At least that’s what people say. That’s what people say…”
‘Beautiful Day’ by U2
Lyric I Love: ‘What you don’t have you don’t need it now…”
‘I Lived’ by OneRepublic
Lyric I Love: The entire damn song is how I try to live my life every single day. And as much of an annoyance as it can be, dating is definitely part of the process.
‘Pretty Girl Rock’ by Keri Hilton
Reason I Love: He might have liked me, but I didn’t like him… onto the next one. And the pretty girl rock to follow all the way home…
‘Beating Heart’ by Ellie Goulding
Reason I Love: It’s a good reminder that your heart might be damaged or frustrated or fairly exhausted… but it’s still beating.
‘Believe’ by Cher
Reason I Love: Because CHER! Cher, you guys, Cher! She had it right all along.
‘Dear Future Husband’ by Meghan Trainor
Reason I Love: It’s basically the memo to whoever I marry…
‘Go Your Own Way’ by Fleetwood Mac
Lyric I Love: ‘You can go your own way. Go your own way. You can call it another lonely day. You can go your own way. Go your own way…”
‘Incredible Eyes’ by Ben Hartley
Reason I Love: In my dream world, this is what my next boyfriend sings to me while we lay naked in bed drinking champagne in the South of France…
‘Love Somebody’ by Maroon 5
Lyric I Love: ‘I know inside you’re feeling so hollow. And it’s a hard pill for you to swallow. But if I fall for you, I’ll never recover. If I fall for you, I’ll never be the same. I really want to love somebody. I really want to dance the night away…”
‘True Love Will Find You in the End’ by Daniel Johnson
Lyric I Love: The entire song… just listen.