A Woman On A Beach, Alone

Woman at the beach. Porto Covo, southwest coas...
Image via Wikipedia

There’s a new poster at Grand Central Station, the terminus for commuter trains into Manhattan, of a woman wrapped tightly in an orange towel.

It’s an ad for Hyatt, and it’s unusual for several reasons. It shows — counter-culturally — and to my delight:

— a woman alone

— a woman wrapped up in a towel

— a woman who is not a size 4

— a woman by herself on a deserted beach

— a woman who is not accompanied/validated by a husband, partner, gal pals or children

She is staring at the ocean. She’s lost in thought: no tech toys, no earbuds, no distractions. No fruity drinks with little paper umbrellas in them.

The photo shows us a woman comfortable in her own skin, in solitude.

It’s how I love to be, and many of us wish to try, but are perhaps too committed to others’ needs or too afraid of going somewhere all alone. What if it’s scary or dangerous or expensive?

For me, it’s a photo of a woman living her very own life.

Very cool.

14 thoughts on “A Woman On A Beach, Alone

  1. I remember the first time I sat in a fast food restaurant alone, eating dinner. Though I was uncomfortable at first, I found the experience liberating. Nowadays, I look for opportunities to get out and be alone. Getting older is a thrill for me, because of the independence it brings… well, at least as long as you have your health. ~ Lenore

    1. I’ve spent a lot of time alone, eating, seeing shows, traveling. I really enjoy it, but I think many women do not. Not sure why.

      Once you see how great it can be — with something good to read for company — it’s hard to believe it was once intimidating.

  2. It is empowering and exhilarating to know you are self sufficient and capable of surviving strictly on your own. But how do you make room in your life for another when you are totally self contained?

    1. That’s the challenge!

      I’ve been with my guy for 11 years, sharing a 1 bdrm apartment where I work (hello, no private space!!!) — but we are able to give one another plenty of room. We’ve each gone off on individual vacations (I went to England, Malta and Tunisia alone for 3 weeks in June 2003) and each value our privacy and downtime as much as we enjoy one another’s company. I suspect it’s making sure you don’t get too OCD about how your LIfe Must Be (so there is room for someone in it) but finding someone who doesn’t suck the air from your lungs…

  3. Cheryl

    So why did I (blankety blank)immediately jump to “ah, she’s all alone”. I need to work on that! I think a good number of my gal pals need to do the same. If we don’t change our own outlook on social steriotype of the woman on her own …, how will others? So many women I know in this latter stage in my life define themselves by who is still coming around to be with them. Che

    1. Interesting.

      I was alone for a lot of my life…I lived alone for most of my 20s (lived 3 years with one guy); married briefly in my mid-30s then lived alone again from 1994 to 2001 when my sweetie moved in. And I had no boyfriend for about three of those (lonely) years. I enjoy my own company, have lots of friends and interests and have never felt the need to have someone around all the time to shore up my sense of self. Maybe others are just less comfortable being alone.

      For me, “woman alone” connotes power, independence, autonomy, choice, plenty of community she is part of — but chooses solitude when it suits her…NOT “lonely, unloved, desperate, can’t find a partner.”

  4. ladyberrington

    I was in NY for my first time about a month ago
    and absolutley LOVED my week there.
    My face must have been glowing cuz I had so many people just stop to talk to me.
    Your noticing of this poster(and blogging it) reminded me, once again, of what a fab time I had there.
    I didn’t wear a watch and might have asked for the time 10x the entire week. It was about me and where/what I wanted to do.
    Although yes there were a few times I kinda wished someone was with me…more often it was the other way.

    I love NY and NY loved me!

    1. NYC, like many other big cities, is a blast for a solo female traveler. I’ve lived here since 1989 and often explore it alone. I usually sit at the bar to eat and get into fun conversations there.

  5. jacquelincangro

    I think this is great. It debunks the myth that being alone means being lonely.

    I’ve traveled a few times by myself and I find it can be very resorative. It’s nice to be able to follow your own interests. (Maybe your usual travel partner isn’t into art or beaches or kayaking… whatever the case may be.)

    1. My guy is much less into the city than I am, so I often have to go in alone to get my city fix. I’d rather enjoy it alone and come home happy than stay home and feel resentful.

  6. Some women who don’t enjoy being alone lack the confidence and self-assurance that loners possess. With a toddler at home, I have to fight for my time alone but it is worth it! This time gives us an opportunity to go on our own paths, without having to succumb to what others want or expect us to do.

    Thanks for the post!

  7. Interesting point…I suspect I know some unusually independent women (no hubby or kids, even at midlife or beyond.) I also think it makes a difference if you have strong friendships; male or female romantic attention becomes less potent.

  8. Yes I know I am waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay behind in reading all the blogs I subscribe to. But here I am 🙂
    LOVE this post Caitlin. I have grown into appreciating my independence, but have never been afraid to do anything alone. I love being with others, yet I also love time to myself.

  9. Oh yes, I forgot. I went to NY a few times years ago when I had cousins living in Jamestown, Long Island. They would take me to the train in the morning and I would go into Manhattan on my own. Loved it and the adventure. I found people friendly and helpful.
    Would love to get back there for a visit some day. No, my cousins not longer live there.

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