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I Went to the Most Romantic City in the World, Alone

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an american in parisParis is a city for lovers, as every single book/movie/postcard/sentimental high school French teacher will tell you, but last Christmas I decided to go by myself. I wrote about this trip, and the challenges of being a dating writer who’s single, in an essay for The Hairpin’s An Experience Definitely Worth Allegedly Having, a Kindle Serial.

Nine out of ten times, when you tell someone you’re a dating writer, they say, “Oh, just like Carrie Bradshaw!” I have an annoying canned response to this (“Only with a much smaller shoe budget!”), which the other person will laugh at, out of politeness. What I don’t normally launch into (because who cares, really?) is that the real difference between me and the fictional protagonist of Sex and the City is that she spends most of her life either despairing about her relationship or despairing about her lack of one, while I’m pretty at peace with my single status. If you’ve got a job and you’ve got an apartment and you’ve got a friend and you’ve got dates, then you’re pretty much set. You don’t need a boyfriend for anything.

Except.

Except. When it comes to travel.

Because as much as I sing the praises of the lifestyle of the independent woman, and as much as I truly do not need some guy to put together my IKEA furniture or zip up a dress or visit my family at Christmas, when it comes to traveling in your twenties and thirties, a boyfriend is practically an economic necessity.

The idea of the lone traveler is romantic, sure, but the economic reality of traveling by yourself when you’re my age is daunting. Cost-wise, when traveling as a couple the only thing that gets multiplied by two is the plane ticket: you’ll obviously need two of those. But after that, each vacation expense is halved. Meals on the cheap are more cost-effective when sharing. Car rental is prohibitive on your own but affordable in pairs. A hotel room—the exact same hotel room that a single person would stay in—is half the price when there are two people per bed. The way travel pricing works, it makes sense that the animals on Noah’s ark went two by two—it was probably just cheaper to split a stall.

….so I went to Paris and fell madly in love with a dashing Frenchman!

No, no, but, I did go to Paris and it was fine and actually more than fine, and I would do it again, and I would also be a dating writer all over again, if I had to, even if it does mean fielding questions about Carrie Bradshaw ten times a day, it’s been a hell of a ride.

If you’d like, you can read the rest of the essay here (for $1.99, on your Kindle or Kindle app).