Double Unicorn Rainbow Day At Don Carlos: Men Go To The Opera Solo, Just Like Women Do


You know when you see something that’s pretty rare it stops you in your tracks? It’s like a double rainbow, except even rarer than that. What you’re seeing is so out-of-character it feels like seeing a unicorn or even better a double unicorn! Like you thought it didn’t exist, like unicorns. When you see what you thought didn’t exist twice in the same day, it’s like seeing a double unicorn rainbow. 

Huh? You saw a unicorn? Pretty close. Possibly as close as I’ll ever get to seeing a unicorn.

Here’s what I saw at Don Carlos at Lyric Opera yesterday that amazed me: solo men at the opera. 

I’ve been using Hottix.org this year to get my tickets vs. a Lyric Opera subscription. I get awesome seats for the opera on the main floor at a price I can afford. To clarify, a Lyric Opera subscription leaves me sitting up in the heavens for a price I can afford. Using Hottix.org does mean that I never know where I’ll be seated until I pick up my ticket the day of the performance at the box office. 

In the shows I’ve seen this season using hottix.org, I’ve been seated next to solo female senior citizens. But not for Don Carlos. This time I was seated between two solo men. 

When I say solo, I mean, like me, the person is there on their own with no friend or partner/spouse there with them.

Solo female senior citizens are very normal to see at the opera.

Solo females in early middle age at the opera are pretty rare. This is me now. I’m 41 at the time of writing this post, and I don’t see many women my age alone at the opera or any other cultural experience. I do see them, but they are older than me. Closer to 50s and 60s.

Solo females under the age of forty is a double unicorn rainbow. That was me before I turned 40. I’ve been this person since I was 18 and in college. I had no one who liked to do what I liked to do, see live cultural events like operas, plays, ballets, musicals, symphonies and theater, so I went on my own. I would’ve rather seen the show, whatever show it was, on my own vs. having to miss the show because I had no one else who wanted to go with me.

It takes a double unicorn rainbow to recognize a double unicorn rainbow. Yesterday, I saw a double unicorn rainbow at Don Carlos

Side note: Don Carlos was excellent. I highly recommend you check it out if you’re in the Chicago area.

I was seated between two solo men at the opera yesterday. 

That may not sound like much. But that’s huge. If I had to guess, I’d say they were heterosexual. Super double unicorn rainbow. 

Let me explain if you’re lost. Most women wind up dragging their partner with them to the opera. It’s a double unicorn rainbow situation to see a straight man of any age at the opera alone. This would mean that they came on their own, AND they wanted to be there.

Don Carlos was long. It was the 5 act French version. This was the first time the 5 act French version had been performed at Lyric Opera. So, what I’m saying is that this performance would’ve attracted die-hard opera goers. 

In yesterday’s post, I talked about opera and compared it to running a marathon in your mind. That’s what Don Carlos was like. It was long. It was hard to attach to. You had to really be an opera lover to still be sitting there at the end of the show. A LOT of people left. The core fans stayed, but the non-core opera lovers got up and started leaving during the end of the third act in the first act, during intermission, and during acts 4 and 5 of the second half. These men-they stayed. Wow!

What it showed me was that there are men out there who go see cultural events without their wives or partners dragging them kicking and screaming and resisting to go see the show. For all I know, these men were married or had a partner, and they came on their own anyways because they wanted to be there to see the opera. That’s a very rare occurrence.

Because of stigmas around men and it not being culturally acceptable to do things that are perceived as “stuff women go to”, it was refreshing to see this double unicorn rainbow yesterday.

I go to the opera alone because my husband doesn’t want to go. I don’t want to miss the operas, so I go alone. I don’t push him. I’ve asked him if he’d like to go, and he shows no interest.  I’m ok with that. My husband has gone with me to some events like the symphonies and live theater and he enjoyed them. But he won’t try going to see a live opera. Again, I’m ok with that. I’d rather see a long opera like Don Carlos on my own without having to worry about the person next to me who came with me having a miserable time.

It was refreshing for me to see men in this light: appreciating a cultural event that is considered feminine. I wasn’t sure they existed. I never see them at the opera without a woman attached at their side, or a gay male partner. I’ve never looked for solo men in the past at shows because of an assumption I had in my head. I assumed the majority of men are sports-loving fans that go see football  and other sports games live or that they live and die on the Sunday football game or other sports games on TV. I’ve never been able to understand or connect with that sports-loving man (or woman for that matter). Truthfully, I see them as caveman-like. I don’t enjoy the love of watching team sports where people run into one another in a violent manner, or hit a ball with a bat or put a ball into a net. I made a generalization that all men are like this. In my mind, there were no culture loving men. Seeing this double unicorn rainbow seated on either side of me yesterday shattered my preconceived notions I had about men. They can enjoy cultural events too. It’s rare, but it exists.

What’s the opposite here? A solo female senior citizen at a football game or other sports event? I don’t know because I don’t know that world. I’m the generalization here-women don’t like sporting events. It’s true for me. I’ve attended them before and tried to get into it, and I fit the stereotype that sports are for men and that the arts are for women. 

I’d never looked for solo men at an opera before because I assumed they didn’t exist in that they had no interest in going. I love that I was proven wrong! It was refreshing to see them at the opera. I guess what I really wish is that the stereotype didn’t exist at all and that it was more common to see solo men at the arts. 

It’s good to be proven wrong because it shatters my stigmas and stereotypes that I have in my head. It shows me I have a long way to go and grow in my thinking. It shows me I still have much to learn. I love that I have a lot to learn. Learning keeps me going, keeps me alive, keeps me thinking, and keeps me on my toes. Yes, girl!

Let me know on the sports thing: do solo women go to live sporting events? Maybe I should try going to a sporting event solo. I’ve always gone with people in the past. Maybe I would appreciate the event and be able to focus on it more without the distraction of having someone there. Maybe I will be the double unicorn rainbow: a solo woman at a sporting event. Maybe I’ll shatter the stereotype and stigmas that are placed on women. 

Yes, I must do this. I will go on my own to some kind of live sporting event and give it a try. I’m hoping it’ll give me a better appreciation of team sports. I’m always distracted when I go with other people at sporting events because I have someone to talk to, and it’s acceptable to talk during the game. I never pay attention to the actual game, and usually focus on how bored I feel and wind up eating a bunch of junk food to pass the time until it’s over.

If you have suggestions for a live sporting event you’d recommend I try solo, let me know. I’d love to hear from you at sarathlete@hotmail.com. Let me know your recommendations.

Have a great weekend!

Sarathlete