You’re on your own. It’s late, you’re out, and you haven’t eaten dinner. You’re starvin’ like Marvin. What do you do?
A- Go home and eat a bowl of cereal, which is fine for breakfast but…remember you are very, very hungry.
B- Get take-out which will become cold and considerably less appealing by the time you sit down to eat it.
C- Resort to the fast food drive-thru window where you’ll be handed a paper bag full of calories, but lacking in nutrition.
D- Choose a respectable restaurant and have a proper meal.
My choice is D. I want a place setting, a menu, and some good food. Besides, dining alone is nothing to be ashamed of. Sure, it requires a certain confidence. But experience has taught me that this skill can be acquired.
In my twenties, I ate alone at the burger joints and coffee shops where nearly everyone eats alone. Anything beyond that was outside my comfort zone. By thirty, I’d mastered the art of reading a book or magazine while dining alone in upscale eateries. Nowadays, a smart phone and earbuds provide company at a table for one. But I no longer need props when eating out alone.
Recently, I went to one of my favorite restaurants on an uncharacteristically slow night. There were only a handful of people at the bar, and several tables remained empty. As I sat at the bar waiting for my meal to arrive, I chatted with the bartender, another single woman like myself.
What was her take on a table for one? Eating alone is not an urban phenomenon – the suburbanites do it too. Many more women eat alone than do men. She observed that men appear more self-conscious about being without a partner. From her vantage point behind the bar, she could tell that most people don’t even notice when someone is dining alone. It’s just not a big deal. Finally, she admitted that she enjoys eating alone because she finds it relaxing. I had to agree.