Life Lessons

Table for One

dinner for one

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 poppy



Life Lessons

I Blame Shakespeare

The “rom-com” plot never changes: the pretty, but downtrodden, single woman gets saved by the rich, good looking, completely idealized man, whose only flaw is that it takes him a little while to figure out that he’s in love with her; then in the last ten minutes of the movie, he must race somewhere to find her and keep her from leaving town.

“Feel good movies,” that’s what they’re called.  But who feels good after seeing them?  Single women?  Like seeing this one movie is going to wash away past hurts and disappointments, bringing instead, inspiration and hope to carry on – and to believe – yes believe, that the exact same thing will happen for you because Mr. Right is just around the very next turn…

While channel surfing late one night, I realized this movie formula was well-established with 1950’s films like Sabrina, and the Doris Day comedies.  Who says that in order to have a happy ending, the couple must get together?

The BardShakespeare.  He’s the one.  All the comedies end with a wedding, just as all the tragedies end with a death.  We’ve had over four hundred years of conditioning!  But The Bard was wrong.  This is the new millennium and, back me up here ladies, in the real world the guy tells the girl that he doesn’t deserve her, that she’s going to be a great wife for some other lucky guy, blah, blah, blah, before leaving her with a few mementos and a broken heart.

So what’s a modern girl to do?

I muted the television and sat for a while in the darkness, only the blue glow of the screen lighting my way.  And in the solitude of my apartment, I figured it out.

It’s time to change the narrative.  You can’t expect or rely on another person for your happiness.  You have to find your own bliss.  A happy ending can be whatever you want it to poppy