Every time I walk up to the hostess stand in a restaurant by myself, I cause panic and evoke pity and confusion.
I get that inquisitive look, the furtive glance in all directions, desperately hoping that if they just look past my shoulder long and hard enough someone might magically appear to join me,
and then the hesitantly-posed question…
“Table for………………(long pause)……………one?”
Try it, you’ll not only like it, you’ll looooooove it!
Once a month I go out to dinner by myself. I belong to a Quilt Guild (fancy word for “club”!) that meets every 2nd Tuesday night of the month, at 7 pm, and my darling husband tries his best to get home as early as possible and insists I go out, run some errands and go out to dinner before my meeting.
It’s heavenly. It’s my night. It’s my time. I do a little shopping…usually for those not-so-glamorous items like Windex and paper towels, but it’s done at my pace. And I find that I can run in and out of 3-5 stores within the span of an hour when I’m alone.
(It’s a completely different story when you’re unbuckling a 4 year old from her car seat, finding a shopping cart to put her in, racking your brain for creative ways to avoid the inevitable meltdown because you’re 30 minutes from home and she usually eats lunch now…You know.)
The shopping part of the evening is great because I cross things off my list.
But the dinner…ah, the dinner…that is all for me…
I go to a local Mexican restaurant because I love Mexican food and my hubby likes it ok but would never go to a restaurant to eat it. I sit at a small table tucked away from the hubbub. I order a Pacifico beer with a lime. The waiter/ress brings me a bowl of chips and a bowl of salsa. I take my book out of my purse. I take my cheater eyeglasses out of my purse. I turn to the page in the my book where I left off. I get transported to another time and place and feel everything melt away…
You need to try it. Whether you bring a book, a magazine or your phone so you can surf the net, it is so rewarding to be alone, with your thoughts or away from your thoughts, at your leisure, with no demands on time, attention, or you!
Do not be afraid! It is not odd to eat alone. When I was in college I spent many years supplementing my college loans with money from waitressing jobs. I saw many a person come in to a restaurant and ask for a table for one. And I always found my conversations with them to be most interesting.
Someone eating alone doesn’t automatically mean that they have a sad story. That nobody wants to be with them. That they don’t want to be with anyone. That they have no friends or loved ones….
Most likely they’re surrounded 24-7 and are just itching for some reprieve!