I’m proud of the fact that I’m very comfortable dining alone in any restaurant. Whether a casual outdoor lunch, a snazzy wine bar or a fancy “black or white napkin?” kind of place, I’m quite ok with dining alone. Sure, I’d rather have my husband sitting across the table from me, but he’s not with me on the majority of my business trips. While colleagues are with me on some of my trips, I’m a solo diner the majority of the time, and I am quite content with this.
What I’m not content with . . . and downright ticked with . . . is hearing these two words as I enter a restaurant: “Just one?”
These two little words, asked so innocently, really get my goat.
I’ve often wanted to respond to “Just one?” with:
- Yes, put me in the pity section please.
- No, a table for 3, please. Me, my book and I.
- I have my imaginary friend with me – you don’t see him?
- Where I come from, everyone eats alone. That’s how we live so long. I’m actually 125 years old.
- Yes, just one. My closest fifty friends ate at the early bird special.
- Yes, I couldn’t decide which husband to bring along so I brought neither.
I know the question isn’t meant to offend, but dining solo is one of the most uncomfortable situations for many women. These words just make it more uncomfortable. I walk away feeling that the host thinks I have no friends, or no special person in my life . . . that I’m a loser who can’t find anyone to dine with. I want to defend myself, to say that I’m proud to be so comfortable in my own skin that I don’t need a companion to complete me, that I do know how to order a great glass of wine all by myself, but it’s not worth it. They wouldn’t understand anyway, since they meant no harm in their little question.
How about we turn this little question into something more empowering (and create more raving fans for a restaurant): “A table in the successful women section?” “A table where you can see and be seen?” or “Table for one . . . let me take you to our preferred seating.”
Here’s a toast – to the power of one!