Table For One: What My Breakup Taught Me About Dining Alone

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woman Dining Alone
How my first solo dining experience helped me find myself again after a difficult breakup.

It all began when I was in New York City killing time before a business meeting. Having always loved dining out, I was happy to stumble upon an enticing-looking restaurant called the Banc Café. I walked in and requested a table for one — I was freshly out of a relationship, so this seemed like a bold move at the time. "It's just me," I said, standing vulnerably in front of the handsome host, wondering if he would label me as a desperate single girl. 

"Stop it, Diana, this is New York," I reminded myself. "People dine alone all the time here. You can do this! You're a single, secure, independent woman."

During this first post-breakup solo dining experience, I didn't have any of my "I am alone" armor — a newspaper, book, magazine or legal work. Things got especially tricky when I had to use the ladies' room (who watches your coat and handbag?) Still, I survived. I sent some text messages here and there and did some people-watching. I noticed the couple cozied up in the corner noshing on fried calamari, the single straggler at the bar enjoying his beer while watching a recap of the Yankee game, the suited-up New Yorkers hurrying by the windows with their smartphones. "Where do I fit in?" I wondered, pondering my single status. "Who am I now?" I used to know, but I had lost myself since I was no longer someone's girlfriend

Before I could answer my own question, the waiter served me the most perfect prosciutto and fig flatbread that I have ever seen. It was topped with wild mushrooms, oozing brie, onion confit, almonds and truffle oil — the most perfectly comforting combination of crunchy and cheesy. When I took my first bite, I wanted to exclaim, "This is amazing!" But when I looked up, reality hit me hard. The only thing sitting across from me was an empty chair. My ex was gone and I was worlds away from finding a replacement Prince Charming.

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