Eating by your lonesome doesn't have to be so lonesome.
One of the less-fun parts of being single is dining alone. As a single lady, I could resign myself to eating every meal in bed while watching bizarre Netflix documentaries, but every now and then, I like to feel like a human being participating in society, so I force myself to leave my apartment and yes, eat at a restaurant all by my lonesome. But here's the kicker: Dining "one top" (as the food industry calls it), is actually not lonesome at all, it's super-awesome -and to back up that claim, here are five sure-fire tips for how you, too, can become an avid "one, please!" customer.
1. Ask for your own table. Hostesses often try to seat groups of one at the bar, which is basically like announcing to the rest of the restaurant that HELLO, I AM EATING ALONE and SOMEBODY PLEASE TALK TO ME. You're a paying customer; don't be afraid to ask for a table. Bonus: It feels fancier.
2. Bring a book (or write your own!) Reading works quite well when you're dining alone, except when you become distracted by other patrons and keep losing your place in the novel. So I started bringing my journal. If I'm extra-lucky, I'll be seated next to people having a fascinating conversation which I, of course, record in detail, complete with commentary. The real jackpot is to be seated next to a first date. Guaranteed entertainment. If writing's not your thing, there's always your iPhone, which has myriad apps (I'm a fan of Words With Friends and Tetris) or turn that journal into a sketchpad and (discreetly) draw the people around you.
3. Sit by the window. Ask the hostess to sit somewhere where you can gaze out the window. This way, you can people-watch and occupy your thoughts with the goings-on outside the restaurant. I used to get a little self-conscious, feeling like people were looking at sad little me sitting by myself, but I assure you, they're not. As you dine out more often, you'll start to feel less like a sad-faced monkey in a zoo being observed, and more like an independent woman (cue Destiny's Child song in the background), comfortably chillin' on your own - or, as the English say "on your Larry."
4. Always order dessert. To reward yourself for a successful solo dining experience, you should at least consider dessert. Or in my case, forego the meal all together and eat dessert as your meal. You're your own woman, you do what you want. Oh, and remember to tip well, especially if you plan on becoming a regular. Servers don't relish the idea of serving a one top (smaller bill = smaller tip) so it goes a long way to securing your spot as a welcomed and well-liked customer (Plus, it's just good etiquette.)
This article was originally published at The Spinsterhood Diaries. Reprinted with permission from the author.