Eating Out Alone

steve martinBecause I travel a lot, I often eat out alone. This habit began a long time ago, back in the days when I was single. I’d bring a book and ask for a table for one and sit back and read, eat and eavesdrop. Hey. It’s kind of how I make a living.

I remember a Steve Martin movie called The Lonely Guy…he goes out to eat by himself and feels so self-conscious, like all the other people are looking at him. An imaginary spotlight shines on him, and he doesn’t enjoy the meal.

new friendI’ve never felt like that. Instead, I feel happy, kind of cool and slightly invisible, but in the best way. I love watching the interaction of the servers, since I used to be a waitress, and I make up stories for them—she’s in love with the bartender, but he’s got a honey, and she sits at the bar, glaring. The maître d’ hates the rude customer who just demanded a different table and whispers to a server. Foolish customer! These people are in charge of your food. Be nice! Some of the customers give me the best ideas for books. The older couple still so in love. The younger couple not speaking, both staring at their phones. Mental notes are taken by this author.

happy and aloneSometimes, I have to open my laptop while I’m eating alone, to check a flight or, say, write a blog. I’d rather read, but it’s fine. Kind of lovely, to have that convenience. While I might take a picture of my meal (see last night’s dessert), I don’t text or check social media while I’m eating. I’d rather try to enjoy the moment.

On this book club tour I’ve been on for GOOD LUCK WITH THAT, a lot of us have talked about things we’ve felt too self conscious to do, and how it’s time to get over that. Several readers have said eating out alone was one of them, and after reading the book, and talking with other readers, they’re going out alone, damn it. And eating dessert. And loving it.

That’s what I’m talking about. Girl power. Not letting social conventions tell you what you should and shouldn’t do. Ladies, I hope you pick a fabulous restaurant, and have the best time!

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