This week I had the pleasure of meeting a girlfriend at one of DC’s latest restaurant/lounges Lost Society. Per usual, I arrived early and went through the typical – you have to wait for the rest of your party to be seated routine with the hostess. So I waited…
I scanned the bar for a seat, it was packed. I then came to the realization that the other half of my party was most likely not going to be there for another 20 minutes. Quite simply, I was sick of standing and I couldn’t imagine what would be the problem with seating me at a two person table while I waited for my guest to arrive. So I walked back up to the hostess desk and politely asked that they seat me without my guest. In the course of my request I made mention of the fact that they were most likely going to seat us at a two person table and that if I were dining alone, at a two seater table, they wouldn’t take the chair away, they would leave the 2nd chair empty – SO whether or not a second person was there was really inconsequential to whether or not I could be seated…
Perhaps I got a bit too analytical, however after I made that comment a woman who wasn’t the hostess, but was standing behind the hostess desk arranging menus said to me (in an extremely nice and nonchalant tone I might ad) – and I quote “well the policy of having you wait for the rest of your party is really for your benefit so you won’t look silly eating by yourself.”
At that exact moment my damn near decade of single life flashed before my eyes. I thought of the years I spent living in Manhattan and Brooklyn enjoying dinner by myself. Granted, I more often than not would belly up to the bar at restaurants that I frequented but there was no shame in my game when I decided to sit at a table for two by myself.
I also thought to myself – Is this woman insane? Did she really just state with such certainty that someone who is eating alone looks silly? And the thought I ended on was this – how insecure is this woman?
For the record I would like to state that I do understand that there are many of you out there that would never dream of sitting at a bar or a table for two by yourself, and that’s fine (to each his/her own) – it only becomes a problem when you deem people that have no qualms with doing so to be sad pitiful people.
People that have no problems eating alone or spending time alone are the farthest from pitiful, silly, or lonely – they are empowered. They have no problems choosing what they would like to do as opposed to waiting for someone to do it with them (waiting is not a bad thing but what if no one is around??). Might there be some element of hoping that one day there will be a partner around to eat or spend time with – of course! BUT that hope does not stop them from living their lives.
I was single for quite some time but I had to fight to ensure that being single did not become something that made me insecure. As a single I experienced some of the most amazing restaurants in Fort Green Brooklyn. As a single I formed the coolest relationships with other singles that frequented the bars/restaurants in my hood. Yes, Cheers was just a television show but there is NOTHING like having a neighborhood bar tender that becomes your friend, nothing like taking a seat at the bar and seeing the eclectic mix of friends that you’ve made…people that you see in the community, people that become a part of your network…people that you would have NEVER met if you were worried about being out and sitting by yourself.
My single escapades introduced me to red wine. I’ll never forget it…I was sitting at the bar of the neighborhood place that I used to frequent and my bartender friend, Thomas (amazing bartender at Olea (not sure if he’s still there)), asked me to try something new. It was a beautifully bold yet velvety wine called a Montepulciano (I even remember the bottle, see below)…and the rest, as they say, is history, I’ve been a red wine lover ever since.
If you’re wondering what I said to the lost lady at the hostess desk – I quickly responded to her that I had absolutely no problems eating by myself, that it just so happened that I am currently a part of a couple BUT that as a single I had NO qualms eating by myself and that her reference to feeling silly was very puzzling…I then proceeded to politely ask– may I please be seated now?
I sat by myself, waiting for my girlfriend to arrive and I couldn’t help but chuckle at the woman’s bizarre statement. The day that I can’t sit at a table for two or a bar by myself and order up a glass of wine and/or a quick meal will be the day that hell hath frozen over :-).
So here’s to singles and couples! Enjoy your weekend and don’t be afraid to occupy a table for two or belly up to the bar by yourself.
– Much love