Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Art of Dining Alone

Dining out in Santa Fe

Dining alone is a skill for all women to master, and it is one we should practice with our heads held high. On my recent week-long solo vacation, I dined alone in elegant restaurants several times. Each one was its own sort of sociological experiment.

Sometimes, I am a bit nervous and more self-conscious than I would like to admit. It seems that this only happens when out as “Rhonda” and as my other self I never give it a second thought. I always had a screen to swipe at, which takes me entirely out of the experience I’m trying to inhabit. Mindlessly checking social media is the antithesis of what I want to be doing as a solo traveler.  But having this crutch, so to speak, can be a great hands occupier if I feel the slightest discomfort.   If you look around everyone is doing it.  

I do have some advantages in the area. I am an only child so I am well practiced at entertaining myself. While I think any meal is better shared with friends by circumstances, mainly business travel, I frequently dine alone.

The art of solo dining, then, is all about being in the present moment: sitting with oneself, having no one to interact with except your server.  It is about the chance to sit back and observe all that happens around you: fellow diners, the restaurant staff, the street life outside the window.

Dining alone is also about truly savoring your meal.  Pay attention to each bite. Notice the textures and colors, or lack thereof, on your plate. Practice mindful chewing; do not rush yourself. Take small sips of water, feel the coolness in your throat.  Savor the wine.  

Remember to sit up straight, shoulder back, head up. You are a woman eating alone, and there is no shame in that. Others may look at you with pity: That poor woman, with no one to go out with. Or they may be envious: I wish I had the guts to eat out all alone. She is so brave. They may be intrigued: Who is this woman who so unabashedly commands her own table, who smiles so warmly at the waitress, who is not at all self-consciousness?  You are proud to be a woman and dressed to prove it. 

More information can be found at the link The Art of Solo Dining: Table for One.

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