Most people come home from a trip with nice photos of sunsets, beaches, and smiling tourists. I come home with travel photography of abandoned buildings, barren landscapes and roadkill. Or at least I did on this roadtrip from Tuscon to San Diego. Obviously I travel with my camera with a little different agenda than most people. I’ve always been drawn to the desert for so many reasons I don’t even understand them all. It’s one of the most beautiful places on earth… and one of the most deadly. It’s ruthless, yet there’s something about looking across that vast horizon with the sun beating down on you, but storm clouds gathering in the distance. Or slivers of late afternoon sunlight peeking through the clouds, selectively lighting the mesas. There’s a great monologue in the film “25th Hour” where Brian Cox is supposed to be taking his son, played by Edward Norton, to prison in New York. He talks to him about making a wrong turn and just driving west to find a small town for him to disappear and start over, and while the whole thing is powerful, there was one part in particular that stood out to me.
“Every man, woman, and child alive should see the desert one time before they die. Nothing for miles around. Nothing but sand, and rocks, and cactus and blue sky. Not a soul around for miles. No sirens. No car alarms. Nobody honking at you. No madmen cursing or pissing on the streets. You’ll find the silence out there. You’ll find the peace. You can find God.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
“Is that a snide smile from the hostess? Did that couple just snicker and whisper behind their napkins? Is there anything more pathetic for a single woman than having to utter the words “Table for One?”
I read that the first time and, to put it bluntly, it really pissed me off. After being single and childless my whole adult life, the idea that someone could really think that dining alone, or going to a movie alone, or simply sitting at a bar and having a cocktail alone was such a horrible thing and a great shame is beyond ludicrous. Keeping one’s own company and enjoying the pleasures of life without the need to make small talk is, indeed, one of the greatest joys in life.
Really. I swear to you.
So to answer the question: Yes, there are many things more pathetic than a single woman asking for a table for one.
- Staying at home
- Making a microwave dinner… or two, cause those suckers sure are small
- Going through a fast food drive-thru instead of a nice restaurant
- Eating dinner with a co-worker you really don’t like for the sake of having another pulse at the table, because god knows you don’t spend enough time with co-workers you barely tolerate already
- Going out on a date with a man you don’t like so you aren’t sitting home alone, because you certainly can’t go out alone on a weekend. What will people think?
- Using a service that will match you with a woman you don’t even know so you can dine together to avoid “embarrassment” and fill your meals with inane conversation or awkward silence. But you’ll look good to other diners, and that’s all that matters, right?
I should note the author of this piece agrees with me, and was responding to an article on CNN.com about a new “service” that matches up single women with other single women so they don’t have to dine alone.
Really? Is this the high school cafeteria modern businesswoman-style? Junior high?
Fortunately, I learned a long time ago to embrace being able to dine in peace and often find myself smiling to myself just a little at the pure joy of just keeping my own company. And when you do that, the people around probably aren’t wondering why you are such a loser sitting there alone, but envying your freedom from their boring date or their whining kids, and their fear of doing exactly what you’re doing.
You are now an international woman of mystery. Embrace your solitude. And turn that silly notion that it’s a bad thing on its head.
To read the quoted article by Elisa Doucette, visit Forbes.com. You never know, it just might inspire you to run out to that fancy restaurant by yourself. Or even start a whole blog based on the notion that our own company is more than good enough.