About a year and a half ago, I really started to embrace the idea of dining alone. It all started during a peculiar time in my life. In the months leading up to it, I had a rough breakup with a boyfriend that I was living with and I moved into a new apartment on my own. At 27, it was the first time I had ever lived alone in my life. Shortly after my breakup and move, I got laid off from my editor job at a magazine. I went from a person in a serious relationship with full-time employment, to a single freelancer in the span of about two months.
While this twist of fate left me feeling kind of terrified, I was also liberated. I was no longer burdened by a relationship that wasn’t good for me. And even though I didn’t leave the magazine by choice, getting laid off was the push that I needed from a safe but boring job, to a slightly scary, but much more exciting freelance career. All of a sudden I had no one to answer to. My time, both work and play, was truly my own.
At first it wasn’t easy. I leaned on my friends a lot, as anyone would. Over hours-long dinners and too many bottles of wine they would lend me their ears and ask me all about my new life. Having them by my side meant a lot. But, of course, they couldn’t be there all the time.
It’s like that scene in Sex and the City, if you’re not a superfan like me then allow me to summarize. For weeks and weeks Carrie prattles on to her friends about her breakup with Mr. Big. It’s nonstop. At first it’s understandable, but eventually her friends get tired out. They can’t be her therapists anymore. “Look, we’re as fucked up as you,” Samantha kindly explains, “it’s like the blind leading the blind.”
My friends didn’t have to have that same conversation with me (they didn’t send me to a therapist either, which is what ended up happening to Carrie). I may have learned my lesson from all of the SATC I consumed as a young adult, but I think there was something else telling me to find the answers within my own heart and mind. There was that little voice inside.
Deep down, I knew that the time had come for me to be really, completely alone. I had to learn to rely on myself for both productivity and companionship. I knew that I had stayed in a bad relationship and an unfulfilling job because of a lack of confidence in myself and a fear of being alone. It was time to look that fear in the face.
And that’s just what I did. As Rupaul says, “if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love anybody else!” On my journey to self-love, dining alone became an important stepping stone. Being confident while being all alone in public felt like I was taking a stand. “I can do this!” I proudly pronounced inside of my head. Soon, taking myself out for a good burger or a martini after a long day of work was one of my favorite things to do. Now that I’m in a new job and a new relationship, it’s a habit that I still cherish.
And now that I’ve shared more about my personal life on the internet than I ever thought I would, I dedicate this fashion story to the tables for one! May you eat, drink and enjoy in good company, even if it’s just you.
Special thanks to the Square Diner for letting us take over for the day!