Saturday, February 19, 2011

Table for 1

A friend of mine from high school organized a Ladies Night Out for her girlfriends last night. Knowing that adult conversation, laughs, and good food & drink were on the horizon kept an armed me out of bell towers all week.

Unfortunately, at the very last minute - she had to back out. The other ladies didn't feel comfortable celebrating a night out when the "tie that binds us" had taken ill, so it was postponed. At the very last minute. J had already arranged to leave work early to spend a "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" evening with the kids. So I was still going out. But who on Earth would be available to hang out on such short notice?

Turns out, I'm pretty good company.

I decided to take the opportunity to scope out restaurants for my upcoming birthday celebration. I've asked all my local friends to save the date - we're going to party like it's 1999. Just have to find the perfect venue.

It was an unusually mild winter's night, so National Harbor was abuzz. After stepping out of the parking garage into the breezy hustle and bustle, I felt on top of the world. Riding solo and enjoying it. Able to browse the exclusive boutiques without little hands grabbing at the racks. I could squeeze into tight aisles and spaces. And I could linger over dangly, sparkly items as long as I wanted.

On the enthusiastic recommendation of a very helpful salesman, I settled on the first restaurant to review. Good choice, as the line was long as I approached the hostess stand. I walked up and proudly proclaimed I needed a table for ONE - confident I'd be seated and finished eating before these couples' and groups' buzzers had even gone off. All my hopes were dashed when I was informed the wait time would be close to an hour. Undeterred and not willing to go back into the brisk ever-increasingly windy night - I stayed. Sat down and took in my surroundings. Women seemed to hold their men closer. I wonder if I ever did that with J. No worries, ladies. The last thing I need right now is your man.

When my buzzer went off signaling my table was ready, I was led through a maze of diners until arriving at a table - being set for four. The hostess whispered to the waiter,



"Si, UNO."

I didn't know whether to be flattered or embarrassed by his inability to process I'd be dining alone. After he cleared away the three extra settings he had just placed and I sat down, I grew less self-conscious. It actually felt good being there alone. Maybe it was my fruity drink, but the whole situation became empowering to me. Sexy and strong me. Charming and relaxed. Flirty and fun. I even asked the couple at the table next to me if they wanted me to take their picture. It was obvious they were trying to document their date before their baby is born.

Twenty year-old Sharon would have been mortified eating alone at an upscale restaurant on a Friday date night. But Close-to-40 Sharon had pity for the people who have never had the experience. You have to know who are to be comfortable in that scenario. You have to be okay with you. And you have to have a sister-in-law who entertains your "super-lightweight" texts. (Love ya, Tiana!)

One is definitely not the loneliest number. As far as I am concerned, it's the strongest.

No comments: