Defending the Solo Diner

Valentine's Day is getting closer, and while those who have a special someone are certainly sweating dinner reservations, flowers and other finishing touches for what is supposed to be no less than a perfect evening, those who are single get to kick up their heels and enjoy a night they can devote entirely to themselves.

Later this week I'll have a list of some of the best spots in Dallas to dine by yourself, but for now I want to focus on the art of eating alone. NPR recently touched on the subject in a radio spot that resonated with me especially as a person who often finds himself alone at the bar.

Solo diners get to call all the shots. You get to pick the cuisine, the restaurant and the day you'd like to go without any negotiations. If you like sitting at the bar you get to decide what time you'd like to arrive, and you hardly ever have to worry about reservations. You get to decide who you talk with and how much, and diners who spend a lot of time genuinely trying to engage the staff often receive special treatment that diners with company miss out on.

The best part of the piece for me though, was a quote from Deepak Chopra, the Indian-born American physician and holistic New Age health guru. Here's his advice for solo diners.

Sit down quietly. Take a few deep breaths. Experience gratitude for the abundance of the universe. And then enjoy the food with full awareness and in silence. Feel your body. Feel the sensations that are aroused without forcing anything. And monitor your level of hunger and don't treat your body as a garbage can.

Chopra also makes the distinction between simply dining alone, which might evoke loneliness, and the art of embracing solitude, or making a conscious choice to view the act as one of both nutritional and emotional sustenance.

It's also a reminder not to chow down like a fat ass. Yes, solo diners do have one major disadvantage to their coupled counterparts. They don't have anyone to split dessert with.

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