The art of dining alone.

The first thing to know about dining alone is this: it’s all about You. So choose a place you love to go.

When the hostess says, “How many in your party?” be ready with your answer. I try not to say, “just one,” because tonight isn’t about feeling sorry for myself, and the word ‘just’ tells too much, making it sound like I’m lonely and sad.

(If I’m lonely and sad, then I won’t need a hostess to seat me. The dinner by myself is going to be ice cream and You’ve Got Mail.)

Instead, I say, “I’m dining alone tonight, thank you.” Or, “A table for one, please.” Those are proactive statements that put you in charge. It’s your chance to say, I chose this night, this restaurant and this time by myself. Please give me the best table that will suit such a quality time and experience.

Bring a companion of some kind. I bring authors in their books. But maybe you bring apps, Angry Birds, singer/songwriters on Pandora, or your Facebook community on Words with Friends.

Choose your very favorite item on the menu. Order dessert. Always. This is a must. You’re worth it, and life is too short to overthink the cheesecake.

Settle in. Leave a good tip.

Enjoy the space. Love yourself there, so someday someone else can love you in that space.

It’s an art, this business of dining alone.

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