Dining alone
Young is not an option for me, and "in love" is unpredictable. But you can count on the fact that, sooner or later, one of these days, it'll be dinnertime and you'll be very alone. From a baked potato in your pj's to the best table a $20 tip can buy, learn how to dine solo in style.

Private Diner
This can be the apex of self-indulgent slobbery. Make the most of it. Pajamas, tomato soup, and a sourdough baguette you froze with just this moment in mind. A stack of magazines. Or a steak and a baked potato and BBC America's Mystery Monday. Wine in a mug. You could go all out with a cloth napkin and a small bouquet, but I wouldn't. Revel.

Public Pot Roast
Most of us can manage this: Dinner at the local place, with your reading or writing material in front of you. You eat your meat loaf, enjoy your novel or write one, review tomorrow's caseload, and pick up a little public energy—which is why I suggest your local diner or coffee shop or burrito place and not McDonald's, where the laminated vibe can kill a single woman.

Party Girl
This is the top of the mountain but worth it. Dress like you have a date, which you do. Look like you have money and appreciate fine service. Spread charm. If they show you a hideous table behind the kitchen door, smile brilliantly and refuse to take it. If you must, teach yourself how to pass a $20 bill. Engage the sommelier if you like wine. Engage the busboy if you like water. Tip well. Make everyone glad that you came to dinner.


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