I just did something I do too infrequently. I dined alone. At a restaurant.
After logging the better part of an hour on the old Gazelle, I decided to treat myself to a Tex-Mex dinner at this place down the street. Why wait for someone to ask me to dinner (sniff, sniff), I asked? I’ll strike out on my own!
The evening started off fairly demurely. I grabbed copies of Quick and the Dallas Observer, found a spot on the periphery of the patio and ordered a $2 margarita. Scott, the friendly and tattooed waiter, promptly delivered my drink and some chips, and I began devouring both the chips and the reading material. Some guy was doing live covers not 5 feet from me, and while I didn’t really like the music itself, he had a nice touch on the guitar. I was looking forward to an hour or so of quiet contemplation and people watching.
Shortly after my food arrived and I’d started sampling it, two boisterous men and their female companion at the next table started talking to me. “You look like a first lady, ” said Nate, the most outspoken of the trio. And so it began. We talked about music, war, politics, dogs, etc. I didn’t agree with much of what Nate the Aggie said, but the conversation was surprisingly entertaining.
Nate and Jason seemed nice enough, but my best conversations of the evening were with the woman, whose name is Emilia (note the spelling). She described herself as part Yugoslavian and part Albanian, and she had a pleasing manner. I think she looks like a young Justine Bateman (she’s heard that before, apparently, as well as Gwyneth Paltrow). Gorgeous woman, really.
So anyway, one margarita turned into three margaritas and a shot of tequila. And I’m remarkably sober. Must have been some weak (though undeniably delicious) margaritas.
I decided to take the opportunity to ask these people what they think when they see a woman alone at a restaurant or bar. The response: A) She’s new to the area B) She’s recently been mistreated by a man C) She wants to be among people without actually having to speak to them and D) She’s dying to meet Nate. I found it heartening that they didn’t say, “she’s desperate to hook up with someone.” I suppose that happens often enough, but it angers me that someone would jump to that conclusion (and I know they do). Why can a man go to a bar alone without inviting that sort of assumption but a woman cannot? I’d like that to change.
They were right with C, by the way. All I really wanted was a nice meal and some stimulating eavesdropping. Instead I got slightly more conversation than I’d bargained for (Nate’s a talker, one of those “I’m the type of guy” guys). But I’m glad I met them.
Today’s mystery tally: a mere 6