Tonight I strayed off the Tinder Trail and was reminded that dining with socially awkward strangers or homicidal maniacs is often preferable to dining alone.
As you may or may not know, I’ve worked on and off for a long time with authors while they’re here in LA on book tour. Many years ago I had the pleasure of working with Jack Germond, the prolific political journalist and pundit on his memoir, Fat Man in A Middle Seat. I was very sorry when I heard that Jack passed away last year. He was a sweetheart and delightful in a Lou-Grant-with-a-bottle-of-Irish-Whiskey-in-his-bottom-drawer-self-deprecating sort of way. Jack worked hard, laughed hard, ate, drank and lived large. He often had to travel at the last minute, shoving himself into the middle-seat between fellow fliers who thought they’d hit the nobody-in-the-middle-seat-jackpot until Jack, huffing and puffing, wedged himself between them like a bloated sardine in an otherwise tidy tin.
I think of Jack often as I dine alone, the skinny, single lady perched on a “middle stool” wedged between coupled-up drinkers and diners trying not to look like I’m living in a Lifetime movie starring some once Teen-Beat-worthy-actress in a pilly jumpsuit.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked, “Well, you’re alone, so you don’t mind moving to the end of the bar so we can sit together, do you?”
Or tonight’s question from the stiletto-clad-20-something-hottie’s-60-year-old- fiancé, “You don’t look like you’re expecting anyone, so you’ll be leaving soon, right?” he asked. In my usual style, I joked; claiming the tear that sprang to my eye was caused from the light reflecting off his hottie-fiancé-in-the-stiletto’s-5-carat sparkler. He beamed when I quickly paid my check like I’d agreed to give him a kidney. I refrained from asking who did his hair plugs and left him to the coveted stool.
So, the next time you see the skinny lady or the fat man in the middle seat, please be kind, because, given our druthers, we wouldn’t be sitting alone.