Harry Rosen is a 103-year-old man who probably has more than a few life secrets up his sleeve. But here's one I can really get on board with: the widower hasn't eaten a single dinner at his Manhattan apartment in years. Instead, he hops in a taxi every night and heads to one of his favorite, oh-so-not-cheap restaurants, where he examines menus with a magnifying glass, drinks chardonnay, and feasts on everything from raw fish to pureed vegetables -- which are easier for his dentures to chop. The former entrepreneur, who was married to his wife for 70 years before she passed away five years ago, says that dining is like therapy to him and he that gets energy from the experience. Amen, Harry, amen.
He also says he would like to find someone who can accompany him on his dining excursions, but his most recent fling with a 90-year-old woman and his experiences in singles' groups have not worked out. Now, as much as I hope Harry finds love, I also really hope he keeps dining solo. Why? Because I think he has unknowingly shared one of the best secrets to longevity: learn how to enjoy yourself by yourself. Oh, and grow a set already and go out to dinner alone once in a while because it's a wonderful experience.
I'm not talking about having breakfast at a diner counter alone, although you can definitely start with that if the thought of dinner by yourself is too scary a first step. I'm referring to the fantastic act of dressing up for yourself, going to a restaurant you really like, and asking for a table for one. Fine, it doesn't have to be smack in the center of the room -- that might be too cruel to ask anyone to do.
Before I got married, I dined solo a lot more than I currently do, and I really miss it. When you eat alone, you don't have to compromise on an appetizer. Every bite of food is savored and somehow tastes better because you can really think about what you're eating instead of exerting energy talking about it. The chatter around you is fascinating and you can learn a great deal about people and how they interact during a 45-minute meal. You can actually look around the restaurant and notice the little thoughtful details that make it so special. Try doing that with a dining partner and you risk being called rude. And, afterwards, you will feel amazing simply because you took the time to treat yourself.
Have you ever eaten dinner in a restaurant alone?
Image via Pan Pacific/Flickr