A few weeks ago, I overnighted in Las Vegas. Although I was with a group of people, when it came time for dinner, I really just wanted to go off on my own. Las Vegas does a huge conference and convention business, so you would think that businesses and restaurants would be used to a patron dining alone. My guess however, is that while that may be true if you’re a man, Las Vegas still isn’t used to women dining alone.

Here’s my experience:

After spending some time shopping, I had worked up a real appetite. Shopping sometimes has that effect on me. I decided to have dinner at a nearby, mid-priced, casual, but still nice, restaurant. It was after the main dinner rush, and while there were still a number of diners in the restaurant, there was no line. The hostess approached me and asked how many in my party. I said one. She replied “Just one?”

What is it about the phrase “just one” that has made it an acceptable part of our language? Do people say just two? And is acceptable to say, just four today? No, there is something about the number one that seems to cry out for the word “just” to be put in front of it.

When I responded to the hostess, yes, a party of one, she asked if I wish to be seated in the bar. I said no, and then realizing that they may be serving in the bar sought clarification from her. Her to clarification consisted of explaining to me that she felt I might be more comfortable dining alone, if I was seated in the bar. Since nothing could have been further from the truth at that time, I explained to her that I preferred the comfort of a nice table in the dining room. With a bit of a huff, and a rather miffed look in on her face, she seated me, dropping the menu on the table and was off.

A few minutes went by before the waiter stopped by my table. He took my drink order, came back and eventually got my dinner order. He was gracious, the service was outstanding, he was most helpful in helping me make in entrée selection, and everything was fine.

So what is it about a woman dining alone, that threw this hostess into a fit of pique? Do women not dine alone in Las Vegas? Is this about the old stereotype that women aren’t generous tippers? Was this about the hostess, Las Vegas, or me?

Readers, I’d like you to chime in on this topic. Especially the women.

Do you find that when you dine in alone that you get lesser service? If so, how do you handle it? I frequently find myself dining alone, and while I have no problem with it, any tips that I can pick up to make it a more pleasant experience would be greatly appreciated. Leave your suggestions in the comments.

In the meantime, yes, a table for “just one.”

Photo credit: MorgueFile


Tags: b5media, flight attendant, Flyaway Cafe, restaurants, Travel, Travel & Culture,