I had a choice.
Stay home in the sweltering prison of my air conditionless apartment, my pale pink J. Crew ribbed tank top plastered to my back like body armor, or go out, by myself, for a chilled glass of white wine in a cool environment.
I was in a dress and out the door before I had time to over think the decision -- or notice that my bra was not a suitable choice for my dress and was prominently on display for all the world to see.
The whole thing seemed like a fabulous idea as I strode down the block in the direction of Comme Ca, my favorite local locale for wine during happy hour.
"How liberated, am I?" I thought as I walked up to the restaurant, the chorus of Beyonce's "Single Ladies" pumping me forward. "I don't need a bar babysitter. I'm putting my hands up! Oh oh oh!"
The feeling of liberation only lasted so long. Once I spotted the two bar tables occupied with groups of decidedly unsingle ladies and gents, I wasn't feeling so inclined to put my hands or even a thumb up. I wanted to turn around and walk out the door, back to the crock pot of my apartment to be braised alive like a bunch of kale.
Instead, I forced myself toward the bar, where I promptly sat down and ordered the best remedy I could fathom for the socially awkward situation of my own making.
"I'll have a glass of the Sauvignon Blanc, please," I said to the bartender without consulting the menu. Then I dug into my bag and extracted the solid form of liquid courage -- the brand new book my friend had sent me for my upcoming birthday.
I blushed a fierce shade of Rosé as I set the book on the bar, cringing at the title, "Then Came You."
This was not liberating at all.
My glass of wine appeared in front of me. The sommelier bearing the bottle took one look at me with my chic lit book and exposed bra, and drained the remaining contents into my already oversized glass.
He grinned at me, "Might as well finish it."
I smiled and thanked him, but inside I felt trapped.
"I'm going to have to sit here until I finish all of that." I thought. "While I read a book! At a bar! By myself!"
I attempted to relax -- to focus on Jules and Annie and India. But every sentence I read was interrupted by the voice in my head telling me that I was a freak and this was really weird and that the cute bartender named Sean was looking at me and wondering what the heck I was doing reading a book at his bar.
He pushed a candle over to me. I thanked him, blushing again because clearly the light in the restaurant was not conducive for my chosen form of happy hour activity.
"Good book?" He asked.
I casually slid my hand over the title to hide it from his view. "Yeah, it is," I said, even though I had no idea if it was a good book since I hadn't been able to absorb a single paragraph since I'd sat down twenty five minutes prior.
"My friend gave it to me for my birthday." I continued, grateful to have someone to talk to as I tried to get through my trough of wine. "I just picked it up at the post office, and I don't have air conditioning in my apartment, so..."
He nodded in understanding, and, feeling self-conscious again, I cast my eyes down to the meaningless black letters.
The phone clasped in my right hand began flashing the telltale green light to inform me of an incoming message. I sighed with relief when I saw it was a text message from my friend Sarah asking if I wanted to join her and some friends for champagne at another restaurant nearby. I took one look at the still honkin' glass of wine in front of me, the book splayed out on the bar, and the cute bartender who I was too embarrassed to flirt with, and lept up from my stoop.
"Can I get the check please?" I said, as I shoved the book into the bottom of my bag. "My friend just texted me to meet her..."
The translation, of course, being: "See, I have friends. I'm not just a crazy single lady with cats and mud-colored facial masks and an entire library of romantic comedies that all end with the girl getting lifted into the air by Patrick Swayze."
Once the check was settled, I bolted for the door, nearly overcome with joy that I had been summoned to finish my happy hour elsewhere -- with other people rather than fictional characters. As much as I'd wanted to be liberated -- to be a single lady who can go to restaurants and bars by herself and sip of glass of wine like it's the most normal thing in the world --happy hour is not the type of activity that I enjoy doing solo.
Most likely because it's not meant to be a solo activity -- it's meant to be enjoyed with three other girls who find it amusing that your bra is on display and think it's hilarious that you spent 35 minutes in the post office trying to pick up a book while little barefoot children kept running into your legs with their sticky, germ-laden limbs.
Fortunately, not all activities have to be enjoyed with the company of three females bearing sparking pink champagne. (I don't think.)
Eating a BLT sandwich with a runny fried egg at home for brunch is the perfect single girl activity. I don't have to worry about looking gross if the slice of tomato starts to slide off the bread and I need to use my fingers to shove it back into place. I don't have to leave the runny yolk on the plate in an unseemly puddle. I can use the bread to sop it up, animal-style, and then let juices dribble down my chin without immediately wiping them off. With the back of my hand.
And, most importantly, preparing the sandwich does not require arithmetic. Two slices of bread, 1 egg, 1 slice of thick-cut bacon, a few slices of tomato, salt, pepper, and lettuce. No need to break out the calculator to figure out how I can turn a massive recipe into a meal suitable for one.
It's perfectly acceptable exactly as it is.
Single ladies put your hands up. And wrap them around this sandwich.
BLT with a Fried Egg
2 slices of bread, or 1 extra-long, thick slice of farmers market fresh whole wheat bread sliced in half
2-3 slices of heirloom tomato
1-2 strips extra-thick bacon, torn in half
Handful of arugula
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place bread on tin foil and place in oven. Toast for 5-10 minutes, flipping once so it is crispy on both sides.
While bread is toasting, season the tomato with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Heat nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. add the two bacon halves and cook, turning once, until both sides are crispy. Remove bacon with a fork and set on a paper towel to absorb the grease.
Crack the egg into the center of the hot, bacon-greased pan. Season with salt and pepper. Fry until the edges are cooked through and the white surrounding the yolk is almost cooked through. Carefully flip the egg over and cook for 1 minute.
To assemble: Place tomato on one slice or half of bread. Top with fried egg, bacon, arugula and the other slice or half. Put your hands up in triumph. Eat immediately.