Saute vegetables and herbs, bread, poppadom and herb soda on the rocks. What else can one wish for on a cool summer evening? Alas, not all people are so lucky to enjoy that, not because they cannot afford it, but because they do not know that is how it is supposed to be. People are literally unable to cook proper food for themselves and that is a shame. They own a degree, they can earn six figure salaries, but need to go a diner to eat every evening. Man has this basic instinct to survive, to find food and cook it - convert it to edible form. God has given us the sense of taste to enjoy the wonderful food we have on planet Earth, but people have just made up their mind that the experience cannot be found at home. It is taken for granted that only restaurant can give you such an experience. I strongly believe that it is wrong and the very instinct of man is in danger.
The table you see up there is for sure a great site to see, but one can have that in one's place as well. It is just a matter of learning etiquette and doing the right thing without showing it off. Even if it is to show off to friends when you welcome them to dinner, it is an effort. Although, not all are willing to make that effort. As for me, it is just something as simple to looking at an image like below and doing it.
I once read a wise man's writing "When you become a spectacular performer for long enough, 'spectacular' becomes your way of living". If you try doing that for a month, you'll get used to it. You'll be able to do it effortlessly. In my country, it is a stereotype that all this is for women to do. However, learning skills in life like this makes a man into a gentleman and a woman into a lady. First, you become aware of how to feed yourself! Second, you learn how to "properly" feed yourself. Third, you know how to "properly feed yourself in a social setting". Three simple advantages, aren't they?
So to add, if you learn this in a social setting, not to show off of course, it shows a sense that you are aware what you are doing at that table with your friends or relatives or your colleagues! Your boss now surely knows you have your way of handling things! Your date knows you are organized person, and gives him/her a hint that you are capable enough for a more stronger relationship as well. Of course your friends can bitch about it, they are friends! But they will realize that you have grown up. You have cultivated yourself. And of course, you can treat the restaurant people in a more polite way like this.
However, coming to the point for dining alone. Why does it make sense to toil through apart from learning it apart from showing off and considering yourself as a cultured and organized individual? I guess I gave the answer in the question - "Individual". Life is tough sir! There come times when nothing feels right. A person dowses into depression and inactivity just because s/he finds himself/herself useless. Just like a nurse at a hospital would go tidy up towels after a bad day to release the stress and feel useful, so is cooking for a common man. Although there may be people who have their own ways of relieving stress, but why not a way that makes you stronger as well? You may play some game out there, you may sing, hang out or do anything you like. But, ultimately, one does get hungry. Why not relieve yourself of stress and fill yourself up with some good food?
Making yourself a salad or a cake or anything from scratch is a real achievement. Also, not to criticize outdoor activity, cooking also takes some effort, its not that you are taking in calories without burning calories. You cook, you eat and then you have to clean up! It takes time and energy. It is an activity in itself, an art and a way of self-realizing your potential. One could think over things while cooking or eating as well. When I see chefs like G. Ramsay (you know him well for his abusing, don't you?), there is perfection in their cooking in solitude. The way they chop things or handle the pan or cook is just so soothing to the eye! When they cook on a show, they don't ask for help, do they? They cook for themselves or one or more people and they relish it on the TV itself! Why can't you do that?! This made me understand what dinner for one means, and here's why I have written so much today. In all, cooking can be turned into an art and an act of relief: it will never seem mundane to me again after realizing this.