It's that season once again for idyllic shots of couples strolling hand in hand around the Tidal Basin. Me? I'll probably be taking in the sights of summer through the single lens of my Konica.

Vacation? My creative juices must work double-time devising one that I can enjoy without the benefit of an escort at night . . . a liberated kind of spot where the maitre d' won't raise his eyebrows when I request "a table for one, please."

There are, occasionally, compensations to being single. At the end of a recent dinner party, where I was the only guest "sans partner," the couples left with their mates, while I departed with a "doggie bag" proffered by the sympathetic hosts. Some say I got the better deal. I'm not so sure.

Socially, it's still tough to be single in this town of formal dinner parties where the "Noah's Ark" syndrome still persists. Sometimes I think mated and married people forget what it's like to be "socially single." In the interest of smoother socializing, I've compiled this list of Do's and Don'ts for those of you in coupledom:

Don't invite me to a party entirely comprised of couples and carelessly announce: "Feel free to bring a date!"

Do plan a small, intimate party where the other single persons are members of the opposite sex.

Don't reassure me that I have "plenty of time" to get attached, when the biological timeclock of childbearing years is ticking away.

Do invite me to your child's birthday party. It's fun for single adults to get close to kids, and the decibel level of the party will make the silence of my empty apartment more appealing when I return home.

Don't tell me what a great weekend you had frolicking with your mate in your country house in the mountains.

Do offer me the use of your weekend cottage--rent free--on a weekend you'll be staying in town.

Don't introduce me to someone "recently divorced/separated" unless the break is at least one year old.

Do introduce me to someone who has "just moved to Washington and doesn't know a soul, yet."

Don't stare at me in amazement and say, "I don't understand why no one's snatched you up," or "you're too fussy."

Do empathize and recall all the traumatic relationships in your past single life.

Do remind me often: "It only takes one person to change your life."

Don't stop being my friend.