An Ode To Solo Diners.
Table for one? Just you? Are you by yourself?
If you are a frequent solo diner, then these are the questions you have probably heard more than once. I don’t know why there is such a stigma to eating alone. Even if you are the happiest married person, you may end up eating lunch alone at some point.
I admit that there are both pros and cons to solo dining out. When I’m eating alone, I tend to focus more on the food and drink as there are no chit-chatty distractions. I can really taste and savor. I can also get that big dessert or extra glass of wine without anyone telling me not to.
I do have some preferences when it comes to eating out alone, or maybe I should say safe places. Coffee shops are always one of these. Even on Saturday nights, one can get a cup of coffee alone without many stares.
The coffee shop setup actually offers the best of both worlds: one can be alone with people. You have two lovely options: either the possibility of talking to another human being, or just keeping to yourself.
Plus, it does get you out of the house, you can be with people without interacting with people, it’s a change of scenery without the stress of entertaining someone.
Additionally, eating lunch alone is much more socially acceptable than a solo dinner. When I’m traveling, I don’t mind eating dinner out alone, but when I’m in my hometown, I don’t know how much I’d actually enjoy being seated among couples and families on date night.
I’ve done it, but it wasn’t that much fun, and yes, people did look.
How did we ever eat out alone before cellphones existed? It’s like we are all on dates with our phones. Before the phone, people read books and doodled on napkins.
One of my favorite Sex and the City episodes is called They shoot single people, don’t they?
In this episode, Samantha is stood up for a date, without any of her dining-alone armor, like a book or newspaper. At the end of this episode, Carrie enjoys a day drink alone at a cafe without a date, friend, book or phone. For her, it was a moment of freedom and self-love.
Once I was in Vegas having a sushi dinner by myself, and a lady came up to me and asked if I was alone. Upon my answering Yes, she said, “I’ve always wanted to do that. Good for you.” The truth is, we all get burnt out and want what we don’t have.
If you’ve been single for a long time, you want to go to a big loud restaurant with a bunch of laughing people. If you’re married with kids, you want the solace that an alone meal can bring, hearing your own thoughts… and that ah, I’m alone peaceful quiet.
I could choose not to care, but that’s easier said than done. I even judge myself.
I just compare dining with life. Sometimes you are in a wine bar when you’re talking to the bartender, sometimes it’s with a loud big family, and sometimes it’s an awkward dinner that you thought would be just grand and you end up sitting right next to a couple at a community table.
Congratulations to you if you choose to eat out alone and enjoy your own company, you who dared to do something that freaks a lot of people out. A well-lived life will be all of this and more.