Eating Alone Doesn’t Have to be Lonely

Eating alone

What is it about dining alone that makes us scared? Some people won’t travel solo out of this fear alone. Well, not me. I actually like eating alone. But I know a lot of people that can’t do it. Is it the memories it conjures up of not being one of the cool kids in high school? Or maybe its the proposition of entertaining yourself for an entire meal? Perhaps all those happy people at the next table– thinking you have no friends and are forced into dining alone? Whatever it is, dining alone doesn’t have to be lonely.

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Dining Alone
Doesn’t Have to be Lonely

 

All I know is that Marcelo’s attitude changed when I told him I was dining alone. His bubbly, upbeat face turned into a look of grave concern. He looked around the large restaurant as if I was punking him. And Ashton and a group of my dearest friends would burst out of nowhere to join me so I wouldn’t have to endure the nightmare of eating by myself.

No, it’s just me, I said with a smirk that said, for crying out loud, what’s the problem?

He smiled and asked if I’d be more comfortable at a table in the corner. No, this is okay, I said. I had a nice view of the sea and the front door. Something very important when, uh… you’re traveling alone. But nobody puts baby in a corner.

 

 

Nothing to See Here Folks

 

Again he nodded. Then picked up the second menu he had placed on the table and tucked it under his arm. With the grace of a 3-year-old on stilts, he scooped up the plate and the accompanying cutlery, glassware– scurrying into the kitchen. He made so much noise that everyone turned to see if I had fallen off my chair and needed medical attention. When they surmised I was okay, most of them returned to minding their own business.

A few tried to sum me up. Their eyes lingering a little longer than necessary on the black girl on holiday by herself in Malta. I could understand not leaving the extra place setting. But why in the hell did Marcelo take my candle too? I took out the book I brought to read and placed where the candle once sat.

 

 

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Explaining Myself

 

I like eating alone. Sometimes I’ll pick a restaurant that serves family style. There are long tables where you end up sitting next to total strangers. Sometimes, I bring a book and I will read and people watch over the top of the page. But I’ve felt so self-conscious to explain why I was dining alone. I confessed that I am married and he loves me a lot. I heard myself say I have lots of friend back home and a blogger and writer. After he left the table, I was confused. Mostly because I wasn’t sure who I was trying to convince.

 

 

Table For One

 

Marcelo warmed up to me way before the end of my meal. I asked him why he seemed so concerned about why I was eating alone. He said I was beautiful and if I was his girlfriend I’d never eat alone. I’m kidding. He actually said he didn’t see many Americans come to this restaurant alone– it’s petty far from the tourists’ areas.

And that was true. However, that was precisely why I was there. I wanted to eat where the locals eat. There was no debating the merits of driving 45 minutes for lunch. No compromises are necessary. I just did it.

That seemed to impress him. He told me there were so many places to see on the island that never showed up in the tour guides. Then he wrote down a few of them for me to explore– by myself.

 

 

Where’s My Candle?

 

Marcelo, can I ask you a question? Why did you take my candle? He shrugged a little because he didn’t recall taking it. He apologized profusely– scurrying back into the kitchen. When he returned he brought me a candle and a little vase with fresh flowers. True disclaimer: Marcello is not his real name. His true identity has been changed because now we’re Fb friends.

 

 

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Comments

  1. writing tips

    How to eat alone and like it, master the art of eating alone, successful solo dining tips, how to make solo dining fun, how to enjoy eating as a solo traveler, how to feel comfortable eating by yourself, eating in restaurants alone

  2. Danielle

    I don’t mind eating alone sometimes. It is nice to enjoy a nice meal without having to carry on a conversation with others.

  3. Lebogang Xolo

    I have eaten alone, on several occasions. I was actually pleasantly surprised how great it felt. The only awkwardness is when a person asks to join you and you have to explain that you are married.

  4. Catherine

    I’ve never ate alone but I enjoyed reading your post. I guess that’s why I’ve never eaten alone, but you’ve really taken the stigma away by sharing your perspective on it. Loved reading!

  5. Luci

    Super post! I remember the first time I ate alone at a restaurant in Berlin – and I was already in my 30s. It just had never come up – and it did make me feel weird. But then it made me feel empowered, just like your article. Good for you for calling out M for taking away the candle – good for him he brought it back with flowers!
    xx Luci

  6. Annette, 3 Little Buttons

    What a gorgeously written post! I felt I was right there with you when Marcelo pinched your candle 🙂 I have to say that I don’t think I would be as brave as you at all. You’ve given me hope though… because it’s nice to have a moment to yourself every now and again. and dining out on your own is the best way to get it.

  7. Fiona Cambouropoulos

    I really dislike eating alone. In fact I’d rather go without than sit down and eat alone. I can only remember once sitting alone waiting for a train at the station. You shouldn’t need to explain yourself though, keep doing what works for you.

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