How to Dine Alone
Being alone can be uncomfortable for some. This isn’t about whether or not you have a partner, this is about just being OK with spending time by yourself. Personally, I love it, but there are people for whom the thought of doing certain things alone petrifies them. Be it traveling, going to the pub or the cinema – it seems it’s just more socially acceptable to do these activities with people. Dining alone at a restaurant is like the final frontier. I know many people who wouldn’t dream of it, but I’m a master of it, so here’s a guide to how to grow some balls and go for it.
The fact that you are dining alone will confuse both the wait staff and other diners. There is no sense in walking in there all meek and mild. Head up, stride in there with purpose, even add a little pirouette for effect if you need to. Stop just short of saying ‘I’m here, bitches!’ The waiter will look you up and down, at which point, in almost slow mo fashion, you will raise one solitary index finger and say ‘Table for one please.’ Usually, you’ll hear cutlery fall out of hands, a record scratch and everything stop while the world stares at you. The waiter will look behind you, certain you’re joking and that the second member of your party is on their way. Stand firm, lock eyes with them and keep the index finger high.
At the Table
As a lone diner, you are free to choose to spend your time at your table. Will you read? Tweet? Get your Moleskin out? Or my personal favourite, people watch? You will notice, many of the other diners will be eying you suspiciously, still waiting for someone to join you. I say, to mess with their heads, do a series of increasingly bizarre things, stopping just short of cutting your toe nails.
There are no end of advantages when dining alone. First of all, it doesn’t take two years for your food to arrive. It’s almost like a walk into McDonald’s, get your food over the counter type of swiftness when you eat by yourself. So, if you’re hungry and want to eat at a nice restaurant, just ‘forget’ to invite your friends – everything happens much faster. Plus, you don’t need to sit across from someone with poor table manners, or make conversation if you don’t feel like it (if you want to talk to yourself, that’s your business). Dining alone is just a constant stream of win.
The most awkward part of eating out with other people is when the bill arrives and everyone becomes a super mathematician, getting their calculators out, ensuring that they pay only exactly what they owe, ’cause God forbid they chip in an extra 34p for no reason. Splitting the bill has entirely changed my view of some people. Cheapness is revealed with shocking clarity during these moments. All of that mess can be avoided when you just don’t invite people to eat with you.
So, you see? Dining out alone is really not all that scary. Sure, it’s nice to eat out with your significant other or friends, but it’s nice to have time for just you every once in a while too. Screw whoever’s looking at you – they’re probably envious because they’re being forced to listen to the drivel of their dining partners, more fool them. It takes confidence, it takes being comfortable in your own skin, it takes not giving a rat’s ass what anyone says or thinks of your decision to be alone. The fact is, sometimes it’s just necessary.