Wednesday, November 6, 2013
At some point, I realized that the main person judging me for eating alone was me. Admittedly, I didn't acquire that attitude overnight. It took me a while to shake the feeling that if I ate by myself, it meant I was loser with no friends and everyone was staring at me. I started by eating out when I was traveling. In my mind, it didn't seem as sad if I knew I wasn't eating alone because I had no friends but just because I was from out of town. But doing that also helped me realize that no one else cared - no one ever seemed to look oddly at me and I saw plenty of other people dining alone. I also had a similar thought to when I was in coffeehouses, that I wasn't sitting there wondering why they were eating alone or thinking they were losers, so maybe they weren't thinking anything about me either.
Nowadays, I'm generally OK with eating out alone. Not that I'm going to five-star restaurants or anything, but I no longer have a problem telling the host "Table for one, please". Sometimes it helps to have something to read (yay for smarthphones!) but I also make a conscious effort to look around and, in particular, to savor my food. How often do we go to restaurants with other people and focus more on the conversation than the food? That can be great too, of course, but there's something sort of zen about not doing anything but really tasting your food.
I have no doubt there are plenty of people who still think it's "sad" to see any woman eating alone in a decent restaurant but since those would be strangers whose opinions don't mean anything to me, why should I let them stop me from having a nice meal out?