I get looks of faint amusement, pitying giggles, comments and stumbled upon by rogue kiddies who break away from their families and arrive at my table looking slightly bemused as to how they got there in the first place.
It’s funny how people stop and stare. No, I am not sporting an outlandish hairstyle, nor am I dressed in any attention grabbing threads. Wait for it, all I’m doing is enjoying a fabulous dinner… for one!
Before you get going on theories of how I must lack a social life or have anti-social tendencies, let me assure you that contrary to what it may look like to the independent observer, I am often out there having a blast.
Dining with friends, family and huge parties of people, all have their place, but here’s a quick summary of why dining solo has so much of appeal to me.
1- It clears my mind
If you had to imagine a glass filled with some kind of carbonated soft drink,(the kind that I give a wide berth nowadays, but anyways for purposes of illustration, just work with me ok?) Well I see my mind beginning to relax in that same happy go lucky manner as each bubble in the glass. Rising to the surface and popping away, one little bubble at a time. It’s kind of like lying on a spa bed, who knows it may even be the next socially acceptable moment to catch a discreet forty winks before the food arrives.
2- I get to eat exactly what I want!
Yay! No company means I get to choose exactly where I go and order exactly what I want to eat! Got a hankering for pizza? That’s where I’m heading. A craving for the most gorgeous, succulent seafood? Well guess what I’m going to have!
No offense folks, but sometimes waiting for somebody to take a hundred years to decide that all they want is a little garden salad on their plate can be a little bit of a ‘snore fest’. Not to mention a party of spirited people who want to split and swap entrée’s and mains, when I’m quite happy with my steaming hot mussel pot and roll, thank you very much! There is a time and a place for that, but not now, as I stretch out blissfully ‘alone’ at my table for one. Watch as I rest my feet on the rungs of the second chair, listen to music (headphones in) on my phone, write idly in my notebook and savour each and every delicious bite. Which brings me to my next point.
3- Dining solo is a chance to be fully present at my meal
I’m not about to go all ‘new age’ on you, but with all the laughing, sharing, entertaining and socializing, do we ever really get to enjoy the food on our plates? On the other hand, when I am alone, I have the time to appreciate the layered multi-dimensional taste of my tramezzini. With dignity, purpose and a deep love, I taste the smoky combination of the chicken robed delicately by a layer of mozzarella cheese, kissed by a whisper of herbs, my senses tickled by the burst of sun-ripened tomato sauce and an ooze of avocado… Get the picture?
4- I get more creative ideas
It’s funny how this works. Where do you think I had the inspiration for this article after all? At a solitary meal of course! Whether I’m at an old school,whimsical bohemian outdoorsy coffee shop or some mod establishment, dining alone gives me time to fuel my senses with new and fresh ideas. Whether it’s the ants walking through the outdoor, cobble-stoned flooring or the subtle lighting and the bright red couches in a more indoors setting, I am always glad that I had the time to notice tiny beautiful details and follow the train of thought, simply because I am dining alone.
So next time you happen upon me eating out somewhere alone, at a restaurant, takeaway, coffee shop, whatever it may be. Consider that while you may think that I cut this lonely, miserable figure. Be very aware the I could very well be having the time of my life!