Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Dining alone

Last evening I went to a pub where I was supposed to meet people from my office for a "night out, team building" thing. My office probably has 30 plus people working there and they were all invited. I was the only one who showed. So much for team building.

However, I had a grand time. I've travelled alone and lived alone enough to learn to eat dinner out by myself and enjoy it.I'd never been to this pub before, but I'll be back.

Should I admit what I ate? Oh, why the heck not. This place, McGee's, had an "oyster shuck" last night. I ordered an appetiser of oysters, thinking this would be 4 to 6. It was 12. And they were wonderful. A bit of hot sauce, some horseradish and cocktail sauce. . . . yummy. But I really wanted fish and chips and thought that just because I had more oysters than I'd planned didn't mean I should deprive myself. Another yum. And the Guiness was fine, of course, but I also tried a beer I'd never had before. Three yums. And what the heck. I was there nearly three hours, so having dessert wasn't out of line, was it? I can sum up dessert in one word: warmpecanpieandvanillaicecream!

If my new dog wouldn't have been home by herself, I would have stayed a bit longer and had my tarot cards read. The tarot reader was just about to start when I left. But responsibility called me home.

The servers liked their jobs. It was easy to tell. They were really hosts and concerned with making sure that I didn't feel uncomfortable. They needn't have worried, but it made me think.

Why is it that people are uncomfortable being in public "alone?" We really aren't alone if we're in public, are we? And we probably wouldn't be uncomfortable to be home alone. But there is some sort of stigma attached to going out alone - to be seen to be alone. Oh, the poor dear has been stood up. Oh the poor dear has no friends, no mate. If we are one of two or more at a table, we're much less likely to wonder what strangers are thinking of us or if they are looking at us.

First of all, why should I care? What other people think of me is really none of my damned business. If they are spending their time wondering why I'm eating alone, they really need to get a life. Secondly, if I am dining with someone, I want to concentrate on the other person as well as the restaurant experience. When I'm dining alone, I find myself able to totally concentrate of the food, the music, the ambiance.

If you haven't acquired the skill of dining (going to a movie, concert, museum, etc.) alone, I think you may want to considering developing it. I mean, if you don't want to spend time with you, who else would?

Go, Team!


  1. Amen sister! I learned the art of enjoying aloneness a few years ago. It was uncomfortable at first, but I love it now. Thanks for the great post!

  2. sounds like a great time! I would love to have that experience!

  3. I have sat in many cafes, bars, on beaches, in forests, mountains, supposedly alone. The realization being that you are never alone. Alone is a condition of the ego but given true alone time we see how much more the experience is us than the little I is us.

    The experience of the pub, the food and so on was surely much richer than it would have been in a group of 30 all competing for their bit of attention.

    You may never have given so much attention to each sip of Guinness if you had the office bore in one ear and a chatterbox in the other.

  4. I total agree. However, don't discount that others' gazes may be envy. Or, in the case of a male, flirting.

  5. Thanks. I try never to miss a flirt!

  6. What an insightful observation!! Why DO people feel uncomfortable sitting alone? I agree too that your pub experience was much richer without the big group.

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