Recently, I decided to take myself out to lunch. I hopped in my car and took the twenty-minute drive to one of my favorite chain restaurants to indulge in one of their salads–they are so good, and I am sorta kind of addicted. Anyway, after asking for a table for one and taking a seat in an out-of-the-way booth in the corner, I commenced placing my order.
When I eat alone, I usually bring a book to read or I listen to an audiobook while I visit my favorite blogs on my iPhone. When it comes to lunchtime, this is one of my favorite things to do–by myself.
While I sat and waited for my salad to arrive, a young man walked by my table and doubled back.
“Are you eating alone?” he asked.
“As attractive as you are, it’s surprising that you are eating by yourself,” he mused. And yes, I am paraphrasing.
“I like eating alone,” I said in response and he gave me The People’s Eyebrow. Like–is it hard to believe that I would choose to eat alone versus eating with a companion?
He continued on with his day and I was glad about this, as he was interrupting my audiobook listening and blog reading.
My salad arrived and the server, a young woman, asked if I need anything else. I told her no.
“Is someone else joining you?”
I try to smile. “Nope. It’s just me, myself, and I.”
She looked puzzled. “I could never eat by myself,” she said, almost as if she was embarrassed for me.
“I actually like to eat by myself. Sometimes, I prefer it.” I said.
When she walked away, I could tell that she was bewildered at my response, and it got me thinking. I am not sure how many times someone has chimed in about me eating alone when I was eating alone. It happens more than I’d like it to, and this puzzles me.
Is it a sin for someone to want to eat alone?
I’ve been told things like:
“You are far too pretty to be by yourself.”
“Don’t you have anyone to join you?”
“Where’s your man?”
All while sitting at my table for one minding my business. The truth is none of the above. I eat alone because I choose to. I want to. There are times when I go on a lunch date with friends and coworkers and there are times when I like to go solo. It doesn’t embarrass me to eat by myself and it doesn’t bother me that others are confused by it. Why does it have to mean that I am lonely or don’t have a man if I opt to eat alone?
I was married and I ate alone plenty of times. On purpose.
I had a man, been in relationships, and been engaged and I ate by myself often. Intentionally.
I have close girlfriends and I’ve turned down invitations to lunch in order to eat by myself.
I enjoy my own company sometimes, and I make no apologies.
Simply stated, I like eating alone.
The notion that one has to be lonely, unattractive, not wanted, or has no friends because they eat by themselves is something that I fail to understand. For many of us, it’s a choice. A preference. Nothing more.
So, boom let me make it really clear and plain: my name is Danyelle and I like to eat alone sometimes. And I do so because I want to.
Eating alone doesn’t mean I am desperate or I am unwanted. Neither of those things is true.
I think these types of black-and-white all-or-nothing views are terrible. We all don’t fit into a preconceived notion or ideal–some of us do what we like without caring what it looks like to others. And yes, some of us like eating alone. Some of us enjoy spending time with just ourselves. Some of us like being around other people without having someone to join us.
In fact, I don’t trust people who can’t be by themselves sometimes. It’s giving– that they are avoiding something about themselves, so they surround themselves around others. Or, is it me now being the judgmental one?
I know that this won’t be the last time that I will have to defend my table for one, and I guess that is okay, too. People are going to people and think what they want to think. This is just my place on the web to explain my position.
Do you like to eat alone? Are you appalled at the thought of a table for one? What are your thoughts?
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