Thursday 16 October 2008

Table for 1 Please!

...anytime of the day it's a completely normal thing to hear or say, post 8pm it's considered tragic...what on earth makes us feel this way?

I learnt that eating out alone isn’t tragic at all…unless you’re in a hip down town restaurant on Valentines Day or Christmas Eve …then feel free to be sad, because you are, if I was single I wouldn’t be caught dead in a restaurant dining alone.

Well I used to have a boyfriend, so the need for table for 1 never really occurred. Now that I am single, it still never really happens due to the large number of good friends I have around me and my networking schedule doesn’t allow me to dine alone, as there is always someone to see or something to meet about, So unless it’s in the daytime at Starbucks or in some joint grabbing a quick bite you wouldn’t hear me utter the words – Table for 1 please or no it’s just me!!. The fact that I feel it’s sad to go out to dinner to a nice restaurant on my own is really getting to me though hence this blog– I resent the feeling, why should I feel like that? What makes us feel like that? Is it people’s expectations? Judgment?

We all have the same dilemma, we don’t even realise it, we are all conditioned to pick up the phone and dial a friend’s number to accompany us to our favourite restaurant or to the theatre! Even when some of us could really do with some alone time, just because people will probably look and think “wow eating alone!” You see I don’t think people would necessarily find it sad, they’ll find it endearing and feel envious, wishing they could have the guts to do that themselves.

Well…I eat alone but mostly on holidays since I travel alone most of the time, I have no issue in getting a table for one, also knowing that you'll always have someone join you for a drink or desert especially when you're an attractive young lady – That’s right gentlemen I am. But I don’t always accept the company; sometimes I get on with writing my travel journals and report my daily adventures, in my–try-to-be witty but inevitably failed way.

It is a different story once you're back in town. I would feel rather weird going to dinner alone unless it's my local place where they'd know me and I'd feel like I am at home or if I was waiting for someone or doing some research or reading, it’s almost as though you need an armour and a book, a blackberry or newspaper provide just that.

Now the cinema is a different story. I respect people who go to the cinema alone, no no I go one more I encourage them to do so. What is wrong with that? I got a few sad looks from some people once because I was alone!! I laughed, I mean what’s wrong with going alone to a place where you need to keep quiet anyway…you wont be having a meaningful conversation and going solo is recommended for so many reasons, where do I start; you get to choose your seat without anybody interfering with their specific requirements of – the seat has to be 5 rows down and 10 up, with 7 seats one each side! The arm rest is mine on the left so you can have the one on the right but I also get to hog the one between us because you got to choose the movie. What a palaver it must be to be in a couple.
Go alone and enjoy the experience which you’ve paid for, you come out and there is still plenty of time to get together with your friends and talk about the movie.

It can be the same for theatres or museums. For me these experiences are to be cherished so best to go alone, obviously there are exceptions where it’s best to be accompanied for museums visits so you can bounce ideas off one another and share knowledge of paintings or pieces. And musicals or theatre, well just to dance together at the end when they make you all stand up! (cringeworthy really)

I have come to the conclusion over the years that sometimes yourself is the best company you can ever wish for and spending time with yourself is a very positive, cherished, enlightening and above all a relaxing experience so maybe we should all stop worrying and set ourselves the challenge of asking for a table for one after 8pm, maybe start off with just a coffee, second time maybe a quick salad and if you feel totally comfortable with it, go for the whole meal, after all I am the best person I can ever be with so why not have dinner with ME.


  1. Have you ever tried Meetup group(s)?
    Not bad for a casual diner or any other cultural activity. Plus you could meet your future (Algerien or whatever) husband.
    Nice blog by the way...

  2. No never even heard of these meetup groups! I will take a look.
    Thanks Allison

  3. Here's the trick - arriving at restaurant, ask for a table for two, preferably one of those romantic tables near the window with a candle. Bring a rose. Just say your date will be arriving very soon and you'll order then. You can then use 20 minutes to write in travel journals, write novel, etc. After endless waiting, announce to waiter that you've been stood up, that callous so-and-so. Hold back a tear, bravely of course. But you may as well order some food since you are there and hungry.
    Result? More attention from staff, especially cute waiter (which is the reason you chose that restaurant and that table), than a single snowflake falling on the Met office on christmas. The chef will probably come out to serve you the complimentary chocolate dessert and glass of grappa. .

    Admittedly this little bit of fun lacks in maturity, open honesty, being sensible. Completely duplicitous in fact. I'd never do this.

  4. You have a wild imagination admittedely or you always dreamt of doing it :)

    I like it, though I don't think I can do it either...

  5. Truth? I did do it once , at Pizza Express in Soho. It was a little bit true because I had been stood up but that happened before I got to the restaurant. Don't remember the date who had done the standing up (correct grammar??) but still recall long chat with pretty waitress. Didn't follow up with her though - would have had to explain myself.


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