The Art of Eating Alone-Table for One Please!

This is the sequel to my fearless living series 101…check out the initial article http://lifestylewellbeing.com/my-valentine-experiment-fearless-living-101/

it was valentine’s day, she’s in her twenty’s , she’s single, and absolutely did not want to stay home sulking, munching on caramel milk chocolate watching re-runs of sex and the city or her usual Korean drama series, which would have still been great; but she wanted to experiment with something different.

Most people totally dread the idea of going out to eat by themselves in a restaurant, majority have actually never done it because of the fear of how they will be perceived if they sit in a restaurant by themselves and eat a full course meal, others would do it occasionally if that’s their last resort, while some others who could do it anyway but not on a special day like valentine’s day. It’s too sad, too lonely, too upsetting to sit in a restaurant dining by self watching others dine as a couple and you by yourself on a day meant to be shared with a loved one… for that reason, this is a presumed fear carried around by majority of individuals, not only do they fear being able to enjoy a meal in their own company and relish in the moment but worse to even fathom the idea of dining on a special occasion or a day like valentine’s by themselves.

That twenty-something single girl is me, who did go out on valentine’s day to dine in her own company. I really wanted to explore all built in emotion I had left in me, remnant emotion from previous relationship, plus explore the sudden fear and feeling of suffocation I was experiencing that day, easiest thing would have been to sit home but then I wondered, how many people make life all about sad experiences especially when it shouldn’t be, I wondered how many ladies out of desperation end up with the wrong guy or in the wrong crowd to avoid feeling alone on a day like that, I wondered how many people really see the beauty in celebrating themselves not just on such a day but on any given day, by being able to truly enjoy their own company not just by going out to eat, but by doing other activities such as enjoying going to see a movie or an event by themselves without feeling like doing things alone is absolutely pathetic.

Sometimes life happens to us where we find ourselves away from our friends, family or loved ones and we’ve just got to result to enjoying activities by ourselves and be content with that for that time, be able to embrace those moments instead of feeling bad or spending energy wishing we had someone to share those alone times with. When we travel to a foreign location away from everyone we really know, or if you’re like me who relocated to a new country for college and end up residing in a small town for the time being where all your college friends have moved away from, and your family even though in the same country live in another state, or when we complete a romantic relationship with a partner who we’ve been so used to doing every thing with and then suddenly not any more… those are some of the reasons why we might end up having to resort to dining alone, or enjoying activities by ourselves.

There is a difference between alone and lonely
There is an art to be able to enjoy our own company and relish in the activities we occupy ourselves with
There is especially an ART to dining alone and making the experience fabulous every single time.

Let’s dig right in!

1. Appear like you would if you were on a date: It is easy to underestimate the power and psychology behind our outer appearance. This has nothing to do with our weight on the scale but everything to do with how we feel about ourselves inside which ultimately correlates to how we adorn ourselves on the outside, but then again I guess everything is linked somehow. If we feel uncomfortable with how we look, probably with our acne issue or our weight issue, or even our closet issue-you know the multiple times where we look into our closet full of clothes but still feel like we have nothing to wear out? That’s the psychology we battle with and that influences how we dress, what we do and how comfortable we can get with our own self to even witness the art in dining by ourselves. If we can truly get comfortable with our bodies and love our imperfections; then it will be reflected in our sense of style, which would make it much easier for us to be comfortable enough to sit in our company without being judgemental on ourselves while we are at it, without being too self-conscious about how we look, or who is looking at us at that moment, but rather we can enter the restaurant looking and feeling our best, sit comfortably, be confident to begin ordering that meal and not giving a hoot about what others in the restaurant might be thinking about you beauty sitting by your fabulous self daring to devour that meal- trust me when I say people nowadays are too self centered anyway to notice others other than themselves, so enjoy that meal anyway!

2. Don’t be afraid to stir up a conversation: If you are on a trip by yourself in Italy or Paris, you know dining out is one of the best ways to find a companion. You’re curious, you’re exploring, you’re in a vacation mode or a soul searching journey- you wonder about how not to miss an opportunity of meeting your Romeo perhaps, so you put on that outgoing and exciting vest on, you feel ready to mingle and if possible score! whatever that means to you! That’s where the art comes into play, you don’t have to be in Italy or Paris to feel this way, when ever you get to go out to dine you can be excited about it and take genuine interest in people, A restaurant or an eatery is a melting pot anyway where you can run into people from diverse backgrounds and all walks of life, so be excited and get yourself feeling like a tourist when you go dine by yourself. If its a restaurant that has a bar area, that’s a more convenient section to dine at because you can easily form conversations with the bartender or the person sitting next to you, you can talk about the game they are playing on the TV there or give a genuine compliment, talk about the food or the drink, cheers to something at the end, that’s a score! When I dined by myself on Valentine’s day after eating my full course meal, I walked to the bar area and it was three people sitting there, a guy and two ladies, all came individually, so I walked up there with my drink in my hand and said “I guess we are the bold ones who could foster up the guts to dine by ourselves on such a special day” and they all laughed, we all got chatting on why we were out and what we thought of what the day signified for most people, one of the ladies said her husband was deployed by the army so she decided to bring herself out, the guy said he came to town to visit his sick mother…and so on. We raised our glasses to coming out regardless on valentine’s day and I said my good-bye because I was done with my meal and ready to leave, but having that ten minutes of chatting with other people made my experience even better. And if you can’t sit by the bar, your servers are usually going to be good at checking on you more often than usual, and you can stir up brief conversations with them, just leave a descent tip afterwards!

3. Books, pens, magazines, journals, ipads, laptops, – All do the trick. Hold with you a newspaper, or a magazine, anything can keep you company while you’re out dining by yourself. It does not need to be all stiff and rigid, -get creative! that’s the art in the experience and where the fun lies in. Have fun while dining. When I was working on a project which the deadline was due, I got my laptop and all my materials and went to a restaurant that had Wi-Fi access for free, I asked them If I could set up my laptop, they were totally cool about it. They gave me a booth that had an external circuit where I could charge up my laptop as I worked and it was the coolest booth in the restaurant, big counter space for all my papers and research materials. I ordered a mug of beer and a cheese burger with country fries, while I got my job done at the same time. People definitely approached me out of curiosity, I just told them I had a deadline to meet on a project, they looked really impressed, the music playing in the background was a total bliss..and I had a good time. Didn’t feel lonely atall, and I completed my project-that’s Art!

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