Confession: I actually love dining alone. “What! Why? Are you a loser?” you gasp.
I hope not, but let me explain. On dates, I feel the need to keep up a performance by constantly filling the space with polite yet witty conversation. With friends, multi-tasking abilities are limited which means it’s impossible to divulge the details of my latest Tinder escapade while wrestling with Spaghetti Marinara.
Here are some other benefits I’ve discovered since going solo.
1. I’ll Take Ten, Thanks.
When dining alone, you can be as greedy or picky as you like without anyone judging you. Want to take the top off your hamburger and just eat the filling? Go right ahead! Want no carrots in your carrot cake? No worries! (Just FYI, your waiter hates you).
I know it’s tempting to use your phone as ‘protection’ by looking ‘distractedly cool’ when dining alone, but hear me out on this one. When you put your phone away and take in the hustle and bustle of the world going on around you, you see funny, amazing things that you can have a giggle to yourself about and keep in your Vault of Funnies to refer back to when you’re feeling less than peachy.
You can really savour every detail of what you’re eating without being distracted by the person opposite you. You can take time to inhale the scent of the food and watch your physiological reaction to it – whether it’s your mouth watering, your stomach doing a jig in anticipation… all of which contribute to being more aware of yourself and your reactions. And while doing all this, there’s no-one sitting across the table giving you a weirdo look.
4. Drink Up!
As a single diner, you can sit at the bar where all the action is and receive preferential treatment from the bartender, who usually welcomes the company and is happy to conversate. Hell, if you’re gifted enough at the gab you might even score the occasional free drink, because there’s only one of you to please. And we all know dining alone is a cinch when sloshed – everyone becomes your friend.
5. Doggy Baggin’
We’ve all done it at least once in our lives and we secretly think about it every time we’re about to leave, but usually don’t because A) You look cheap and B) it’s awkward lugging around a half-eaten hotdog while chatting up a hottie at the club. Oh this old thing? It’s just a wallet. With bread inside.
But when you’re dining alone, you’re usually going home after or are in the company of someone who doesn’t mind if you’re doggy bagging it – YOURSELF! Plus that night’s leftovers make a banging midnight snack. So go ahead, ask for it: I’ll grab a container for that, thanks.