Is it socially acceptable to dine and enjoy a drink alone?
I pondered this question recently when I took me, myself and I out on a dinner date while on a work assignment in Mount Isa, Queensland.
While sitting in a restaurant I observed that all the people around me had others with them – I was the only singleton in the room.
People engaged comfortably in chatter, took their time to select their chosen dishes from the menu and then returned to their conversation.
Generally I am very happy in my own company, however in restaurant scenarios I do feel that I falter.
I find I have to keep myself distracted and look like I’m busy doing other things, so that it appears that I’m still socially engaged in the world and not a loner with no one to sit with.
I am a foodie and do enjoy savouring my food and drink.
However as soon as I’m finished my meal, I have to reach for my phone.
God forbid if my phone ever ran out of batteries. I’d have to take to memorising the menu from front to back.
My alone status at the table in Mount Isa held an added complication.
I was further forced out of my regular ‘being comfortable with me’ space when I recognised someone in the restaurant.
I had interviewed this person for a story earlier in the week and she was on a quiet date with her partner.
I said hello but didn’t engage in further conversation so that they could be alone to enjoy their night.
To avoid unnecessary eye contact, (their table was situated in front of mine) I had to resort to my phone to text my mum and partner to share my predicament.
There really should be a manual written for what to do and what not to do when dining alone.
I could have used it!
A trip to the movies, on the other hand, was an entirely different experience.
Instead of worrying about my loud eating habits and distracting other movie-goers around me, I selected a seat away from others and happily chomped down my popcorn.
Be bold, get out of your comfort zone and give it a go. You won’t regret it.
Liz Langdale is a journalist with Fairfax Media.