Saturday 18 November 2017

A table for how many? The perils of dining alone

Her pals were busy, and Elle Gordon was peckish, so she entered new millenial territory: solo dining sans phone

Solo dining: Elle Gordon
Solo dining: Elle Gordon

I dined alone the other day, just to see. Lone diners, I think, are considered a strange breed. Where are the chats? Where is the gossip? What would be the point? Well, I was hungry, the girls were occupied, and, really, I just wanted to see what it would be like. I walked into one of the healthy-eating restaurants that have popped up in Dublin recently. Its trendy status was signalled by the array of spinach-and-kale-esque options adorning the menu.

The friendly waitress who greeted me as I sat down - admittedly, at a table laid for four - gawked at me. Her eyebrows disappeared momentarily, and her voice whooshed up several octaves when I confirmed that it would, in fact, just be me. "Just one?" she squawked. "Alone?" "Yes," I said firmly.

I'd read that should you decide to dine alone, you should bring along a book or a laptop, which signals to other diners, "Look, I have to get this done, and figure it would be nice to do it over a plate of food". I had brought nothing - mainly because to do so seemed like too much effort for what is really a simple want: get food in ma belly.

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