Why there is no shame in dining out alone

Enjoy your dinner for one.

Enjoy your dinner for one. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

An agency was set up a few years ago to connect solo female diners with other solo female diners; the not so sub-text being that dining alone is an horrific state for a woman to find herself in.

Well, I have always enjoyed dining alone. Admittedly, I haven't enjoyed the sometimes headache of getting from restaurant door to table without incident.

Typically, an empty restaurant which refuses to seat me at one of their numerous vacant tables for four 'in case' a group of diners enter the establishment. Yes, some restaurants favour the sensibilities of non-existent diners to the flesh and blood paying customer standing in front of them.

Would Madame care, instead, to sit at this table for one near the Gents?

In defence of most restaurants, however, I have to say my experience of solo dining has been enjoyable and without incident.

So of interest is the alleged terror of some women having to utter the dreaded words 'Table for one, please,' and the pointed stares of other diners. Another reason to have stayed home with one's dignity wrapped around a mug of cocoa and a good murder mystery.

Although, apparently one way of not sending out the message of sexual prowler or sad spinster is to bring along reading material.

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The Economist, perhaps, or the latest fashionable but unfathomable Booker-winning prize novel? The message being 'I'm cultured and powerful and made a conscious choice to dine solo'. Do people really care that much about solo diners in this day and age? I doubt it. They are probably more preoccupied with the well-doneness or not of their steak and whether the wine waiter spat in the drink they've sent back for the nth time.

And it could be that any stares are stares of envy that you've managed to carve out 'you time' in what looks like excellent company.