'Just one?' at restaurants?

marilouApril 18, 2004

When you are eating alone, what have your experiences been? And your reactions?

Let me precede sharing my own experiences by saying that most of the time, I don't encounter problems. But when I *do*, it has been blatantly obvious that the reason is that I'm there alone.

Most of the time when the host/hostess that seats you wants to know how many are in your party, they simply look at me and ask "One today?" which I don't mind. But when they say "Just one?" it makes my hair stand on end! I want to say, "Gee, thanks for reminding me," as if seeing all the couples eating together would make me forget I'm alone.

I dislike being seated at crappy tables near the kitchen, bathrooms, etc., which happens a lot when I eat alone. I also have great difficulty finding coupons that a single person can use to eat out with (non-fast food places)--they are geared to couples (or two people) dining out together. You know, the buy one, get the second at half-price type things.

And while I'm at it, being forgotten by the waiter/waitress has happened once too often, too!

Am I the *only one* (pun intended!) that's had these experiences?

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Yes, I do not like when it is again emphasized, I am alone. Thanks.

When I do dine alone, it is now always business trips. I believe more are becoming used to seeing people alone. I had a great experience in one restaraunt to be seated at a table for those who were going to dine alone. There was the business traveler, the neighborhood widower, a wonderful mix. I did not have to just sit and read the paper.

I have bad experiences dining out with other female friends. For some reason, two females should *love* to sit next to screaming infants and kids. NOT!

I also think, waitstaff believes women are bad tippers. I am not, since I spent ten years waiting tables. I tip well according to the service.

I have had experiences both ways. It just depends on the sensitivity of the person, some can go out of their way to make you comfortable, others are just plain dense. Too bad, part of their living depends on it.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2004 at 1:26PM
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You have my admiration for being able to eat alone at restaurants. I can't do it I'm too self conscious. I have to get take out if I'm by myself. It's not just eating alone that gets you the bad tables. If you have kids you are automatically seated at the worst table and ignored as much as possible. I try to take my boys to a real restaurant often as I think it reinforces table manners and how to act in public. We are so used to it that yesterday we were in a restaurant where they were training new help and my teenager said it made him feel weird being waited on so promptly. Another funny thing that happens is when we walk in a restaurant if a man comes in behind us the host trys to include him in our party! This has happened often and I get dirty looks from the women who were really with the man in question!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2004 at 1:38PM
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I very seldom dine alone in a restuarant...i'm in the same group as char, where I do the take out route if I do go to one....It's not so much self concious for me as it is an attitude that if I am going to be enjoying my own company, I'm going to do it where I am comfortable (maybe its a small town attitude for me)....On the times when I have gone out, I have seen the same things you described though...seems like I have to drop a plate on the floor to get the waitresses attention...heh
Even at a fast food restuarant when I am traveling, I prefer to go to the driveup and eat in my car while reading the newspaper ,over going in and sitting down.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2004 at 2:35PM
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I'm with Char, figuratively speaking. I wouldn't dream of going to a restaurant alone, not in my wildest nightmares. Good grief! It's bad enough sitting for a few painful minutes in an open-air cafe waiting for a blind date to turn up. One feels so very conspicuous when alone, and I don't like it at all.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2004 at 5:37AM
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I eat out by myself all the time. I never could figure why folks say they wouldn't be caught dead eating out alone. They always say it's because of what other people would think of them, but I can't figure what people are thinking, mostly I have noticed they don't care two hoots about what I am doing, and I don't care what they think anyway. Now mind you I don't go to fancy restaurants, but I can't afford them anyway. But I'm on the road a lot so I eat out alone. Never had much problem, except ocassionally when someone says, "Are you with this group" pointing to another party waiting for a table, and then I just say, "Nope, I'm all by myself, just me, just one."

Now where I won't go by myself is to a bar. Denny's yes, but to a bar, nope. And I've missed out on some good concerts because I don't go to them alone either. To much hassle. If it's an easy to get to venue, something small and local yes, but if I have to travel somewhere out of the way I just don't have the motivation on my own.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2004 at 9:45AM
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I don't really like eating alone, but I MAKE myself do it every 6-8 weeks. When I was very single, I did it more often. I make myself do this just so that I realize that I CAN do it. I usually eat at a place where they serve at the bar and frequently bring some office papers with me. I usually try to coordinate this "event" after a day of SHOPPING in the big city (not really big, but compared to my hometown...). I just make it part of the fun and eat at a nicer place than usual. This helps me feel confident when I have to like lpinkmountain - when I'm traveling.

The only other thing I do by myself sometimes is catching a movie - it's not too bad and I get to see what I want! I never go to a bar by myself - just too selfconscious. But one of my friends does frequently - course, she grew up in this town and knows most everyone!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2004 at 6:20PM
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I'm sure part of my attitude is a male thing to an extent..Going to a bar alone never bothered me, but I think that was from living in Colo. Springs for a few years and playing in an organized pool league...every week it was a different venue...one week a biker bar, next week one full of cab drivers that delivered prostitutes between games..so after careful thought it may be with me that it's indeed the small town that I live in and I really don't want to interact with about 99 percent of the people here since half of them were friends of my ex...lol....see I can come to a realization and not even rant...oops, I am

    Bookmark   April 19, 2004 at 9:42PM
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I agree, it's not the easiest thing to do. I usually take something to read so I don't have that awkward "What do I do with myself when there's no one else there" feeling. And the type of restaurant makes a difference for me, too. While I'm not so inclined to dress up for a Saturday evening meal alone at a fine dining place, I am more likely to pick a more casual restaurant.

I do it because I deserve it! Same with movies, which I find are actually easier than restaurants because conversation with your companion isn't as much a factor.

Sadly perhaps, I think I'm so used to not having someone to talk to that I actually enjoy my own quiet* company. I don't have to think of something to say!

*When I'm not talking to myself. :o)

    Bookmark   April 20, 2004 at 2:08PM
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Hey TT I figured you'd say that you didn't mind going to a bar by yourself. I think that's one of the perks of being a single guy, you can go into a bar alone and not get hassled, at least a straight bar! :-) I have twice been attacked in a bar, and both times I was there with two guys. I wasn't stabbed or hit or anything, just had these drunks try to carry me off to the cave. Once I was at a blues club with two male friends and went up to the bar to get a drink, and while I was waiting for the bartender to bring the drink back some guy sidled up to me and said, "Are you alone?" and I replied, "No I'm here with my friend Harvey" which did not get me much of a response. So I think about these experiences when I've been WITH someone and can only extrapolate what it would be like alone. But then woman get hit on in the strangest places--elevators, "Do you come here often?" service stations, "I see you're not married," fruit stands, "I think I have some special apples in the back," at work, "Hey I've heard about you outdoorsy types," etc., etc., etc. When I'm all business and I have to deal with that crap it really, really annoys me, I find it amazingly disrespectful.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2004 at 4:10PM
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I agree about the eating alone thing - although I've been doing it lately, but not nice restaraunts (sp?). I've been eating in a diner alone for the last couple of days with a newspaper. Going to a nice place by yourself is awkward, cause you end up sitting there, surrounded by people yakking away, and what are you supposed to do - espescially when they take the menu away!!!
This is the important reason to make friends - even acquaintances - someone to go out to dinner with on a friday night.
Or you can find a nice place with a bar that serves food - with a friendly bartender.....
I've always gone to see movies by myself, I don't think that's at all unusual - besides, I just figure all those people watching me be by myself must be REALLY bored.....

    Bookmark   April 20, 2004 at 6:26PM
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lpink....yeah I know it's easier for a male, which is why I added the qualifier....I guess my point was that it's not so much a going out in public alone thing for dining or drinking as it is a choice, for me....I sympathize with women in bars, as I have seen the harassment that they get....amazing how a few drinks can make a man think that he is Gods gift to women.
I gave up the bar scene years ago mainly because, even though I am a smoker, the smoke is so prevelant that I wake up the next morning with a worse hangover than I ever get on one of my Absolut rants.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2004 at 7:25PM
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I've never been to a bar (we call them 'pubs' here) on my own - in fact I've rarely been in company, either! Mostly for the reasons described by lpinkmountain.

These days, I won't go there alone either. How humiliating it would be to sit there alone, on the hunt, and BE IGNORED!!!!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2004 at 5:58AM
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I dine out alone pretty regularly. I always take something to read. Yeah, I've had hostesses seat me at the undesirable table near the kitchen or the utensil caddy. I remember once, on vacation in Virginia Beach, my table for one at a jazz club was set so close to the stage that patrons thought I was a singer with the band! Don't know why restaraunt employees treat single diners so offhandedly - single ranks are rising and we represent a lot of cash. I'm a good tipper and tend to eat 3 courses. I have my favorite spots that treat me well, and I avoid Saturday night dining out. Weekdays, before prime time, are better.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2004 at 10:47AM
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