not the same place

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All my adult life I’ve popped into restaurants, cafes, bars without being accompanited by another person.  yes, ALONE.  Iet out in public alone.  Somehow I’d managed to miss that this is not something people easily do.

lovelly foodThen Mr. London Street wrote a blog post encouraging his readership to eat alone. He mentioned that this doesn’t instantly appeal and may be stigmatised. At first I was baffled. What is this stigma? Why would someone not want to eat in a restaurant alone?  I thought, poor chap I wonder what is wrong with him to make him think and feel like that.  Then his readers comments showed he was describing something they recognised and understood.  A shared experience for many, though not all, of them.   

If eating alone in restaurants was once difficult for me, I’ve forgotten it. I have noticed how being a lone customer in a restaurant has changed over the decades. In the early 1990’s staff would show me to a seat out of sight, towards the back of the restaurant. As if a woman eating alone in a restaurant was indeed stigmatised.  In those days, with my mobile phone, book, and note pad I was happy with good light, good food and some table space for sketching. Now, in the naughties, I am more often seated near the window, as if the sight of a single woman eating in their restaurant is a positive thing.  Still happy with my notepad, handheld, book and now with a digital camera.

I drop by Mr. London St‘s blog occassionally because his writing appears to tap into something that his readers empathise with and admire. He lives in Reading town, but not in the same place I live.  He often writes things that his commenters empathise with, but I don’t. Consequently, his writing often makes me feel unique, even special. 

Excellent.

not the same place
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8 bits of lovely banter on “not the same place”

  1. Bux writes:

    Wendy my dear, this is why we love you. You are definitely NOT A4.

    It took me years before I would even have a coffee alone, now I do it all the time but I still feel ill at ease and don’t always savour my favourite treat – a wonderful cafe latte!

    As for dining alone, I’m not quite brave enough and I always have great admiration for folk who do not need the company of others to go out and enjoy themselves!

    PS: As you can see….I’m open for business again.

    Bx

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    wendy writes

    welcome back Bux, and on star form with a poem. I class myself as having a different sensitivity bar to others which has its advantages (walk into a restaurant and order a meal for one without a second thought) and disadvantages (expect others to be able to do the same things – be insensitive)

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  2. Kevin writes:

    Things have definitely changed in the past ten years. It’s very uncommon these days to find yourself stuck on the “afterthought” table next to the staff toilets.

    I still find it uncomfortable sitting in a restaurant without a prop such as a book or a notebook, but that’s more to do with me than anything else.

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    wendy writes

    Without a ‘prop’, a really interesting view or conversation to eavesdrop on nearby I can get bored.
    If I dont have a prop to hand I normally ask the establishment ‘have you got today’s paper I can read?’. If they don’t, I do a good disappointed ‘Oh’ and look as if they’ve let me down rather than me feeling silly for not bringing my own pocket entertainment… …sometimes someone at another table hears and offers me a paper. Sometimes read ‘The Sun’.

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  3. Happy Frog and I writes:

    Hi Wendy, as soon as I saw MLS has written that post I thought of you! I love eating out in restaurants on my own, but I do vaguely remember a time when I was not supposed to like it, when it was supposed to be something you didn’t do as a woman on your own. I did it anyway! But you have reminded me that in the 1990s they put me in the back of the restaurant too. Maybe we were sitting near each other at one point and never even knew!

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  4. Scarlet writes:

    I always thought I was really cool – buying a drink in a pub on my own and reading a book. I was and you are.
    Sx

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  5. wendy writes:

    clearly I mainly(though not exclusively) mix with the pluckier of special ladies, which partly explains why I didnt realise that this isn’t a common experience. Hoorah for pluckiness!

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  6. Poochner writes:

    At a previous job, I had to travel a good bit, so I got used to eating alone, in unfamiliar towns. At the time, 10-20 years ago, it was out of the ordinary, in most situations. The exception was eating in the hotel restaurant. Often the food wasn’t the best, and it would be over-priced, but they were used to single travelers. These days, I don’t travel much at all, but I still eat out alone. Ordinary places do seem to treat single diners better, you’re right.

    As for the cinema, I’d rather go on my own, in any case. I don’t have to compromise on what to see, and I don’t have to deal with someone from my party trying to converse in the middle of it. There would be an exception made for shriek-inducing horror films; you have to have someone you can grab, after all 🙂

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