Confession time: I eat at restaurants alone sometimes.
And not restaurants like Panera or Au Bon Pain where you grab some food and can hibernate with your laptop for six hours.
I eat at 'real' sit-down restaurants and eat a 'real' meal that, depending on my level of starvation (I am literally only in 2 states of hunger: starving or foodbabied) may include even appetizers.
I know for a lot of women in particular, this seems like the oddest thing in the world to do.
I know that because on the occasions that I do go out, I get:
a) weird looks
b) questions from concerned elderly women
c) awkward older men trying to gauge if I am a prostitute (prostitutes apparently frequent Applebee's a lot?)
d) all of the above
My favorite is, "You're a young, attractive twenty-something, can't you get a nice fella to take you out?" While this kind of comment usually comes from a geriatric eighty-year old woman, I tend to hold my tongue. But in reality, I just want to scream "GLORIA STEINHEIM WOULD BE LIKE SO DISAPPOINTED IN YOU RIGHT NOW" and flip a table as everyone in the restaurant stands and begins to clap and some kind of power ballad plays in the background.
But really, what is the big deal?
Today I went out for just a nice lunch by myself and noticed that there were lots of people there sitting alone. But they were all.... men. Same thing with the dinner crowd, if there is a single table it is usually a man. And today I got the same looks and even had the waitress ask me twice if I was expecting someone and then looking a little uncomfortable that I was not.
Hello, didn't we have a women's liberation movement? Weren't some pretty nice and expensive bras burned so I could go eat some lunch on my own? I know we still get paid around 77 cents to the man's dollar, but can we at least enjoy some french toast solo?
I get that it is intimidating to enjoy a nice dinner out by yourself. But honestly, I am my own best friend. I love hanging out with myself, so why can't I enjoy going out by myself.
And Google "Women dining alone" and the one of the first two results you get are shit-for-brains articles like this: Site Solves International Crisis of Women Dining Alone. Really, dining alone is an international crisis?
I don't see it as that. And I'm not "sassy and single" either. I'm in a committed relationship with a boyfriend who works 6 nights a week at a Mexican restaurant and goddamnit, sometimes I want to go out after a long day at work and eat some nice food at a nice restaurant and not be stigmatized for it. Is that so much to ask?
So ladies, forget this nonsense. If your friends bail on you when you are already all gussied up and ready to go, TAKE YOURSELF OUT TO DINNER.
If your significant other is working later and you're bored at home and hungry, TAKE YOURSELF OUT TO DINNER.
If you are sassy and single and want a night on the town but all your friends are lame and have kids and stay in watching The Voice, TAKE YOURSELF OUT TO DINNER.
I promise you, the only pathetic people in the restaurant will be the ones judging you for being awesome.