Correct me if I’m wrong, but if you’re single, roommate or no, you probably eat alone the majority of the time.
I do. And have, for nearly the past decade. Except on dates, the few occasions I eat with my brother while we watch Youtube, and the rare all-family dinner, I eat alone. I eat breakfast in the car on the way to work on in front of my computer. I eat lunch either in my car during the work day or also in front of my computer. I eat dinner…the same way. See above.
I never really thought about it, to be honest. I mean, food’s food, right?
Then I went to Korea, where food and community and bonding are tightly twisted and knotted together, leading to taboos for eating alone. There’s a whole Korean drama about a woman who finds an eating pal because she loves to eat and can’t eat in restaurants alone. I mean, we don’t really do that in America, either, but it wouldn’t be that big of a deal.
I was thinking about while eating a salad a few days ago, because it’s not easy to eat a salad delicately. Unless you take the trouble to cut up all your lettuce into easy-to-fit-on-fork pieces, you’re stabbing some big leafy bits that inevitably end up depositing a nice rim of dressing around your mouth on the way in. It’s irritating, but when you eat alone, who cares?
So then I thought, whew, it’s a good thing I’m not on a date, because then I’d have to spend some brainpower to make sure I wasn’t being Ralphie’s kid brother Randy on A Christmas Story. “Show me how the piggy eats,” indeed.
Maybe no one else has this issue. Maybe most other people learn to eat nicely when they’re young and it just takes hold so they never have to think about it again, like holding your pencil the right way. So they don’t have to think in their cars about how much thought they’ll have to put in on dates. Maybe. Or maybe most people are like me, slobs and messy when they’re alone and have time to fix their makeup before going back in to work, and overly careful on dates and in public because eating cleanly isn’t a habit.
Or…just maybe, I’m overthinking this. Well, that’s what being an adult means, right? Overthinking, worrying about dates, and being alone in cars during lunch to get away from work. Yeah, nailing this thing.
Is there anything you do that makes you wonder if you’re the only one who does it?
4 thoughts on “I always eat alone; Stories of Adulthood”
I remember when eating out ALONE was a big deal. I’d psych myself up for it. Bring a book, tried to look cool and alright about the whole thing. Feel super independent and then go back to my hotel room or where ever.
Now it feels perfunctory. And while I’m eating out (alone or not) I’ll look around to see who else is eating alone. I look around.
But yeah, the adult thing. No one tells you, get used to eating alone, kid. We’re so eager to grow up and the when we do…
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Yeah, and the thing is, it’s totally normal for me now. I don’t eat out alone ever, but then I don’t really enjoy eating out all the much anyway. But eating alone at home or work is just…how it is. I don’t feel sad or lonely or weird about it. But once I’m eating with someone, my version of “normal” will no doubt change.
Wow, that statement was quite a self-realization: “we spend most of our meals eating alone.” This is so true. I eat breakfast alone, lunch alone, and most of the time dinner. It sounds sad, but really, it doesn’t bother me much (when I’m at home or the office, anyway).
Eating alone at a restaurant was a big fear I had to get over. I also think in the US it’s super crazy taboo to eat alone. In Japan (the land of loneliness) it’s not weird at all for someone to go out alone–unless they’re getting bbq (yakiniku/kbbq). There’s even a Japanese drama about an eccentric guy who likes to be alone, and he goes to bbq and karaoke alone, haha. It’s funny, but also says a lot about the culture.
When I first moved to Dallas I got stir-crazy and I wanted to go out, but I was so self-conscious… even now. I finally mustered the courage to go to a few ‘casual’ places and get a glass of wine and read a book alone, but I think Dallas is not the kinda place where you go out to eat alone.
Anyway, going out to eat alone is a skill and, especially as a woman, a testament to conquering loneliness.
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I’ve often wanted to go to Japan for that reason alone. Being able to eat alone in public without feeling weird about it is attractive. And I agree, Dallas, and I think most places in the US, are not good for eating out alone.