Is eating alone in a restaurant now a big taboo?

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Joe90
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03 Dec 2019, 5:57 am

naturalplastic wrote:
Joe90 wrote:
It must be an American thing to judge people who are eating alone, because seriously in the UK nobody gives two hoots about it.

My boyfriend is a bus-driver and if he's driving a bus out of town he's got no choice but to eat alone at a restaurant.


Englebert is a singer from the UK. He doesn't agree.


More than one tear jerking pop song has used the line "a table for one" as a metaphor for loneliness.

If youre talking about a formal sit down restaurant with waiters...yes its weird to dine alone. Always has been. Not just "now".

Dinners, and fast food places, and "truck stops", are different. Either way, eating alone or not, is the norm because its fast food.

Some places are kinda borderline. The waitstaff at Ihop seemed to be a bit thrown when I tell them I am a party of one.


So by "restaurant" you're not talking about cafes? Those are the places I go to eat lunch at if I'm going to have lunch out and it isn't unusual to see people eating alone.


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mfs4002
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03 Dec 2019, 6:28 am

Why even worry about eating alone? It’s pretty nice. You get to just eat and not have to do anything else but what you are there for!! Which is to fill your belly.



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03 Dec 2019, 7:28 am

Joe90 wrote:
naturalplastic wrote:
Joe90 wrote:
It must be an American thing to judge people who are eating alone, because seriously in the UK nobody gives two hoots about it.

My boyfriend is a bus-driver and if he's driving a bus out of town he's got no choice but to eat alone at a restaurant.


Englebert is a singer from the UK. He doesn't agree.


More than one tear jerking pop song has used the line "a table for one" as a metaphor for loneliness.

If youre talking about a formal sit down restaurant with waiters...yes its weird to dine alone. Always has been. Not just "now".

Dinners, and fast food places, and "truck stops", are different. Either way, eating alone or not, is the norm because its fast food.

Some places are kinda borderline. The waitstaff at Ihop seemed to be a bit thrown when I tell them I am a party of one.


So by "restaurant" you're not talking about cafes? Those are the places I go to eat lunch at if I'm going to have lunch out and it isn't unusual to see people eating alone.


I think this is about a bit finer places to eat, not ordinary cafes or fast food places.
I often eat alone in those types of places, but I'm a small income person so I can't go often, which is probably why any staring doesn't really bother me.



trallic
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03 Dec 2019, 8:36 am

I definitely don't think so. I go out to eat pretty commonly, and have never felt like anyone cared one way or the other. I'm often in a college town area, so that's part of it maybe, but even when I'm not, I've never noticed a difference, really. It can be nice to stop in somewhere for lunch and read by myself.



EzraS
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03 Dec 2019, 8:49 am

I think a lot of it depends on where it's taking place.

There are some cities and towns where nothing goes unnoticed and there's a lot of scrutinizing others.

In other cities and towns most everyone is oblivious, apathetic regarding others and purposely ignore them in a setting like a restaurant.



kraftiekortie
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03 Dec 2019, 8:58 am

Most people don’t really care in NYC.



shortfatbalduglyman
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03 Dec 2019, 10:37 pm

Your post brings up a good point:

Maybe the reason why someone is looking at you wierd has nothing to do with your solo dining


Outside the restaurant does anyone look at you wierd?

What kind of clothes are you wearing?

Do you eat in an unusual way (according to someone else)?



Granted I hardly ever go to restaurants , but I find it hard to imagine that someone would hate you for eating alone



Leon_Trotsky
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03 Dec 2019, 11:14 pm

In general people stare at me in public and in meetups because they probably dislike me for no logical reason. However, when I eat alone in restaurants it seems like the amount of people who stare at me is a lot higher than in other situations.

I do not know if I eat weird, because I usually do not eat with friends or acquaintances. I usually eat alone or with my parents. And since people tend to stare at my parents when they themselves eat alone, they do not even know why they would be staring at me since they have the same problem.

Unlike most Americans, I eat British/European style, i.e. fork in left hand, knife in right hand, and spoon in left hand if needed. I never ever switch my fork to the right hand. Although I am not sure if the people who stare at me really care about the minutæ of my dining etiquette.

The only out of place clothing pieces that I have are 1960s aviator glasses. Perhaps that is considered rare for a 30 year old. Sometimes I wear 1970s-style chequered/plad button-down shirts.

It is not like when I was younger, when I used to wear tie-dye shirts and hippie clothing. On occasion I would wear my parents' old disco jackets and bellbottoms, which is probably not common for someone born in 1989. But right now I do not wear those things.



envirozentinel
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03 Dec 2019, 11:38 pm

I think you must just be yourself and not pay attention to people who judge by outward appearances or think you should conform to certain expected norms. They should occupy their minds with something more useful.

Here in my country, we also eat with fork or spoon in the left hand and a knife in the right. Generally the style here has become pretty casual and the UK influence had become pretty Americanized and we have that ultimate in fast food travesties called McDonalds.


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03 Dec 2019, 11:56 pm

for some of us at the bottom of the income distribution, mickey-d's is a rare treat and only with coupons.



Dial1194
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04 Dec 2019, 2:45 am

It's only a problem for people who like to think such things are problems. I flat out ignore such people and eat wherever I like, whenever I like. Their own choice if they decide to get their panties in a bunch about it.

It's not even a taboo. It's flat-out marketing. Groups of people are more profitable for the entertainment and hospitality industry, even on a per-person basis, than singletons. *ALL* advertising for those industries pushes the image of the group of friends (or, less often, an entire family) enjoying the product or service. Thus, people who don't actually think about the things they see start assuming that the services MUST be consumed in groups for some unspoken social reason, and feel uncomfortable (without knowing why) when they see something they're not expecting, like a person using the service who isn't in a group.

It's marketing and ignorant people. That's all it is.



Joe90
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04 Dec 2019, 6:13 am

I don't understand why people would stare though. Don't they care what you're feeling?
And that is why I believe the spotlight effect is real. People notice everything all the time and do stare and judge.

And once time I come across a thread here titled "are Aspies more judgemental?" I think not. NTs typically are judgemental, otherwise they'd just mind their own business and occupy their minds with their own thoughts and problems.


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04 Dec 2019, 8:52 am

Fnord wrote:
Some people consider it pitiful when a man or a woman dines alone in a restaurant.

When I was young and single, I made it work to my advantage...

1. Request a table for two ("Oh, she said she'd meet me here!").

2. Order two drinks ("Whisky sour for me, and white wine for her ... she's just running a little late.").

3. Glance at your watch occasionally ("I wonder if she's alright ... ?").

4. Order two sets of appetizers ("I hope she likes stuffed mushrooms.").

5. Turn to look whenever someone walks in ("It's about ti ... oh, never mind ...").

6. After an hour, order a meal ("I'll split it with her.").

7. Finish your meal and ask for the check ("I'll see her in class on Monday.").

Sometimes the server would comp part of the cost. Sometimes the waitress would offer to walk out with me.

One guy worked this scam on Valentines day, complete with a phony engagement ring in a small box, which he showed to the server, who comped the entire meal plus drinks!


Sounds like a sketch from Mr. Bean :D


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GiantHockeyFan
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04 Dec 2019, 9:56 am

Even as a married man with a child I still frequently eat out alone, obviously not as frequent but it is still quite common. Why would anybody care? How do they not know I am not a business trip or on a work break? I will admit it is still a bit depressing (that I don't have friends to go with that is) but I don't feel embarrassed to me a singleton at a restaurant.

I've never understood why large (10+) groups HAVE to all eat together. For goodness sake you generally can't even see the other end of the table let alone talk to anyone!



kraftiekortie
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04 Dec 2019, 9:57 am

In New York, nobody really bothers to notice why somebody is eating alone, or whether somebody is eating with ten people.