Eating alone can be a discouraging experience for a lot of people. We usually hesitate to eat out at a restaurant alone and prefer to get takeouts to eat in the privacy of our homes. It is scary to know that most people around us think that if a woman is dining alone she must be a sad and lonely person. We need to break this image, if you are on your own and want to dine out at a fine restaurant that should be completely fine. Doesn’t matter if you are single or your friends were busy today, you should be able to have a great time with yourself and your food.
A few years back, I hesitated to dine out or even go shopping alone, always needed a friend or someone from my family to accompany me. I’m an independent woman who is well educated, has a stable job but being an overweight girl, I have dealt with bodily issues all my life. However, I worked hard enough to finally get over it and feel comfortable with myself in public. It takes a lot of courage to accept yourself as you are in a society where everyone is trying to enforce so-called beauty standards and you feel misfit among them. My new, more confident self was able to go anywhere, do anything and be myself without caring about people’s stares and smirks. I go to fine restaurants and dine out on my own frequently but sometimes there are those gazes that discourage you from having a good time with yourself.
Dining out solo is a difficult experience almost everywhere in the world but it is harder here in Pakistan. You may find people having coffee alone at cafés but rarely will you find people having a full three-course lunch or dinner at a fancy restaurant alone. As soon as you enter you feel that everyone including waiters at the restaurant is judging and whispering about you. A lot of times it is true but is it not good to think positive and enjoy your food in your own company? The point is why do we care so much about what people think? Why is it programmed in our minds that we cannot perform our daily chores in the outside world without caring about other’s opinion about us? Is it really an uncomfortable experience or is it more a fault of our self-consciousness?
Everyone has a busy schedule these days so it’s not easy to find a dining companion daily even if you have a long list of friends. In my case, our work hours clash, Workdays conflict so we hardly meet twice a month after long Whatsapp group chats arguing about when n where to meet including as many of us as possible. Here are a few things you can do to break this stereotype of a lonely person dining out alone and show up everywhere fully confident and beaming.
Don’t try to hide:
Do not take the last or the corner table at a restaurant just to be less visible to people. Pick the table in the center, be confident and sit up front. It is possible that a lot of times people are not even thinking about you sitting alone, maybe they are just chatting n having their food but it is your self-consciousness that makes the situation uncomfortable.
A smile doesn’t harm:
Don’t look away awkwardly if you catch a glance of someone staring at you. Smile and look right at them, that might spark a conversation or at least you will get a smile back for sure.
Learn to be on your own:
Don’t just look at all the couples dining and start feeling pity for yourself .cherish the life you have now and feel good about yourself. Those people might not have a number of things and privileges in life that you have.
Take a good book with you:
I don’t really recommend this unless you are really anxious by the surroundings than you can take your favorite book out of your bag and enjoy reading while your food is prepared. Using the phone or listening music on your phone is ok while waiting but not too much. Sit back n enjoy the ambiance.
To create a society where everyone, particularly women have the liberty to lead their lives in their own way is a difficult and long-term process but with every other girl feeling confident and being herself, we get a step closer to a society where no one judges others, where people live and let others live.
Author :Asra Shakaib