No Shame for Dining Solo
By Lyka Mae P. Chiang
Have you ever gone out to eat alone because no one was around or you just want some ‘me’ time? But then, people started looking weird at you as if their mind speaks poorly of the solo diner girl. If you haven’t found yourself in such situation, then you’re lucky. But for some of us who are unfortunate enough to encounter such bad times—let me just say this—it isn’t much flattering.
Some may find this issue nonsense or a waste of time to be argued about, but hey, it happens. The Filipinos in general aren’t used to dining alone as our culture promotes the importance of eating with our family. However, there are situations when you just can’t avoid it. For an instance, if you’re a college student who left the comfort of your home to study at a prominent institution in a huge city, only to be stuck at a confined dormitory with no access to cooking equipment. That means aside from the wrath of fast food meals which makes it feel like you’re eating paper within a few weeks of constant intake, you also have to worry about having no one to dine with, especially at night when all your friends are at their own homes.
Another instance is if you’re a solo traveler who wants to experience the culture of the country or town you’re visiting by trying out the best of their local cuisine. In that case, of course, you also become a solo diner.
The looks and stares are a one thing, but what’s worse is, some restaurants discriminate—be it intentionally or not—solo diners by not allowing them to dine in during peak hours because they occupy a table that’s supposed for two people. But if you come to think of it, three people occupy a table that seats four, so what’s all the fuss about?
In our modern world, being independent is not a new thing. We often see individuals—mostly women— supporting the rights of standing alone in life, without depending on men or anybody else. So, if a person can live independently with the money they have worked so much in for, then why can’t they eat like the independent person they are?
It may sound forlorn, but in reality, it’s not. Sometimes, we just want to have some peace and time with no one but ourselves. We are neither sad nor depressed; we just enjoy the hushed environment without having to make small talks or listening to people’s countless opinions every once in a while.
So please, don’t look at us like we’re some pathetic loser with no friends or partner. Let’s make solo dining a norm like it should be. Life isn’t Mean Girls. If I can’t sit with you, then I’ll just eat by myself and enjoy the savory of my food.