Why is eating alone so awkward?


Eating a pizza for two on your own in public is great entertainment for some of the wanderers in the beautiful Mission Bay. “How will you finish ALL of that?” I was asked by an elderly lady. “Hahaha, look at what she’s eating”, I heard one builder on his lunch say to another, and they continued to walk away in, yes, hysterics while waiting for me to take my first bite to see if I was real. “You’ll never eat all of that”, I was challenged. Well, WATCH ME I thought.

No, you’re right, I won’t eat all of that. I know it was the fact that I had a WHOLE pizza to myself rather than because I was eating alone, and it must be quite good fun to see a lady wearing humongous sunnies with her notebook and pen sit with a chorizo and potato pizza twice the size of her head. Yet, no one laughs when a table of 6 has ordered 6 pizzas AND 3 bowls of chips. Do the math. My heads not even that big. It was a normal oval sized thin crust pizza.

I do feel that there is a preconception about eating alone that you’re a loner who doesn’t have any friends, unless you’re in your business suit. Us lonely eaters sit there chomping away subconsciously trying to eat like the queen – calm and in control as you slice your food with dignity rather than like a hungry bear with a chainsaw – while thinking, did they just watch me try and half that sushi role with my mouth? Are they looking at me!? Stop looking at me!? Pretend you didn’t see them looking at you. Turn away, look at the sky, slowly.

To overcome this awkwardness, then, I have come up with a strategy. Order a pot of tea for two, your friend is coming soon, and ask for two plates to go with your pizza. While eating your half of the pizza look up every now and then, look left and right, and mumble “where is she?” with your confused face on. Oh no, that friend cancelled on me **awkward**. Erm, I’ll just eat their half of the pizza, and drink their tea too. Oh, go on then. (No one will know she was never real).

After writing this with this awareness fresh in my mind, I walked home and saw a woman sitting on her own chomping on an enormous bowl of nachos and I realised that I stared for a second too long, because I too thought you go woman. I discovered that I subconsciously judge people eating enormous portions too. There must be an innate reaction to judge people who eat enormous portions on their own. Perhaps next time I should have a salad. Hahaa, or not.

I actually believe that eating alone is a sign of security. I love seeing women sipping their coffee while reading their book or magazine on their own in a nice cafe. It’s so peaceful. Sometimes, believe it or not, I actually go out for lunch on my own INTENTIONALLY…

From this day forward, it is my aim to eradicate this inherent reaction to judge people eating enormous portions from my naughty subconscious. I hope you will join me, too, so that when my fellow lady friends and I next eat a pizza on our own we won’t be pointed at.


5 thoughts on “Why is eating alone so awkward?

  1. I’m glad to see another woman having the gutso to dine alone! I can empathize: In Japan, a girl eating alone, especially in restaurants that serve local eats, is very much looked down upon~ In contrast, a guy can just walk into a Yoshinoya and order a gyu-don without anyone batting an eye. Why the differential treatment?


    • Wow that really is unfair. I would dine alone out of principle! Is it safe to do so in Japan? I have never been and I would love to visit. I think the more women who dine alone, the easier it will become in the future!


      • Oh, it’s perfectly safe, but it’s just awkward in local places such as the izakaya where you have all these (salary)men around you drinking~ People will stare if you’re running a one-woman drinking/eating show @.@


  2. Thank you for this post. I really enjoyed it. I often think about eating out alone and don’t do it but would like to. I know it is a confidence thing coming from that “I wonder what others are thinking” which I would really like to get rid of soon. Have a happy day too, Cheryl 🙂


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