Yesterday I was out dining with my work team. The seven of us were having pizza in my favourite location, Southbank. I had never been to the restaurant (Strada) before. Partly because I had never heard of the place and I didn’t spend much time dining out. I was always more interested in outdoor activities. My choices of things to do with friends were meeting at Costa and going to a museum or trampolining.
After we sat and took our seats I Iooked around me, at the vacant seats and other diners. Inside it wasn’t so busy, most people chose to sit outside and why not, it’s an excellent time to make the most of the amazing weather. There was a mixture of small groups of friends and large groups of families. The overall atmosphere I took in was indeed warm and homely.
Drinks, starters and great conversation on our table had set us off for the main meal. My Margherita pizza was one of the first orders to arrive at our table, but being as hungry as I was I did not wait to tuck in, oops, my hunger was forgiven. At this point, I once again looked around me. Details in the room changed. Some new diners entered whilst others left. This time I saw something that really caught my eye and had me wondering thoughtfully for a long while. I saw a man dining alone. He looked happy and content. His phone, unlike mine, was not on the table. Inside I applauded him and thought wow to myself. I can go to Costa alone but not to a restaurant.
Seeing the fellow diner eat alone broke me away from old stigmas. I later told my colleague about him and asked her if she too would eat alone. She was quick to answer yes and added “I’ve been to a theatre play by myself and enjoyed it”. Talking about and getting other opinions made me realise how nourishing, strengthening and liberating it can be to be alone sometimes. You feel more present, the food tastes nicer and your thoughts are in a good place when you don’t think about those around you, quite frankly no one cares if you’ve booked yourself a table for one.
Adding dining out alone on to my bucket list.