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  • Writer's pictureMaryann Kariuki

The Rebellious Act Of Dining Alone.

Disclaimer: Like every great story, this one too begins with food (or has food mentioned in it). 

‘Please wait to be seated.’ Is what the sign in front of me says. I look around, and I think to myself…‘there’s really no point in me waiting, the restaurant is practically empty. Just a group of four to my left, two people…seemingly on a slightly awkward date to my right, two travellers straight ahead, and one more group next to them’. But I stand there as the sign says. Fighting everything  in me that’s telling me to turn back around and walk off. 

Not because I have strong principles, but because I'm quite hungry. Or maybe not hungry, just craving the steak that these guys sell. 

6 minutes later, and what really feels like a lifetime, I see a lady coming. No smile on her face, just a bit too much eye contact. It makes me uncomfortable. So I look away.

I look back, and she’s now standing in front of me. 

‘Hi, table for one please’ is what I say to her. And she smiles, looks at me with visible questions on her face and asks ‘just one?’ and I smile back and say…’yes, one’. Then she lets me in. As I follow behind her, I feel a confidence arise in me, some growth. Younger me clapping and cheering my walk on. Wondering who I've become. ‘A boss is what you are,’ a voice in my head whispers. 

You see, I haven’t always been one to dine alone, I get awkward, I imagine everyone looking at me…even when there’s really no one watching. So I’d much rather order take out. But you see, as a woman, I’m evolving, changing, becoming better at understanding…that no one’s really watching. Everyone’s busy with their own lives. 

Anyway, she walks me to a table…this huge table, as if she is lowkey hoping someone might join me. Hands me over a menu, which is almost as huge as the table, and walks away. And I sit there, look through the menu (I already know what I want but I go through this handbook, just to see if they’ve added anything new since the last time I was here. They haven’t). As I wait for her to come back and take my order, I take my note book out, and start writing. A guide that works, if you’re an aspiring solo eater.

These are the thoughts that are running through my mind as I sit here impatiently waiting for my food. So in case you’re wondering if these steps have been certified, yes they have, by a hungry me waiting on my order of steak, fries and a little bit of salad for that healthy effect. 

So let’s get to it. 

Step 1: Try to walk in a straight line. Don’t panic. 

You see, sometimes I get a little clumsy. Especially if people are looking. At me. Which is ironic because whenever I get a chance to look at people, when I’m in the position of power, I really stare, maintain eye contact…and make them feel utterly uncomfortable. It gives me joy. 

I’m just kidding. The few times I maintain eye contact is when I need to put a point across. Like when I hold the door open for you and you wanna pass without saying thank you. A crime. Why would you do that? Say thank you.  

Step 2. Don’t choke on your words when placing your order. Composure is key here. 

For some reason, when you’re sitting at that table, feeling like a champ, after your little successful walk, it’s very easy to get way in over your head. To think you’re the price. God’s gift to mankind. Here I urge you to stay focused. Go through the menu placed in front of you, calmly. Be careful not to look at the price of things so much as the actual thing you’d like to order. You don’t want to hint at them that you may or may not afford whatever is on the menu. 

Step 3. Eat. Actually chew your food. Don’t put too much thought into it. 

You see, when you feel like people are watching you, certain things you’ve been doing since you were a toddler no longer come too naturally. Like step 1 above, you forget how to walk properly, chewing becomes almost impossible. All of a sudden you start wondering, do I normally chew with my right or left side, do I use both? How many times should I chew before swallowing? All which are questions you never have to ask when you’re not in public performance. 

Step 4. It’s okay if you don’t leave some fries on your plate. It’s okay to finish everything. 

When I was in uni and I’d go on dates ever so often, the first thing I’d tell my dates (well I’m making it sound like I was a serial dater but no, I wasn’t) is that I was going to finish all the food on the plate. And if not, I was gonna have it packed and carry it home with me. Nowadays, I don’t even tell them, I just finish all the food and wait for them to judge me. Although, here’s a minor caveat, I have a certain super power (what’s the opposite of a superpower?) where if you talk to me when I’m eating, I will never finish my food. That’s the only time I don’t finish the food set on my plate. 

Step 5. And the final step. This one’s important.

Be proud of yourself. For doing something great and actually getting through a meal. Surviving a whole meal by yourself. Not letting your intrusive thoughts win, making your younger self, or even your adult self proud and just being a strong little badass who dines on their own. 

You see, lately, if I accidentally step out of the house looking all too prim and proper, I always feel the urge to take me out on a little date. To stay out for longer. I don’t believe in wasting an outfit. 

Not many people are able to go to restaurants by themselves and enjoy a nice meal without feeling like the ground should swallow them. And well to be honest, I still can’t do this in fast food restaurants, there’s way too many people and way too many eyes. And I can’t do it, I really can’t. So on occasions where I step foot in a fast food restaurant hoping to sit and eat there, alone, I think about the discomfort and just order take out instead. 

So, in case you thought this article was an act of rebellion, no it wasn’t. It’s a cry for help. I really haven’t mastered the art of dining out by myself…just yet. Save me. 


4 Σχόλια

31 Μαρ

lol 😂 well done, girl!

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Maryann Kariuki
Maryann Kariuki
01 Απρ
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Aww thank youuu!😁

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Grace Muchiri
Grace Muchiri
31 Μαρ

Lol! A good read! I like step 1😂

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Maryann Kariuki
Maryann Kariuki
31 Μαρ
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😂I love that you do.

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