Updated: Apr 23, 2019
Who says Valentine's dinner is just for couples?
This year, Valentine’s Day fell on a Tuesday and for many, it’s tough to make elaborate plans on a weeknight. There’s also a stigma surrounding eating alone, especially on Valentine’s Day—it’s often thought of as weird, sad, abnormal, or awkward to eat alone. Should singles really be expected to sit out V-Day dinner altogether? I decided to do a little experiment—I took myself on a romantic date on February 14th.
Making a Reservation
I chose a popular Italian restaurant in Greenwich Village for my solo night out—it's one of my favorites in New York and conveniently right on NYU's "campus." When making the reservation, the woman over the phone asked, “Party of two, correct?” Here we go… “Oh no, just for one, just me,” I replied. She paused for a second; I think she was a bit taken aback. Then, she said, “Oh of course, sorry about that. You are all set up, we will see you then!” Well played.
The Big Night
A few days later, Valentine’s Day was upon me. When I got to the restaurant, I was asked if I was waiting for someone and when I said no, the hostess gave me a confused look. This was just the beginning of the awkward encounters. I was sat in the very back corner at a table way too close to the diners next to me. At least I had a view of the entire dining room, which was ideal for people watching. The older couple next to me was adorable and kept giving me sympathetic looks—another couple near me was exchanging what seemed like Mary Poppins' bag of gifts. They asked me to take a picture of them. Of course.
In terms of restaurant service, I did feel a bit ignored by the staff, probably due to the fact that everyone has this idea built up in their heads of what a "normal" dining experience is supposed to consist of, and eating alone is not a part of it. Everyone kind of left me alone for the most part, because I guess eating alone makes you seem like a sad loner, especially on Valentine's Day, even when that couldn't have been further from the truth.
Although I was given some questionable glances and everyone seemingly felt bad for the only person in the restaurant eating alone, I didn't feel bad for myself at all. While everyone else may have a problem with eating alone, I discovered that I really don't. As long as the food is good, I'm good. You've gotta feel comfortable enough in your own skin to be independent and not constantly rely on the company of others. So next time you're really craving a delish meal out, or you can't be with your significant other on a holiday, be brave, chin up, eat alone.
Originally published by Spoon University.