Discussion of: "Eating Alone in Restaurants"

BBC Radio 2 October 5, 2005

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On October 5, 2005, Marya Charles Alexander offered solo dining tips on the Jeremy Vine Show - BBC Radio 2 (13.3 million listeners; 16.5% market share).

"Discussion" on the BBC Radio 2 website on that Wednesday focused on: Eating Alone in Restaurants.

Here is a selection of responding posts:

Message 1 How many of you eat out alone regularly in restaurants? Another really interesting subject to be discussed on today's show.

Thankfully, never had to
Might go and watch some paint dry later

I have eaten in a cafe on my own. I dont think I could if I was single walk into a posh restaurant and eat all alone.

Thankfully I have never had to do this, I would rather eat alone at home than out. I have seen others though and my heart goes out to them and I feel as though I want to invite them to sit with us! Same at the cinema etc.

I've had to do it occationally whilst on business and take a book to pretend i'm doing something, but I don't like it!

It's really rare you see a lonely person eating on there own.

Surely you are never alone, with a mobile. (response: You may not be DonG, but I don't actually sit opposite my mobile or lay a place for it.)

It's strange how we manufacture such prejudices against ourselves. I had a table at Rick Stein's cafe in Padstow last week and felt very 'anti' in doing so.

To your orignal question, yes I eat alone in a restaurant when I choose to do so, because I'm looking to enjoy the food I'm eating. If I want to enjoy the company of others, I'll go out with friends, which probably highlights more my frustration and fear of discrimination

I love eating out alone i live in a place where its proberbly cheaper to eat out than in, besides all those plates etc my apt never smells of food cooking and no untidy tables

Indeed, I don't fear not being part of something, I love being unique and individual.

Have done it when working away and 'living in hotels', have done it a couple of times when im at home too, doesnt really bother me and if it bothers others - tuff

I always do. If you tasted my mem-sahib's cuisine you'd do the same, make no mustake.

it does not bother people as such i think. it certainly does not "bother" me, how can it? It is not offensive in any way so no one should be bothered at all. The discussion is whether or not you as an individual feel uncomfortable or quite relaxed doing it.

Maybe hotels and restaurants should have a BIG table where all lonely or lone diners can sit and make friends - even lovers? What a fantastic idea. Am off to the head of McD's to discuss......................

Interesting how the majority of posters in this thread attach a stigma of sadness to those who dine alone.

Perhaps most of these people who dine alone are happy singles who simply like to get a meal in a restaurant. They might bring a newspaper or a book, like they might do at home during dinner. Or they might not.

Or they might just be on a business trip.

I know that many of those 'Solo Diners' do not like being seen as sad and lonely.Whatever happened to the Happy Single?

Reminds me of the bit in 'Shirley Valentine' when the obnoxious 'Brits' forced her to join them - being alone is different from being with people but it brings it's own adventures and the food tastes just as good. Sad is the person who cannot tolerate their own company.

My hubbie works away from home a fair bit and has no choice but to eat alone in restaurants (or so he tells me anyway) He always avoids italians as they are usually too cosy and he feels a bit silly sitting on his own on a table complete with roses and romantic music.

do shift work, so it's not always possible to go out for meals with friends, but i like eating out. So on my day off, i'll happily go out to a movie and dinner by myself, and frankly i don't care what other people are thinking. If i go to a film, surely you arn't meant to talk, so essentially everyone in the cinema is 'alone' and as for eating alone, it's sometimes better than watching someone talking with a mouthful of food. I think this anti alone eating must be a southern thing, coz here in manchester, i've never found it an issue to be eating whilst reading a good book. Some of you must just REALLY be lacking in self confidence.

You are right Feverfew. At the risk of sounding like a misery guts. If you take any subject on these boards you can be sure that everyone of them (no matter how serious) will be reduced to dribble in the end.

I Love Eating Alone...Its like being a king or a sheik pampered royally and we all deserve it

P.S. A vote was taken.

In response to the question: "Do you enjoy dining out alone?" 29% said yes and 71% said no.

Sooner or later, EVERYONE business and pleasure travelers, singles, those divorced or widowed, very-marrieds whose spouses are on the road, harried moms and dads, etc. faces the challenge of eating out alone!

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THE How-to Booklet of Solo Dining Tips & Strategies:

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