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Featured Is eating alone in a restaurant now a big taboo?

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by Lundi, Dec 2, 2019 at 2:28 PM.

  1. Lundi

    Lundi Well-Known Member

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    Since I am quite a solitary person, I tend to eat in restaurants by myself instead of with friends, and obviously without girlfriend/wife. If I travel I do the same, just table for one.

    However, I notice that here where I live people really seem to dislike people who eat alone in restaurants. When I eat alone I notice that a lot of people stare at me, especially couples composed of boyfriend/girlfriend or wife/husband. Some would give me "the eye" when they glare at me even.

    I looked this topic up on the internet. Apparently some people here say that if they have to eat in a restaurant and they are by themselves, they ring a friend to accompany them, to avoid being ridiculed for eating alone in a restaurant.

    Every time I go to a sit-down restaurant, the couples that are seated next to me stare constantly and try to look at me when they think that I do not notice them. Some stare at me then whisper to their partner something, and this process repeats.

    A few months ago I ate dinner alone at a French restaurant here. I was seated in between two couples. All four people from both couples kept staring at me and then lowered their voices when talking to their partners. Then they stared again and again. I was close to asking them sarcastically, "May I help you?" or something similar.

    Is this something new? I have never heard of how eating alone in a restaurant is considered odd. Is this a new-fashioned taboo thing?
     
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  2. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    It's always been a "taboo" to me. Though only as a matter of personal choice.

    Whether others choose to do it is their business- not mine.
     
  3. NothingToSeeHere

    NothingToSeeHere Asexuowl V.I.P Member

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    I travel alone a lot, for work and because I enjoy it, so I've eaten alone in restaurants many times. I have never been ridiculed, or noticed anyone staring, though I don't generally pay enough attention to the people around me to notice the latter. If I saw someone else eating alone I'd assume they were travelling (if I even gave it a thought). So, I don't think it's taboo at all, but I suppose it may becoming less common due to how easy it is to get takeaway from even nice restaurants with companies like deliveroo.
     
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  4. christopher.k

    christopher.k roosterman

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    I have heard but unfortunately im just as confused as you are by it
    granted I've never experienced but then over here on the isle of man were a lot nicer than many countries.
     
  5. Kalinychta

    Kalinychta Well-Known Member

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    You were staring at them, too, since you saw them looking at you, looking at each other, and whispering. You were all doing it. Probably their whispering was about why you were watching them, just as you were wondering why they were watching you.
     
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  6. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    What other patrons might think doesn't really matter.

    It's the attitude of the proprietor that would concern me. I know some simply don't like the idea of having to serve one at a table because they generate less of a bill and tips. I wouldn't want to be served or waited on by someone based only on being a sole patron.

    So it just doesn't set well with me, with or without a book or pc or whatever to occupy your time just sitting while you wait to be served.
     
  7. asperagus

    asperagus A vegetable on the spectrum

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    I've eaten in restaurants alone countless times (travel, etc.) and I only hate eating out for breakfast alone (personal preference).

    Since take-out is usually cheaper, when travelling in North America, I usually do that if travelling alone by car. Aside that, I don't see why I should care about other people's opinions.
     
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  8. Lundi

    Lundi Well-Known Member

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    Over the past year or two, I have tried developing my peripheral vision skills. So right now I can see up to a 50 or 60 degree angle from the perpendiculars of my eyes. I usually look straight ahead, and if I see out of the corner of my eyes that someone is looking, I wait and see if they do this more than three times and/or for a prolonged period. In that manner I can see them without their noticing.

    I usually turn my head to look at them directly if I have assessed from my peripheral vision that they were looking at me for a while.
     
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  9. Illkurok

    Illkurok King of Isolation

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    I love eating in a restaurant by myself, even the bigger places like Village Inn, etc.

    I went to BWW once alone and somehow attracted attention from several waitresses who just couldn't believe I actually enjoyed being alone eating a meal. To some, it might be odd, but I favor it immensely no matter what anyone thinks.
     
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  10. Aspychata

    Aspychata My Art Work

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    It seems it's harder to be a female and eat alone, so l agree to have a book or computer to simulate life alone is possible to goofballs on the planet that can't operate without four hands and two heads.

    But l would like a talking mirror so l could ask how does this look before heading out to eat, and the mirror could throw random remarks like: are you going to walmart? because the spandax aint doing you any favors.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019 at 5:06 PM
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  11. Kalinychta

    Kalinychta Well-Known Member

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    San Francisco must surely be the most hostile, bizarre city in the entire country.
     
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  12. Alexej

    Alexej Member

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    I have never noticed any staring, and I have travelled alone for quite a bit.


    I am not familiar with BWW - what is this place?
     
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  13. Illkurok

    Illkurok King of Isolation

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    That could have easily been googled. Buffalo Wild Wings.
     
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  14. Lundi

    Lundi Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately you might be right. I had à few acquaintances from meetups, but most of them left. I had àn acquaintance from Hong Kong here. Yet he left because he was being treated like crap on a daily basis. He now lives in New York City.

    My only acquaintance now, that guy fron Minnesota, told me that he is planning to move to New York City when he loses his job. Then I would have no acquaintances here.
     
  15. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    It's not unusual to see people eating by themselves where I live. As far as I know, no one stares at them. Restaurants in the area provide local newspapers for their patrons.

    There were times when I traveled alone in europe, and was treated well. Except in some family restaurants in Italy, where they actually sat all the single tourists in the same areas in the back of their restaurants.
     
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  16. tducey

    tducey Well-Known Member

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    Never been something that bothered me really.
     
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  17. Sherlock77

    Sherlock77 Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I do it all the time, both locally and when I travel...

    I spend most of my time on my own as I explore the world or my neighbourhood, I've never had the sense of eating alone being taboo though

    Admittedly I'm one of the few solo diners that I see, most often I see couples and families eating together, which is an obvious one which they probably should do!

    There are also some local restaurants I frequent, where the staff know me well enough... One lady in particular at a local chinese/western restaurant where I often go for breakfast on a weekend, always has a smile and a greeting for me when I walk through the door

    I also remember well, passing through a small town on the Canadian prairies, lunch in a rather empty hotel bar, a menu of greasy pub grub, just me and the bartender (and I wasn't drinking alcohol), but it was food still which I needed
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019 at 6:32 PM
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  18. Lundi

    Lundi Well-Known Member

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    In Europe I found that quite a lot of people ate alone, and no one made a big deal about it. In some restaurants, I even saw more locals eat alone than locals eating in couples or in groups of friends.

    But what I find bizarre is that I read some articles from this year or last year about how people where I am are so ashamed or fearful of being called losers that when they have to eat alone, they ring a friend to accompany them just to make it look like they are eating with someone else instead of alone.

    My mother says that she has gotten stares when she ate alone here. My father says that when he eats alone during his lunch break from work, that people stare at him, and sometimes strangers make derogatory comments. I am not sure what foments people to react so negatively. I was always of the view that if you do not bother anyone, no one would care.

    My guess is that picking on people who eat alone is a neurotypical trait, but I need more evidence to make that as a solid claim.
     
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  19. Kalinychta

    Kalinychta Well-Known Member

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    I think you may be living in The Twilight Zone. Or perhaps you’ve slipped into a parallel universe in which San Francisco is a hellish dystopia where everyone behaves as though they’re still in junior high or high schools. Cliques, calling someone a loser for being a virgin, militant conformity, sneering at you for eating alone...I mean for chrissakes this is immature teenager behavior. Who are these people populating your city?!
     
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  20. Lundi

    Lundi Well-Known Member

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    Just a month ago I was in Munich and Salzburg, then I went to Lisbon and Porto. In all four cities, I saw a lot of people eating alone. Even men who looked to be in their 40s and 50s, just quietly eating alone and no one really staring at them. I felt quite at home, because I was just another lone diner, like them.

    When I returned home after, I noticed that I was definitely back home because the culture was different. Downtown I usually go to this Italian place because it was close to my meetups. It is clearly overpriced, but really, the other options are even more overpriced. I was definitely not going to go to a place that charged close to $60 for a 7 oz (less than a quarter kilo) steak.

    But when I say, "Table for one" at the Italian place, I notice that other diners just suddenly turn their heads towards me. I know that I am probably the only lone diner there and that most people are couples, probably on dates, or otherwise are just tourists. But when eyes fall upon me, I feel like something is wrong. I mean, surely they must have seen someone eat alone before. It cannot possibly be that weird.

    I have to say, a lot of adults act like teenagers. You can meet a 40-something year old in a three piece suit, but says "bro" and "dude" every other sentence and makes fart jokes. I notice specifically from tech people that they tend to be the type that like to make fun of others, and comments like "loser loser loser" like in high school are quite common.

    My acquaintance from Hong Kong (the one who is now in New York City) told me that since he had no one to go with, he would eat alone in restaurants. He said that he stopped doing it because he felt uncomfortable due to people's stares. My acquaintance from Minnesota says that he usually asks a friend to eat out with, to avoid getting stared at from eating alone.

    My father very recently worked at some office where there were a lot of young people. He got sacked, but anyway he could not get along with the 20- and 30-somethings in his office. He said that the maturity levels were much lower than their real age.

    My mother also has similar problems. Except that she also has Asperger's like me, so she gets the comments a lot. She hates people here, and every other day she gets into a vicious verbal argument with someone who insults her in public.

    When I dine with my mother, we usually do not get those stares. I mean, some people do stare at us, but it is for other reasons not the dining alone reason.

    I have developed a lot of self-confidence in the past few months though. I continue to dine alone despite the stares. If someone really fixates their eyes on me when I dine alone, I give them a glare. My mother gets angry easily, so if she dines alone and someone stares she might give them the finger or the British-style two-finger salute. Sometimes she just yells at them.

    We often joke about how she should give the European arm gesture, where you show your clenched forearm as if you are doing a bicep curl, and then put the other arm on your bicep.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019 at 8:30 PM
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