Wednesday, November 18, 2009

solo dining etiquette

Dear Fellow Solo McAlister's Diner:

We have some things in common, you & I. We both love to eat lunch at McAlister's. We both are comfortable dining solo. We are both...women. And that's about all we have in common. You see, we apparently do not share the same ideas about solo dining. Being the nonconfrontational, somewhat bashful person that I am, when I dine alone, I prefer to actually dine...alone. In other words, I chose this seat at this table because it is a comfortable distance from all other solo diners, because it faces the door {yes, I'm THAT person who needs to face the door}, and because it is not directly facing any other solo diners. You, however, have completely ruined my process of seat selection by sitting at the table directly in front of me. But wait - you didn't just sit at the table directly in front of me, but you oh-so-thoughtfully chose the seat directly in front of me, FACING ME. Thank you. Thank you for making me self-conscious the entire time I'm eating that I will drop chili cheese dip on my face & you will be right there to see it. I mean, would you like to just sit at my table? You may as well.

Perhaps you should have chosen the seat behind me, with Jason the over-zealous salesman who makes cold calls during his solo McAlister's lunch. You obviously enjoy working for your real estate business during lunch too, so maybe you & Jason would enjoy each other's company. Actually, you probably could dine with him and you two wouldn't even acknowledge each other's presence with all the work you're doing during lunch. It could be fun! He would make obnoxiously loud sales calls, and you would text and randomly look at your laptop. Then you could get married & ignore each other even more, much like the 70-something-year-old couple to my left. How precious. I digress.

So, Fellow Solo McAlister's Diner, might I suggest that next time we find each other dining alone, that you please choose a table that is NOT directly in front of the seat that I have obviously chosen from the sea of empty seats. And if you must choose the table in front of me, please choose one of the other FOUR chairs that is not directly facing me.

Thank you.


  1. And this has been "Thoughtful Solo Dining" on NPR, with host Laura Goins...

  2. This had me cracking up...soo funny!! You said something that we all feel from time to time but don't necessarily say out loud, LOL! And also, I really would love McAlister's right now :o)

  3. Thanks for the chuckle and for helping to get the word out that solo dining is all about increasing options --- the more we all have, the merrier!

  4. First, wow, you got a comment from the editor of! Second, I feel a mix of pride and concern for the characteristics you have inherited. Third, I LOVE that you wrote this in your head during lunch AND got the photo! You know I would have done exactly the same, except in this stage of life I would make up some reason to have a conversation with both neighbors before leaving.