I don’t go to church, but I do eat alone in restaurants. There is a similarity in the experiences – the quiet lighting, the solemn way the maitre d’ ushers me to my seat, the hushed whisper of his crepe-soled shoes, the smoothing of my skirt before I sit, the brief smiles at faces turned momentarily toward me.
Some people detest eating alone but I like it. Things smell better when you eat alone – there are no words building up across the table, keeping the aromas pushed close to the plate.
People are uneasy when a woman eats alone – especially paired people. Within the pairs, the women feel a sort of sympathetic self-conciousness. The men feel a frisson of curiosity at the possibilities. The women belatedly sense that the men are frissoning and resent how an empty chair increases rather than decreases my capital, when a moment ago…
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