June 1, 2015

"Masturdating involves going to a restaurant alone, sitting at a table alone, and enjoying a meal alone..."

"... all the while knowing that other diners in your vicinity are looking at you, feeling sorry for you, and most likely coming to the conclusion that you're a bit of a loser. The scene can be redrawn for the cinema or, when you're feeling really indulgent, the theatre – but the reactions are always the same."

42 comments:

Sammy Finkelman said...

What is all of this?

Drago said...

Best meal I ever had: sitting alone in a beautiful little family restaurant in Verona awaiting a flight to Bari for further transport out to "little deck" carrier.

Packed house, every table full, and I was all to myself and ordering simply by pointing at what I saw the locals eating.

Paradise.

Drago said...

And what's all this I hear about masterbating in restaurants......(E. Litella)

Jack Wayne said...

Maroon.

fivewheels said...

To paraphrase a wise man from popular culture: "Don't worry about what other people are thinking about you. They're never thinking about you."

LTMG said...

If I'm minding my own business and not being offensive, who really cares what other people think?

J Lee said...

Gee, they could make a movie about these groundbreaking insights ..... No, wait a second -- they made a movie out of these groundbreaking insights 31 years ago, starring Steve Martin and Charles Grodin.

MadisonMan said...

Couples go past me, I see how they look.
So discreetly sympathetic when they see the Rose
and the book.

I make believe, nothing is wrong
How long can I pretend?
Please make it right, don't break my heart
Don't let it end, Dear Friend.

I guess the song works for masturdating too.

traditionalguy said...

As an effective single man I have attended out of state seminars lasting several days for licensing in other states. You take a cab to a recommended restaurant or to the local Mall to shop in free time.

The trick is to stare at them too. They are usually not noticing you.

Paco Wové said...

"What is all of this?"

The Daily Telegraph, slowly circling the drain.

yetanotherjohn said...

When traveling for business, dining alone can be a treat. Having to go out to dinner with a client or sales team can make a long day longer. Being able to rest, eat a meal at my pace, not have to perform/convince/cajole is wonderful. I've never worried about what other may be thinking about me dining alone. If you really want to see something sad, try dining with someone you have nothing in common with (including a sens of humor).

Skeptical Voter said...

As a lawyer from HQ sent out to the sticks to do something to or for one of the corporate subsidiaries, I often had those solitary evenings. Just like a Texas Ranger--One Riot, One Ranger, you dealt with a legal problem--One Legal Problem, One Lawyer.

The old lie, I'm here from Corporate and I'm here to help you didn't always resonate on happy ears.

cold pizza said...

Can't you go blind, doing something like that? -CP

rcommal said...

WTH? This is new? Just going out to dinner because one wanted to go out to dinner, regardless of companionship or not on account of irrelevance.

Jaysus, I hated this quite benign, not-symbolic action being considered weird as far back as 1981. I despised later on and well unto the '90s the notion of my simply going out to dinner by myself as a theme. I sure as hell am going to be entirely impatient with as well as contemptuous of any sort of bullshit meme that, by yet another name, is a turd as old as one might find, by happenstance, in a coffin.

Truly, I do hate this sort of bullshit as--quite clearly, to me, at least--always I have.

Knock it off, I say. Find an issue over which it is worth bothering other people, who might not be echoes of yourself, for 40 years. And if it's not worth your time to find a different issue, then don't be surprised if in response you get the same reaction from decades ago: "Fuck off, idiot."

richard mcenroe said...

How uncomfortable it must be to go through life convinced that everyone is watching you, judging you, and that it matters.

LYNNDH said...

Business travelers do this eating alone bit all the time. I would take a book to read while eating. Some restaurants have a "Singles" table that seats a good number of people so you could have company if you choose too. I can see a man getting into trouble nowadays if there were several woman at the table. No, not that way but by just being Male. Double Whammy if White, and a Triple if over 50.

Grant said...

I travel for my job and eat alone all the time. I just sit at the bar. Faster and better service all the time.

rcommal said...

BTW, what I started hating in 1981 is what I found confusing (on account of age) in the early-mid '70s, and thus my reference to 40 years, as opposed to only 30 years, of annoyance. Yeah, every once in a while I will explain--but don't count on it.

YoungHegelian said...

I was once in mid-town Manhattan on business & was sitting at a table with a bunch of total strangers for the breakfast buffet. One gentleman asked the rest of us around the table what we were here for & one guy said he was there to be on the Phil Donahue Show.

The gentleman asked the soon-to-be "Donahue" guest "What's the topic?"

I interjected in my best announcer's voice: "Guys who kill total strangers for breakfast!". Everybody laughed.

Turns out that the subject was women in traditionally men's sports & this guy was a dirt biker, which I thought to myself was a terribly boring subject.

But, with the right attitude, even eating alone can be fun if done right.

Coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
clint said...

Are there really people so self-conscious that they can't buy food without someone else there to validate their existence to uncaring strangers?

Alas, yes.

Bob R said...

In The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover, the Lover started out on a Masturdate. It got better for a while, but didn't end well.

John Christopher said...

He must never travel for business to think this is anything unusual.

sean said...

I think the usual reaction to seeing a man alone in a restaurant, during the week, would be that his wife is out of town and he doesn't know how to cook. I agree, most people seeing a woman alone would think she's a loser. Also, if it's a travelers' venue, such as a hotel or an airport or some such, most people would assume that the person is traveling alone on business, which is pretty normal.

Unknown said...

And here's the elephant in the room. He is gay. What straight man would write this?

This is confirmed because he says at the end of the peace and he has a date with a man. Okay, so now do we understand? This is someone who cannot be normal. This is someone who cannot exist without the validation of others. This is someone who cannot keep himself to himself.

At first I assumed it was written by a woman and then I condescended to look at what's the link pointed to and it started talking about men and so I followed the link and read the whole stupid thing through. First of course he's British so that was interesting, it could have stopped there but no, he went full gay. Thanks Ann!

Michael K said...

" Some restaurants have a "Singles" table that seats a good number of people so you could have company if you choose too"

Back in the 80s I was in San Francisco about once a month for a board meeting. One of the best restaurants in the city, one in which reservations required at least a month to get, had a bar where deserts were made and it had about six stools. I ate there almost every time. If I had had a date, we would never have gotten a table.

Some things come to those who are alone.

Eric said...

This is nonsense. Most people don't notice and if they did, they don't care. Like others that travel for work, it's no big deal to eat alone. I never felt uncomfortable doing it.

Brando said...

Back when I went to the movies I preferred to go alone, because when you're there with friends or a date you're tempted to talk or otherwise be distracted. I always found movie-dates to be the worst kind of dates, as you have no privacy and you aren't supposed to talk. Plus, at least half the movie-goers who are on dates are only going to that movie for their date's sake--what benefit is there of making someone else watch "Road House" with you?

Eating alone is harder--if you forgot to bring a book, it's harder to kill time and it makes you notice just how long it takes for them to take your order, bring your food, and bring the bill. When eating alone I usually prefer counter service for that reason.

sinz52 said...

So if you're traveling on business, you need to drag your spouse along just to show other restaurant patrons you're not a loser?

Even in the conformist "Mad Men" era, that wasn't the case. Married businessmen traveled alone and it was usually obvious from his manner of dress and speaking that he was on travel.

traditionalguy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

This thread reminds me of one local restaurant near home where we frequently ate with friends and family. You have to go around /through the Bar to reach the bathrooms. and the last four person booth there allowed a a single man to sit and eat facing the wall TV that was aimed at the Bar. Every night the same single man was sitting there eating his meal and most people nodded and said hello to him as they went past.

He was an eccentric heart surgeon who seemingly had no family but was a fixture there. We moved in 2006 and don't eat there very often at night, except for a lunch for old times sake.

I wonder if he still has his booth at Houston's Restaurant at West Paces Ferry and Northside Parkway?

Fabi said...

I've always said that if a woman is not comfortable watching me masturbate, then there are other seats available on the plane.

Masterdate? Never mind.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Masturdating involves going to a restaurant alone, sitting at a table alone, and enjoying a meal alone...

On the plus side, at least you know you're gonna get lucky that night. No chance of blowing all your wages for the week, all for a cuddle and a peck on the cheek.

GRW3 said...

Boy, talk about a topic that requires you read carefully :)

When I'm traveling and have a rare evening alone, I like to sit at the bar. Usually there are TVs with some sort of sport diversion (even soccer can be good for killing time).

SGT Ted said...

"Masturdating involves going to a restaurant alone, sitting at a table alone, and enjoying a meal alone..."

WTF sort of weirdo believes that shit?

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

SGT Ted said...

WTF sort of weirdo believes that shit?

One with a deadline coming up and nothing else to write about!

Joe said...

Narcissists are so weird.

jr565 said...

Even when you are dating, married you sometimes want to go out and eat someplace on your own. This is simply singles shaming. Many men are doing MGTOW these days and could care less if they are seen with a woman.

jr565 said...

Maybe it's because I'm an only child, who had to deal with being by myself a lot. But I never needed to have someone next to me to validate my existence. If dating, great, but if not dating, great too. Some people are so needy they feel incomplete if they don't have a wo,am on their arm at all times they are being viewed as losers. That's a character flaw.

MadisonMan said...

IgnoranceIsBliss -- I had to look those lyrics up because they seemed so familiar. And they were.

Love that song.

Shawn Levasseur said...

Masturdating?!?!

I don't know if I should be offended for having my common dining and recreational activities being associated with sexual acts because I'm by myself, or just amused.

I mean does this guy see two people together and assume they're "Forni-dating"???

Ah, this is all probably just a case of "Columnist who has to put something out by deadline. I'd try to find a clever sexual term for this, but I'd only end up insulting sex workers.

readering said...

Things must be different in Britain.