Thursday, March 20, 2014

From the Sketchbook: Dining Alone

Growing up, my understanding was that to dine alone was not socially acceptable. My mother, when my father would be away, would go out alone to the movies & to restaurants. I thought she was courageous. I tried it in my young adult years but was never comfortable with it. 

In our current café's it is most acceptable to be alone, but it seems one must have a newspaper, a book or a device. Society tells us we must be connected, even while eating.
Top sketch was made in a bakery café in Rockland where I was focusing on spatial perspective.The bottom one is from Wild Willy's restaurant in South Portland. I felt sad seeing this man who was actually eating alone without reading. Was I projecting my own feelings onto him? Was he a widower? Was I remembering that even though my mom went out alone, I sensed that she lonely without my father? I suspect that a lot of older people who are alone don't go out much into the world. Which can lead to isolation, which can lead to sadness. I wonder, dear friend, what your thoughts are.


  1. i do not have trouble eating alone. i rarely read or anything, either.

  2. First , i like your drawings very much especially the top one, mix of black lines and colors, i love it!
    Then, It depends on places where I have to go. I think that things are different for men and women. Easier for men..
    I don't mind eating alone at home , but outside, I try to choose safe places . I don't mind to see movies alone, walk alone or discover a new city,I even LOVE to get lost alone in some places , but then again, it depends of the country.I don't link loneliness and sadness, except maybe for old people.To be alone also means to be independant and free.

  3. I love the sketches/paintings too:)
    I admire people that can sit undisturbed by their surroundings ..simply living in the moment of being alone somewhere..eating ..reading....watching movies.. or wifi-ing it..
    I have been to a movie alone. .. once.. Mama Mia! .But am not comfortable in the other circumstances on my own...
    I like home alone.:)
    I am not much of a "sorteuse " the best of circumstances.. even with others..
    I like the simplicity and "habitude" of home.

  4. I love these. I like that most of the background is just micron with a bit of color. I do not have a problem eating alone. I wouldn't be as apt to go to a fancy spot alone, but most places yes. I also LOVE eating at the bar, no matter what type of restaurant it is. I think you are transferring your feelings of being uncomfortable eating alone to the gentleman sitting alone at the counter. No better time to chit chat with those sitting around you or with the servers.

  5. Actually,I like to eat/to drink coffee alone:) But maybe I enjoy it,because I'm not lonely? Sometimes I like to go out for 1-2 houres,I call it "me"-time. For elder people who are lonely all day long,it may feel sad...

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  7. Rita -- I love to go out alone. Especially with my camera -- I do not like to have someone with me when taking photos -- it distracts me from what I am doing. I sometimes stop at little restaurants and strike up conversations with locals -- find out lots of info that way. So I guess you could say I really don't notice people if they are sad or not when they eat alone and if someone is alone next to me in a coffee shop I might ask to take their photo. I would say off hand that folks are not sad when eating out alone.-- barbara

  8. I love these so much -- the first partly because I think I recognize the spot, and the second one because I feel completely there and it is a perfect amount of detail: spare and yet evocative of the feel and mood of the place. It is like a scene in a story. . . and I am wondering what happens next . . . and what came before. . . xx p. s. I love to be in cafes either alone or with others . . .

  9. Are you thinking too much...?
    Yes, I agree SC. Interesting places to watch the 'world go by'.

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  11. Beautiful sketches...I do think that it is sad to see someone dining alone. Often though I realize they may be on a lunch break and are relaxing with a book while they enjoy lunch. I think though older people eating alone seem so lonely. Great courage your Mom had dining out without your Dad. Thanks for sharing.

  12. I don't mind going out alone, even though I enjoy the company of friends or loved ones more. I always carry a book with me and then I am never alone :-). Pozdrawiam.

  13. Love the sketches with their little touches of soft color.

    I don't mind being alone, either--in fact, I enjoy it. but, as Lady Aga said, it may be because I am not lonely. If I lived alone and often had to do things by myself, I'd probably feel differently. I like to stop at a coffee shop or casual restaurant by myself, but I do usually have a book, a sketchbook or some work to occupy me as well. I don't often just sit and observe what's going on around me.


Thank you for your comments! They mean a lot to me!