One of my old friends (old in time, not actual age; she's younger than I am) asked me if I went to eat at restaurants alone. The answer is no, unless I'm traveling alone by car or stranded somewhere. When I was younger, I occasionally went to a restaurant by myself, but later I began to feel too self-conscious to do so. I enjoyed the convenience of having a husband to escort me on eating-out occasions, but that ended more than ten years ago.
For one thing, I have an uncomfortable relationship with food, all of which seems to add unneeded pounds. The less I eat, the better, so a "diet" frozen dinner in my apartment is not only convenient, but satisfying. Although I live in an area full of Chicago's best restaurants, the trouble of dressing up to go to one alone doesn't appeal to me. I look forward to the very few occasions when a friend invites me to a restaurant meal, but I usually just live vicariously through the restaurant revues a fellow Clare resident provides monthly for the resident newsletter I edit. I can't afford some of those places anyway.
Living at The Clare means that three gourmet meals are available each day if I care to partake of them, but I tried breakfast and dinner and gained five pounds in a very short time--even skipping desserts and other obvious temptations. A large part of my non-refundable food allowance goes unused. The food is just too good here, and designed, I think, to keep my thinner fellow residents healthy. I eat only the Healthy Choice breakfast (an egg white omelet with vegetables, orange juice, once slice of whole wheat toast, a small bowl of fresh berries, and coffee) four days a week. The other days, I have cold whole grain cereal with skim milk. Then, on Sunday, I have brunch with three fellow residents. Sometimes it's a regular omelet or scrambled eggs with bacon; sometimes it's luncheon fare like fish with vegetables and salad (and sometimes dessert, I must admit). My lunches are usually cereal or a salad or some cheese or fruit. I do have the special holiday dinners on occasion. Those are quite spectacular.
I yearn to be one of those skinny women who seem to be able to eat anything, and perhaps if I were, I'd venture out to restaurants more often. As it is, though, my fear of food, my lack of outside eating companions, and my shyness keep me at home. It's not a bad way to live, really, for a "hermit" like me. I'm seldom hungry.