So I was going to write about this a few days ago because my time in Waikiki hasnâ€™t really gone as planned. I was supposed to be spending the week with a friend who had to work last minute, and so I find myself wandering around tourist HELL in Waikiki bouncing between sunlit euphoria and feeling depressed as shit. Iâ€™ve met some amazing people this week, and I had an INCREDIBLE weekend, but it gets a little lonely down here in Japanese family central.
So Iâ€™ve been eating out alone, a LOT. Not just cafes. I like sitting in restaurants and having a pretty menu and being waited on. But I always feel as if the waiters linger at my table longer than the others, chatting with me, oozing sympathy over my poor spinsterhood â€“ confirmed when I talk about my three cats at home.
And then this happened on the bus yesterday.
I was on the shuttle headed to the luau. I was the only one sitting alone in a seat. The eccentric host, Georgie, was welcoming her new â€œfamilyâ€ and listing off all the places we were from. With each destination â€“ Arizona, California, Texas â€“ everyone raised their hands and gave a loud â€œWHOOOOP!â€
And then it came to little â€˜ol me, decked out to the nines in my $4 Forever 21 dress.
Georgie says, â€œWe have a special guest on this bus, family. Her name is Candice and she is from Canada. She is an individual traveller. She is travelling ALONE! ALONE! Everyone make her feel WELCOME!â€ And there I sat with my cheeks blazing, ready to slide under the seat and wither into dust. Itâ€™s like I have #FOREVERALONE tattooed on my forehead.
So fuck it. You know what? Fuck it. Alone doesnâ€™t mean lonely. And if I sat around waiting for my friends to join me Iâ€™d never get anywhere. And since I can count the good experiences Iâ€™ve had with men in the past decade on one hand, Iâ€™d much prefer my own company at this point, thankyouverymuch.
Eating alone is actually my favourite part of the whole thing. Itâ€™s weird that itâ€™s weird to everyone else. Hereâ€™s my honest guide to eating alone.
1. What to wear?
The other night I was determined to find a place to sit down for a few hours and enjoy a nice meal. That did not happen. The wait time in every restaurant along this hellhole strip* was minimum ONE HOUR. So I ambled along in my painful flip-flops until I found a goddamned Chiliâ€™s.
But I had dressed up nicely, because why not? I had done my hair and make-up and put on a nice long sundress, dabbled some rouge on my cheeks. Even if itâ€™s just Chiliâ€™s, you can dress the part. Even if youâ€™re swigging beer and mowing down on a steak like a hulking testosterone-machine (guilty!), you can still look good doing it.
Treat yourself grrrrrl.
2. Tell the host you want your own seat like a BOSS
I fake stunning confidence when I stroll up to a host at a restaurant. Before they can even greet me, I hold up one finger and say plainly: â€œOne, please.â€ This saves them the opportunity to cock their heads slightly and ask, â€œJust one?â€ Hell yeah just one and hell yeah all those appetizers are for ME.
3. Pull out the â€˜ol iPhone
While people-watching is entertaining to the extreme, I always end up pulling out my iPhone at some point so I can clearly become the too-busy-to-slow-down-douchebag youâ€™ll find at every table, punching emails into his/her phone and having loud biz chats that you secretly want the whole restaurant to hear. â€œOH YAH DOLORES, THE MARRIOT IS BOOKED. TELL THEM TO BOOK THE HILTON INSTEAD. WEâ€™LL TAKE THE TEAM THERE.â€
Yesterday while eating alone at Dukeâ€™s I pretended to be booking travel accommodations and so I asked my waiter a dozen questions. Like clearly Iâ€™m important enough that I donâ€™t have time to do this AFTER I eat.
4. Flirt your face off*
*This one usually works best with the opposite sex.
My cutie waiter at Chiliâ€™s must have felt overly sympathetic to me because he brought me a little present. Maybe they do that for all the Chiliâ€™s guests â€“ a tiny pendant with â€œHawaiiâ€ written on it. But maybe it was just for me, my own special little piece of Paradise that I can take home and put in my keepsakes box forever. Either way, I win.
You can also play up the sympathy thing. One of the workers at the luau (shown below) urged me to get my photo taken and I pouted and said, “I’m all alone!” So he took one with me instead. Aww.
5. Lie through your teeth
It does get tiresome after awhile. â€œAre you alone?â€ or â€œdo you always travel alone?â€ are well-meaning questions usually posed from the ultra-tourists outside my regular sphere of travel peers. So hell, why not just lie right through your teeth? You can have a lot of fun with it. I propose the following suggestions.
â€œYes! Iâ€™m just recovering from my stint in the mental ward where I was held for being a danger to society, so Iâ€™m actually advised to eat alone.â€
â€œOh no, my husband â€“ have you heard of him, Mark Zuckerberg? â€“ heâ€™s out condo shopping at the moment. I told him I was happy with whatever billion dollar property he decided on.â€
â€œIâ€™m actually in the middle of an anthropological field experiment examining the eating habits of tourists in their natural environment.â€
â€œAll my friends will join me, Iâ€™m sure. Theyâ€™re only four hours late.â€
That last one usually gets me a few dates.
*It’s clear I’m not a big fan of Waikiki. I set up here so I could easily hop on some tours and explore the area. But I MUCH MUCH MUCH PREFER the quieter island life. No hate.