Saturday, June 03, 2006

Dinner for One

Sinead’s Thirtieth Birthday.

Sinead, Grainne and Moira and I have been friends since we were in Primary One together, back in 1979, and we’ve known Aiobheann since we were all eleven. Sinead was having a big shindig in a pub in Dublin for her 30th, and the whole gang, my oldest friends in the world, would all be in attendance

So how the fuck did I end up having dinner in a nice Asian restaurant all by myself?

Aoibheann had suggested that we all stayed at a particular hotel right in town. Normally, I would have kipped on the floor at Sinead’s, I really can’t afford £60 for no good reason. But I figured that if the rest of the girls were doing it, I didn’t want to miss out. They all have boyfriends/husbands, but I didn’t think that would be a problem.

You see, earlier that Summer I’d been to two weddings. I’d travelled to Lincolnshire* with a bunch of mainly single mates, and down to Dorset with my all-coupled-up friends from uni.

They were very different evenings with totally separate groups of friends, but they were both brilliant. They both followed the same pattern – arrive the night before, go for a few bevvies, all have breakfast together, then meet for brekkie again the next day (considerably more hungover, telling tales of drunkenness and foolishness). You know.

So I imagined that Sinead’s do would be the same


Grainne cancelled her hotel reservation mid-week as her boyfriend wasn’t going to be there. In the end, she didn’t even show up.

And Aoibheann, who had suggested the whole thing? Well, she booked a different hotel, then announced that she and her husband would be late to the party because they were going to some uber-posh Dublin restaurant for dinner.


Which left Moira. Who is just lovely (and the only one of the lot of them who has ever visited me in my 12 years of living over here). But she and her boyfriend hadn’t been together that long and it was their first trip to Dublin. They clearly wanted to do their own thing, so I wasn’t going to beg them to hang around with me.

But I need to eat. I go to cafes all the time on my own, no bother. But in a big city, in a proper restaurant, on a Saturday night?

It was a first for me. But bollocks to the lot of them, I’m in Dublin, I’m not getting a fucking take-out and eating it in my bedroom.

(Six months later, not one of them came to my thirtieth.)

*Um, Scunthorpe actually


  • See. If you got a boyfriend, you'd turn into a solipsistic c-word like them.

    By Blogger Tim Footman, at 8:28 AM  

  • I eat by myself all the time, as I'm too much of a prick to hold on to a girlfriend for any extended length of time. And since I'm a incorrigible foodie who can't abide the food in most caffs (excepting Jen Cafe, in Chinatown, London, which makes better pan-fried dumplings than any where I've been - and I lived in Hong Kong and China for 18 years), I often find myself having dinner or lunch by myself in 'proper restaurants'.

    I was self conscious at first, but then thought 'fuck it'. Just because you're on your own doesn't mean you shouldn't have good food. Who said that eating alone necessitated a baked fucking potato? Just take a book.

    By Anonymous riddledwiththepox, at 9:01 AM  

  • Everything else aside I can't BELIEVE that none of them came to your 30th. Good friends can be so selfish sometimes.

    By Blogger rockmother, at 10:24 AM  

  • crikey. I eat alone in Jen Cafe regularly, although I favour the crispy belly pork and the watermelon pearl juice.

    Not nice of your friends though, Spin.

    By Blogger GreatSheElephant, at 11:56 AM  

  • I've eaten on my own in several places and I always end up eating too quickly and drinking too much with no conversation to slow me down.

    But it is about a million times better than eating at home on your own. Which is just depressing.

    By Blogger Billy, at 4:07 PM  

  • >>watermelon pearl juice<<

    I can't even begin to express how rude that sounds.

    By Blogger patroclus, at 6:34 PM  

  • I must admit that that had never occurred to me P. And in fact still isn't occurring to me. Care to enlarge?

    Incidentally, riddled, do you look a teeny bit like an Airedale Terrier?

    By Blogger GreatSheElephant, at 8:20 PM  

  • hmmm.
    depends on what an airedale terrier looks like.

    I wear colourful scarves (well, not more than one at a time), and can normally be found reading the Guardian or Observer while eating more than one man (especially one as thin as me) should really be able to ingest. invariably drink jasmine tea, too.

    of course, I no longer live in England, so haven't been to Jen in about seven months.


    By Anonymous riddledwiththepox, at 11:04 PM  

  • The arses. They really should have come to your thing. But take comfort in the fact they all have the kind of name no-one can pronounce and you always have to spell out at least eight times.

    By Blogger frangelita, at 10:01 PM  

  • Grrrr! That's just rude - it's made me so angry, and I don't even know any of the people involved!
    That warrants never speaking to any of them any more. If they ring you, just hang up. If you see them in the street, cross over and run away. And if your paths never cross, do something vindictive to let them know you can't be treated like that.
    Eating alone in a restaurant is obviously absolutely fine... but it still feels weird nonetheless.

    By Blogger babyatom, at 5:11 PM  

  • frangelita said it. goofy bints with unspellable trendoid gael names anyway.
    i go out singles all the time. i love it. read the paper, chat with the server...nice.

    By Blogger First Nations, at 7:03 PM  

  • right. as a teenaged veteran of maeve binchy novels, i demand that you translate (with phonetic english pronunciation) all complicatd irish names.

    please. otherwise i'll email you with a list, and neither of us wants that.

    By Blogger surly girl, at 9:06 PM  

  • I think it's Ivaan, Grohnya, and Moira.

    But I could be wrong.

    I have a friend called Eavan, pronounced the same.

    By Blogger Annie Rhiannon, at 10:42 PM  

  • Grainne is the most horrific of all Irish names and is pronounced Graw-nya. Dead common* where I come from. Anglicisation of Aoibheann is Aiveen.

    I have just been home though and am decidedly more disposed to the lot of them than usual. This time round they actually asked me a few questions about my life instead of talking about mortgages/babies/weddings non-stop.

    And I think watermelon pearl juice sounds lovely.

    *That's common as in popular

    By Blogger Spinsterella, at 3:59 PM  

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