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November 07, 1986 - Image 85

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-11-07

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Eating alone
in restaurants
poses problems,
for many
single women


Local Columnist

"How many in your party?
Just one?"
The smile on the hostess's
face quickly fades as she
scrutinizes the young woman
who comes to dine alone in
the posh restaurant fre-
quented by Yuppies, sober-
suited corporate types and
their stylish wives spending
big bucks for the best at ta-
bles for two or more.
"I'll seat you as soon as I
can," the hostess says dis-
dainfully to the solo diner.
"We have nothing available
for one person."
The single woman, who
feels as though she's sticking
out like a sore thumb,
watches as the hostess seats
pairc. and larger parties at
tables previously empty.
After what seems like an
eternity, the lone diner fi-
nally gets seated in the
furthest corner of the restau-
rant, as close to the kitchen
as possible.
What follows is a night-
mare of waiting for the
menu, hoping the waiter will
stop ignoring her and take
her order and wishing, when
she finally gets her food, that
someone will come along and
ask her if she'd like a cup of

coffee. Forget the refill.
The management obviously
doesn't like the idea of per-
sons alone tying up space and
the waiter isn't thrilled when
single women are seated in
his station. No way is he
going to knock himself out
for what he figures will be a
meager tip.
Of course, this isn't the
story with every dining spot.
Not all restaurateurs treat
single female customers as
though they're poor little
girls peeking through a win-
dow at the privileged masses.
Although they may be lib-
erated from the traditional
female role of cooking for
others, eating alone and
being considered a "poor, sol-
itary soul" who couldn't pos-
sibly enjoy her own company,
poses problems for a host of
single women.
It took a great deal of
courage for the lone customer
at the restaurant to keep
from walking out. But she
was determined to hang in
there, even suffering indig-
nities, just to prove she could
do it.
Pat Archer, owner of the
Excalibur restaurant in
Southfield, says he's single
himself and certainly
wouldn't want to be discrimi-
nated against.
"I treat everyone the way I

want to be treated," he says.
"We encourage single men
and women to come in and
they're seated where they'll
feel comfortable and not
shoved aside. We don't show
favoritism to larger parties."
But some women still avoid
dining at posh restaurants
such as Excalibur when
they're dining alone. Connie
L. says she doesn't mind
stopping at informal spots on
her way home from work.
But she hasn't mustered up
the courage to venture on her
own to swank dining rooms
where she'd be surrounded by
Sherry K. is a former wait-
ress and she maintains she
can't remember ever being
treated badly when she dined
alone. She's one of the lucky
single women who was never
shoved in the back of a res-
taurant and she's been seated
immediately when a table for
two became available.
"Most of my girlfriends
won't go to a restaurant
alone because they feel em-
barassed or strange," she
says. "From a waitress's
standpoint, when a person
comes in alone the first time,
she may be given a little bet-
ter service because she's on
her own.
"But if she leaves a bad tip

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