The internet has sided with a woman who upset a couple in a restaurant by eating alone.
On Monday, Reddit user Resturant_Conflicts shared the uncomfortable situation on the popular r/AmITheA**hole subreddit.
“I have given up on dating but still enjoy date activities,” said the 35-year-old: “So once a month I take myself out on a date. I go to the movies, museums and even mini-golf by myself. I always treat myself to a nice lunch or dinner around 3–4pm, after the lunch rush but before the dinner rush so I have plenty of time to enjoy my food.”
She explained that she always finds a new restaurant to try for her “self-dates,” and on Saturday found a hidden Mediterranean place with great decor and music, and only around seven tables.
“When I got there only one other table was occupied and I sat in the only two-seater table,” she wrote: “The waiter got me my drink and I had just put in my order when a couple walked in. They looked around the small restaurant, saw me at the only two-seat table, and approached the waiter. I was on my Kindle and not paying attention until I heard the waiter say, ‘there are plenty of other tables.'”
As the couple continued to speak to the waiter, the Redditor recalls hearing one of the couple say: “She won’t take that long. She’s all alone.” Resturant_Conflicts explained: “The woman huffed and sat at a four-seat table.”
The Redditor explained that during her self-dates, she goes all out—ordering an appetizer, soup, and an entrée. When her appetizer came out, she heard the man again comment: “See, it’s just a small meal, she’ll be gone soon.”
By the time the entrée appeared, the couple were increasingly irritated, “As soon as they saw it the woman said, ‘are you f***ing kidding me,'” explained the Redditor: “The food was amazing and even though I knew they were waiting for my table I took my time appreciating the meal.”
Self-dates are an increasingly popular part of modern life, rejecting time socializing in favor of taking care of yourself. A 2017 study looked further into the effect of solitude on people’s experiences and minds. Research found that solitude could lead to relaxation and reduced stress when individuals actively chose to be alone. Before that in 2016, a study in the British Journal of Psychology revealed that highly intelligent people actually report lower life satisfaction when they have socialized with friends. Both studies highlight the potential importance of time alone in an increasingly connected and densely populated world.
Resturant_Conflicts said she had found the whole experience quite funny—until, that is, she recounted it to friends who suggested that she had been unreasonable.
“They said restaurants like that were for couples on dates not single people and it wouldn’t have been a big deal for me to move or have got take-away to eat at home,” she wrote: “I said it was 4pm not a prime date time and that there were five other tables, but they said I’d taken the most romantic table and ruined their date for my own enjoyment.”
Unsure, the Redditor asked the internet for their opinions, and Reddit users overwhelmingly backed her—telling her she was not the a**hole.
“NTA,” wrote one commenter: “You took the smallest table available, which happened to be a two-seat table. What would anyone expect you to do, except exactly that?”
“So single people can’t enjoy a nice meal now? They have to get takeout and hide in their homes to make space for those on dates?” asked another Reddit user.
Another commenter said: “It’s not your fault that they wanted your table and didn’t even have the courtesy to ask you directly if you wouldn’t mind moving,” and the poster agreed: “That’s the part that was so wild to me that they didn’t even ask. If they’d been polite about it I might have even moved, but they were just so passive-aggressive.”
“I hate when people get angry at single people just for existing,” wrote another Reddit user. Another commenter said: “I am actually shocked that your friends tried to gatekeep eating food at a restaurant.”
Newsweek has reached out to Resturant_Conflicts for comment.