1. The looks of pity you get the moment you walk into the restaurant. From the guard outside, to the waiters, the crowd, the head chef, all the way to the valet who brings you your car. Why don’t they just say what they’re thinking: “You poor thing, alone on a Saturday night! Why don’t you just hide in your bedroom and stuff your face with potato chips like all the other sad, lonely creatures like yourself?”
2. The annoying kids who think it’s a good idea to come steal the empty chair next to you since there won’t be another person sitting on it for a long, long time.
3. The snooty married women who will make overtly grand displays of affection towards their husbands just to make sure they don’t look your way.
4. How any object you take along to keep you company will break down. Your laptop will run out of battery power. Coffee gets spilt on your book. You phone doesn’t receive signals. The chihuahua in your bag dies of heat... poor Louis. True story.
5. The group of single men who decide instantly that the only reason you’ve come alone is so you can pick up a man to devour as dessert later. And of course, they are best suited for that role.
6. The annoying young couples so desperately in love that they spend the entire evening playing footsie, which usually leads to handsie by dessert. You know this because you’re sprawled on all fours searching for little Louis.
7. No matter what you order, the waiter will inform you haughtily that it will be “too much for one person.”
8. How the waiter will hand you the TV remote control to save you from spending another second with your own wretched company and your sad thoughts.
9. How they take away all the extra cutlery from your table but leave that extra napkin there, just in case you feel like crying over your miserable lonely life.
10. The conversations you’re forced to hear, about everyone’s chacha, mama, khaala, dada, and baba. The worst is when you have a perfectly good point to make about the chacha but can’t, because you’re not part of the conversation.
Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, April 3rd, 2011.
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