It shouldn't be awkward. It's a totally normal thing to do. And yet, defying everything, some see it as a social convention that one should never partake in: "How many people are eating?"
"Oh, just one". Good god, some of you may cry. You're eating alone? Well, yes. Men have been doing this for generations. Stryder is alone in the scene we first meet him in Fellowship of The Ring. When Obi Wan Kenobi went out for dinner, I doubt he had many dates with him. He was a hermit, after all. After a break-up, guys and girls are always alone, drinking away their sorrows... these examples are actually a bit lame, aren't they, being as 2/3 of them involve fictional characters. But you understand what I'm getting at. Nowadays when someone is eating alone in anywhere other than MaccyD's or KFC, it's like they have quite literally morphed into an elephant in order to become the proverbial elephant in the room. It's far more common to enjoy a Boots meal deal. And who can argue with that? Nice food and you always get pulled back by the whole 'oh with a Boots meal deal I always feel like I'm saving loads by getting all the expensive stuff like Tropicana or Relentless' ideology (Hoisin duck wrap, fruit bag, and vitamin water, if you were curious). But why should we not be able to enjoy a more upmarket way of dining just because we're on our lonesome?
As someone who is fine with it, if I'm about the city, I'll always pop into my favourite noodle bar even if I'm alone. But that is just it. It's ok in certain restaurants. Noodles, yes. Fry-up, yes. Pub, just about. But then pizza hut? No way. Outback steakhouse? To eat alone in there is just about as socially unacceptable as wearing a Millwall shirt in the depths of Bow. Why is this though? Is it the food? The time taken to be in and out (because if you are alone, you don't wanna be in there for too long, right?). The formality e.g. whether it's a waiter affair or a order at the counter job, or even a buffet. I mean, I personally feel much better when alone at a buffet place. If I'm with someone at a proper restaurant and the waiter comes over to take our order, you can always do that classic look toward whoever your with followed by an inquisitive "yeah?" informing him that you have discussed with your guests and are now ready to peruse his wears, showing him that you are in control. Compare this to when your alone and he looks at you like you're some sort of paedophile, and I know what I'd go for. The possibilities are endless. But next time you're out, either pop in to a little quick restaurant and enjoy yourself, rather than tucking into the fifth Zinger Tower meal this month. Well, that or stare inquisitively at that weirdo on his own in the corner of Nando's.
Over and out.