Sometimes I am at home by myself, and I'm hungry. Grocery shopping is a campaign; ordering in is a quick fix. My roommate and I have a library of take-out menus. I have the phone numbers of my favorites saved in my phone, and have memorized my favorite sections of their menus (as well as the Soup of the Day schedule), so that I can order while walking home from the bus stop and arrive home just before the delivery person.
The delivery people. I don’t know any of their names, but I do know their faces: the cute boy from Jimmy Johns, the nice, nerdy guy from Tom & Jerrys. There are probably few delivery people in town who haven’t been to see the eccentric, ensweatered lady late at night, the first lady of local dine-in. And they have seen me in all of my staying-in glory: frizzy hair, mismatched pajamas, giant sweaters, bright socks, disintegrating house slippers. And sometimes they see me like this on a Friday night.
I’m not a very big person, but I can pack food away when I’m hungry. I could probably be in eating contests, if I thought that would be fun, which I don’t, because eating should be pleasurable, nourishing, and not painful. Somedays I don’t eat very much at all during the day, so that by dinner time I am very hungry. I’ll order a lot of food then, usually with the noble intention of saving some for later. Sometimes they bring me two forks. Probably because it’s a lot of food. More likely, as with tonight, when I only ordered a half order of fettuccine alfredo, because it's Friday night. Everyone knows that on Friday nights you should (1) not be at home. But that (2) if you are at home, you should be entertaining, and apparently entertaining a small company, if we are to take the delivery forks as a guide.
There is a certain financial imprudence in ordering in frequently. This I readily admit. But there is nothing inherently wrong with either the Fridayness or the aloneness of the dining.
Grilled cheese has been a treat for me since childhood visits to the Woolworth lunch counter (also to pick out a new book). It’s so satisfying to have that crispy little square, wrapped up in wax paper, delivered right to my door, along with dill pickle spears, also wrapped in wax paper. And if someone is willing to bring you tiramisu at home, then I say engage such a person in such a purpose. Sometimes you need tiramisu now. Sometimes now is Friday. And sometimes you only need one fork!
(Don’t even get me started on the joys of dining out as a woman solo! Ariel Leve’s article “Is Eating Alone an Act of Bravery?” treats this subject quite humorously.)