Lunching alone is a practice which I often enjoy. Refusing to bury my head in a book or magazine, behaviour often exhibited by other solitary diners, I choose to use it as an excellent opportunity for people watching.
There are the business lunches where an awkward hesitation hovers over the wine list. Will the client imbibe or not? One can audibly hear a breathe of relief exhaled by the hosting agency as the phrase “I think a little glass of wine might be in order” is uttered.
The couple of gentlemen of a certain age who guffaw with added gusto to avoid any confusion as to their sexuality. “Not that there’s anything wrong with queer chaps you understand. Heavens, Cynthia was married to one once.”
The ‘yummy mummies’ whose attention is diverted to their wailing offspring and who only manage to half consume their by-now cold lasagne (“I need the carbs sweetie. I’m breastfeeding.”).
And of course, no musing on lunchers would be complete without mentioning those legendary ladies-who-lunch. The mineral water sipping, Silk Cut Slim puffing, Chanel encrusted brigade are not just an urban myth. Fearful of not fitting into next season’s Manolos if their weight creeps over seven stone, they appear to exist on greens and the occasional prawn. Oh, and a glass of champagne on a Friday.
The couple whom have been married forever, for whom food is solely fuel and whose only conversation is “I hope that’s not salt Geoffrey, you know what Dr Hughes said.” The young lovers who are caught in the heady whirlwind of fresh passion and whom devour more of each other than their shared fruit de mer (she daren’t tell him that shellfish might just make her eyes swell to the size of gobstoppers).
Yes, lunchtime offers a fascinating insight into human behaviour and relationships. Don’t even get me started on dinnertime!