The Ugly American: Why the Pathetic Lonely Woman Dining Alone is Neither Pathetic nor Lonely (You Sanctimonious Ass)

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I get a tad livid when I’m out of the country on business (or anywhere for any reason for that matter), and I’m having a nice dinner alone when suddenly a well-meaning group of people decide to single me out as a sad target for all of their unnecessary, sanctimonious sympathy darts. Because I am stupefied by people who assume I’d prefer their company over no company at all. So I crafted ?the following checklist ?to have on hand the next time someone rapes my space with their misplaced pity and insistence that I “don’t sit over there all alone.”?? Feel free to use it yourself?:

No, I Won’t Join You, and Here’s Why (Circle a Number)

1. The stitches are still fresh from the removal of my vestigial tail.

2. I have two kids and a downsized husband at home and this business trip is my chance to escape all the incessant crying, whining, snot and fit-throwing—and that’s not even counting the kids.

3. Under my clothes, I’m covered in botched tattoo removals.

4. I relish my solitude. Hooking up with someone tonight is 10 points below syphilis on my list of priorities.

5. I have chronic halitosis. Now please leave before my breath sets you on fire.

6. I want to read this here book I brought to the table. Believe it or not, I didn’t bring it as a conversational prop hoping you’d come over and drop some inane quip about it. (“Watcha readin’? Fifty Shades of Grey? We’ve got an extra pair of handcuffs at our table.”) And by the way, it’s not Fifty Shades of Grey, it’s P.G. Wodehouse. I’d rather blow a rhino that read Fifty Shades of Grey.

7. My vaginal mesh is defective.

8. I’m not lonely, I’m busy. I have like five minutes to waste, I want to make the most of them, and that doesn’t include pounding well-meaning Jaeger with you and your well-meaning friends. If you want to save someone from loneliness, I saw a hobo urinating behind a dumpster down the street. I’m sure he’d love to do body shots with you and the gang.

9. I’m too busy planning the murder of my next lover.

10. I just broke up with someone, and every time I wake up to realize I’m still free from that oppressive putty-colored cloud of anger that was my past relationship, I foam at the mouth and fall over backward in happiness and gratitude. I’m in love with being single. I want to spread it on a cracker and eat it up. I want to put it in a pillowcase and sleep with it under my head every night. I have never loved anything more.

11. I have rabies.

Hollis Gillespie writes a weekly travel column for Paste. She is a writing instructor, travel expert and author of We Will be Crashing Shortly, coming out in June. Follow her on Twitter.

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