At least once in your Kenyon career, you will indeed feel the need to satisfy your basic human desire for nutrients, and there will indeed be no one to join you on your journey towards self-sustenance. As one too many old men in bathtubs on the Viagra commercial tell me, “It happens to everyone”.
Sitting alone in Peirce presents a dichotomy of reputation: either you are embarrassingly lonely or confident and independent. I’m here to help you lean on the brighter end of the spectrum.*
What follows in this post will be key in your future solitary Peirce moments. Print it out. Memorize it. Tattoo it backwards on your left buttcheek and occasionally try to read it in the bathroom mirror. Or read it and possibly enjoy it. I don’t control your life.
Step One: Preparation
The act of eating alone in Peirce begins long before you narrowly avoid the seal during the common hour lunch rush. Mentally prepare yourself for the harsh realities of the situation. I suggest listening to “Rude Boy” by Rihanna in the first floor Olin bathroom to garner strength. Low expectations yield high results, and if you enter Peirce knowing you’re going to be alone, heading straight for a table, and claiming your right to be unaccompanied, your determination will mask the scent of your fear.
Step Two: Strategy
Think of this like one of those cool, quirky thrift-store chic styles everyone is wearing these days: re-define your loner aesthetic with a laptop (“I’m just so involved in the Kenyon Community ™ that I don’t have time for friends” look), textbook (“I was up so late with my #Squad that I didn’t get the chance to do today’s homework”), phone (“It’s not my fault my thousands of friends are all texting me at once”), or journal (“I can’t talk to anyone right now, I must Art”).
Additionally, know that, while your confidence is key, you still want to be respected on this campus. Don’t take a circle table if you know you’re going to be alone. You are better than that.
Step Three: Consumption
Of course, one must not forget the purpose of your dignified efforts, but even in this, there are strict rules. Pasta and salads, while great at Ye Ole Olive Garden, present you with the possibility of minorly choking, and as we’ve established by now, you are alone. Choking, in this situation, is a no go. A reminder for you (but more so for me) is to invest in the utensils section of the servery. Turns out, when you’re eating alone with your hands covered in tomato sauce, people around you get the idea that you’re on your own because everyone you know is avoiding you and your poor table manners. And that’s not what this is about!
Step Four: Acceptance
There will be people asking to take your chairs, looking at you like you are a puppy in a Sarah McLachlan ad. Understand this. Embrace this. You are unafraid of the pressures of the Kenyon Community ™ . You are independent, and you are well-loved, and you can stay two minutes past the moment you finish your last bite just to prove to any and every onlooker that you are not afraid (even though you very clearly are)!
And, if all else fails, know that I’m with you, dear Peerless Peircer. Not, like, physically, but definitely at the table a few chairs away, undoubtedly on my own and trying my best to appear calm. There’s comfort in knowing we’re all terrified, yes?
*I suppose now is when I tell you that if you see me eating alone in Peirce, nose nearly touching my laptop so as to appear busy, that thanks to this article I’m officially straddling that thin line with the excuse of “suffering for my art”.