This article was originally published in Define Introvert.
There’s this scene — you might know it — from Steve Martin’s The Lonely Guy, when Larry Hubbard requests a table for one and receives a spotlit escort to his one-top.
It’s a funny gag, but of course it works because it tweaks folks’ paranoia about public solitude. Just search “eating alone,” you’ll find a vigorous discussion. In fact it’s apparently a problem in need of solutions, such as helpful online instructions for newbies, table-sharing services for business travelers, even blind dates with top-shelf-size plush toys.
Of course everyone understands the reality of monomesaphobia, this aversion to tables for one, to going about unescorted. Introverts, however, have no intuitive sense of it. To us, it’s like a shark’s revulsion for magnets — we can watch it happening to the creature, but we’ll never know what the animal is feeling.