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“Why Do You Eat Out A Lot?”

I’d run into her in the hallway near the elevator. I would be en route to lunch and she’d be heading to the break room. She was what I call a work auntie, an older Black female coworker, and the second she’d see me, she would fix her face to bear a smirk.

“Going to get you something to eat, huh?” she’d ask, still wearing a smug expression.

“Yep!” I’d respond.

“Mmm hmmm.” She would soon disappear behind the doors heading towards the break room. I would get on the elevator and roll my eyes.

It wasn’t the fact that she asked about my lunch plans. We all have to eat. I knew her inquiry was loaded. There was shade in that exchange. Without saying it, she let me know that she’d been mentally clocking my trips to the various restaurants near the office. She was calculating the costs of my food. She was judging my ability to provide a home cooked meal on a daily basis, as if that makes me less of a woman.

But honestly, after I’d made that 1.5 hour commute home, I was too tired to cook. Occasionally, I would bring in lunch. I’d time it perfectly to be in and out of the break room before the usual crew would stake their claim for their allotted, mandatory one-hour break.

Sometimes I would get tired of eating the same leftovers over and over. I worked in an area that allowed me to be within walking distance of over 50 restaurants. I love trying new cuisines and restaurants. I practically grew up eating in and from restaurants. Why wouldn’t I want to try what was around me?

But most importantly, as an adult, a grown woman, I was also able to do whatever I wanted. And still am. I’m not bound to some patriarchal norm that requires the women to be this doting homemaker. When direct deposit hits, I am more than capable of spending those funds however I please. Treating myself or several to a good meal is part of that.

Some people will never be able to see outside of their experiences and thus, project said thoughts on those around them. I just attributed her behavior and comments to mild ignorance of the world around her. She just doesn’t know any better. Sad.

Meanwhile, I’ve continued to dine out. Doing so has allowed me to create this blog, visit a variety of restaurants, work with over a dozen brands and plus some. My life has actually flourished due to my culinary patronage. Not sure I can say the same for her.