It gets really hot in New York in the summer. 90 degrees isn’t unusual. When I lived and worked in Westchester County, just outside NYC, my coworkers always seemed to want to eat lunch in the courtyard outside our workplace. Even when it was like 90 degrees and humid.
Their reasoning was that since they were stuck inside all day, lunch was their one time to escape and be outside. I understand that, but I also didn’t want to sweat in my nice work clothes when an air conditioned building was right next to me. Does. not. compute.
I remember once opening the door to the outdoor patio at work and it felt like air from a furnace hit me in the face. “You guys, it is really hot outside… are you sure you don’t want to eat inside with the A/C?” came my whiny plea. No, they inexplicably just HAD to be outside. Even though we were suffering the entire time.
Then there were the bees. There was a bee problem in the courtyard at my job, and everyone knew about it. Why sit outside, sweating in a cloud of bees, when you don’t have to?
When I was a kid, my dad built a neat wooden picnic table for our front yard. I think the idea was that we would eat out there occasionally. I dreaded putting my legs under that table, wondering what spiders and bugs would be having their way with my ankles. I was always on the lookout for ants and flies around our food. Why can’t we just eat inside, where there are no bugs?
So, anytime I’m given the opportunity to eat or work outside, most of the time, I’d prefer to be inside. Sorry. I can’t help it. I kind of hate eating outside.
Buzzfeed did a series on why eating outdoors sucks.
I disagree, I love eating outside. Then again, I’d rather be outside than inside 95% of the time. Being in 85 degree heat and doing manual labor is prefered to sitting in an air conditioned cubicle in front of a computer! But thankfully, there are people who enjoy a wide range of things, so there is something for everyone.
My main issue with eating outside is finding food good for it. I love the ideas of picnics, but other than cheese, salami and bread, have a hard time finding foods that are portable.
Sometimes what we’re taught we “should” do can override our instincts (or even logic), especially if a meme was implanted at an early age and came from someone in authority at the time. As adults, we have more ability to objectively challenge and redefine old memes to determine if they are still valid for us. It also gives a chance to redefine the boundaries of what we personally find acceptable and not acceptable.
Eating outside when it’s 85 with moderate humidity – I’m fine with that. Eating outside when it’s 95 with high humidity – different story. It would be tough to enjoy a good meal if I’m sweating like a pig! Doing something just because it’s always been done is ignoring our inner-voice on the matter, especially if our inner-voice is telling us that it no longer makes sense.
Of course, it’s all subjective. There may be people who do enjoy eating outside in 95-degree humid heat. That’s their preference, and it’s not my place to pass judgment. I just know I’m not one of them.
Agree. Unless it’s a picnic and i’m wearing ‘picnic’ clothes, have sunglasses & a visor and we’re not in the middle of a city, i don’t get the appeal of eating outside. i especially don’t get restaurants with outdoor seating on the sidewalk, adjacent to busy, noisy traffic with trucks and buses grinding by, the wind blowing my napkin off my lap and who-knows-what onto my food.
I’ve always hated eating outside my whole life! I also love the idea of hiking or walking in a peaceful woods or even by the lake, and end up sweating, dealing with bugs, etc. I remember complaining to someone how I hate mosquitos and she said, you must hate summer. I am one of the few people I know who dislikes summer. 🙁 plus it’s noisier. Thanks for posting this.
I laughed out loud because I totally feel the same way as you do 🙂 I hate heat/humidity. I so much prefer being indoor with A/C running unless it’s cool and dry outside. Sitting on the grass in the hot day is worse. My legs get sweaty and sticky. Grass makes me feel itchy. I recently discovered your blog and podcast. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you! ALL of my friends (and most everyone I know, for that matter) love eating outdoors. I’ve NEVER understood it; especially here in Texas where it’s Summer for about 6 months of the year (over 90 degrees and usually humid). They seem to LOVE it and I’m always just trying to smile through the sweat, squinty eyes, and bugs hovering around the food. Do. Not. Understand. And yet I’M the weird one. Thank you for this!
You’re welcome! Thank YOU for chiming in so I know I’m not the only one, either!
OMG- I was the same way as a kid too- I hated it when my mom would make us eat outside – and the bug thing- we lived in the woods- hello?! I too never have and never will understand the appeal of being in the great out-of-doors when you practically have to swim through the air, feel like you’ve just run a marathon, or have to put on the smelliest of bug sprays (or light citronella candles) to allegedly keep the mosquitos at bay WHILE YOU ARE TRYING TO EAT. I am sorry, but how can I eat food when all I smell is either DEET or citronella-laced smoke? And don’t get me started on the outdoor seating at restaurants- they are FINALLY banning smoking inside, but not out….I just found out about this HSP thing- it is SO nice to realize I am in good company 🙂
Thanks Deb! I HEAR YOU, sister!! 🙂
I have to admit, though, I now live in Southern California, which has crazy good weather, almost no mosquitoes, and low humidity, so I can’t complain so much anymore. Usually the conditions are perfect (even for me) to eat outside, as long as the sun isn’t in my eyes. 🙂
I agree with all those that dislike eating outside in hot muggy buggy weather. Why I ask when you could be comfortable and bug free inside. Why leave a comfortable home to camp and use an outhouse and sleep in a tent. Isn’t your bed more comfortable? Never understood.
I just discovered your blog. I’ve been learning more and more about HSP. As soon as I read the title I started laughing. I thought I was the only person on the face of the planet who prefers to eat inside of the restaurant. I don’t mind eating outside on a picnic or a hike, but when I have the option to sit inside a comfortable restaurant, versus dealing with the elements, cars driving by, people walking by,usually uncomfortable unclean chairs of metal or plastic, etc. It’s been awkward for me because here in the Seattle area most people love to eat outside when it isn’t raining. Without fail, I enter the restaurant and they excitedly assume I want to eat outside and look at me kind of weird when I answer no thanks.
haha! thanks for sharing, Anita!
CONFESSION: EATING OUT IS OVERRATED
“Let’s eat outside. It’s such a nice day.”
“Wanna go to a cookout? I am putting meat on the grill.”
“This place has a great rooftop garden.”
Al fresco for me is literally for the birds. (In fact, I often imagine swarms of birds “doing their business” over unaware outside diners who suddenly realize a topping from the sky has been added to their burgers. Ick.)
Eating outside is overrated. I just don’t get the appeal.
The reasons? Perhaps more personal than objective, but in this case, it’s a matter of taste (and ambience) or maybe even some form of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Insect invasion: My brother was stung by a bee twice, yes twice, when we were eating outside in the backyard. In one case, he sat on the bee. Yes, who wants to eat out and suffer from bees circling around, attracted by whatever you are eating? And not just bees, but other insects, flies, of course. A fly on a paper plate sums up for me the joy of eating outside. And note that these were the days before many homeowners built elaborate decks (all this trouble to build something to eat outside on; seems odd to me). We ate outside on decaying wooden picnic tables placed directly on grass, grass which harbored ants, grasshoppers, and other swarming, creeping things.
Destructive winds: One time at a family barbeque event the wind was so strong it actually lifted an umbrella out of the center of a table and carried it across the yard. Mary Poppins, eat your heart out. Yes, winds can blow paper plates, rip off those temporary tablecloths, knock over paper and plastic cups filled with liquids. Rather than focusing on the food, one ends up focusing on preventing the trappings you have created to hold the food from blowing into your face or falling onto the insect-infested grass.
Heat-related disasters: I date from the times of charcoal grills. Either the coals would not light, or one time a raging inferno occurred because I put an excessive amount of lighter fluid on the coals (I was impatient; for corn’s sake, let’s just turn on the stove). And then there’s the ice cream issue. Yes, ice cream is suitable for summer, but guess what? It melts. All over. And then there’s always the possibility of the melting ice cream falling off the cone, especially if a small child is holding the cone. Oh, the humanity. Especially for children whose faces end up looking like they fell into a mud pit.
Voyeurs: You are sitting outside in your yard or deck or whatever. The neighbors next door are outside, perhaps not eating. Yet they can watch every chew, hear every slurp, every burp. They might ben be able to record it and put it on Facebook. Status: My neighbors are eating outside. I don’t want people, especially people you don’t know very well, watching my eating habits. Not that I necessarily eat sloppily, but have you ever looked at films of yourself eating? It’s not a pretty site. I don’t want to be remembered as someone whose mouth is filled with hamburger and potato chips. So much for going back to nature by eating out.
haha!!! This is great!
Oh yes, the underside of the outdoor table is scary!
Wow, I googled this to see if anyone else felt how i did about eating outside. It was like I had written it myself. I am also HSP.
Thank you! I know this blog is a couple years old, but I just found it and I agree completely. When I go have lunch with my coworkers, they always ask for an outside table. What they don’t get is, it’s not just a preference that I prefer eating inside. I CANNOT sit outside in the sun. I start sweating so bad, my sweat drips into my food, and my shirt becomes soaked and I’m a stinky, wet mess for the rest of the afternoon. And it’s not fun feeling that burning feeling on my skin. It’s torture. My face and the tops of my ears burn, even if I’m wearing a hat. I think people who love to eat side can tolerate eating inside a whole lot more than I can handle eating outside. So if my coworkers suggest eating outside, I beg them to let us eat inside. If they still insist, then I have no choice but to get my food to go and go back to the office. (And then I become the bad guy in their mind, but that’s a-whole-nother story.)
I HATE eating outside. My significant other is so excited about his new patio and patio table set. I feel like such a buzzkill but I was pretty clear before he invested 6k in these items that it wasn’t my thing. Now he sulks outside by himself.
It depends for me. I personally enjoy the bugs! I even leave some out for them, once everyone else has left. I prefer eating with animals as opposed to humans, so at the zoo, I won’t sit down at a table, but go near the exhibit with the primates during their mealtimes. Or I’ll enjoy going near the aquarium exhibits…maybe I’m not entirely human! LOL
Having long hair, I dislike eating outside. I either have to put it up and risk sunburn or have it flap from the wind into my food and mouth when I eat. I am always the palest person at an event and everyone wants to eat outside yet says I can have the shade. But if they live hot soooooo much, why do I get the seat where the umbrellas barely cross and get to sweat? I have been in 100 degree heat in Arizona right next to an air conditioned house no one feels compelled to go into. If you make something like shrimp cocktail and put it outside in the heat, it stinks. And any bread gets super dry. Not to mention huge spiders, bees and flies. I have a friend who was born in Texas and won’t put food inside when she had events outside and there will soon be a cloud of bees. One time I came over and was going to eat but there were bees on the salad and really, I didn’t know how long the egg salad was out…you can get sick. I get having a beer or soda outside, maybe some chips or fruit, but never a whole meal. It is gross. But everyone I know is pulled by a hidden force to act like they enjoy it. I’d rather eat outside in the winter if I was forced to eat outside.