Thursday, March 15, 2012

Everyday Dilemma – Why Can’t I Eat That Sandwich?

You know the story. It’s happened to all of us at least once. You go to a bar or a restaurant and while waiting for your food you notice the table next to you left an untouched plate of fries, half a sushi roll, half a sandwich or even some wine.
You gonna eat that bro?

You want this half of sandwich. You can’t take your mind off of it and you know the waiter is coming any second to take it and probably just throw it away. What is holding you from taking it? Do you worry about what people think? If you were alone would you take it? what is the big deal really? Is there suddenly too much food in the world that we just throw food away now? We know for a fact it is becoming harder for us to feed ourselves and that a big portion of the world lives in relative hunger so why is it so socially frowned upon to take food left by other people?

Costly Signal

Anthropologists recognize the phenomena of costly signal as us giving stuff away as a signal to our surroundings that we can afford stuff on our own. The most radical example I heard of is a tribe inviting other tribes to watch them burn their valuables down just to show they don’t need it.

This shirt makes me look fat
Taking someone else’s food may signal to our friends, date, and general crowd we can’t support ourselves thus instantly lowering our attractiveness rate. (Today you can see hipsters dumpster diving as a statement but they are hipsters, so who cares?)

Evolutionary wise it may explain why I’m forced to watch perfectly good sandwiches go to waste day after day but can’t we get over our pride and just except the fact it is ok?

Do I look weak when I eat that pizza slice my friend can’t finish? Is it cooler to throw away food?

The moment I realize a relationship can actually go somewhere is when my date offers me to finish her plate. That’s true love and careness. 

I just licked that

Another reason is of course the hygienic issue. We are a cleanliness appreciating society. We celebrate it! We clean our apartment before a girl comes over, we purchase cleaning products by the dozens, we are constantly afraid to have a stained shirt, a booger in our nose, hairs on our hair brush!! (It’s a HAIR brush), something stuck between our teeth, we wash our hands before and after everything we do and constantly try to vacuum all the dust in the world.

Just licked that
So for us, putting food in our mouth which up until a moment ago was someone else’s is unheard of.

Who knows what he has done with the food??!! He might have licked all his fries and left them, took his sushi rolls to the bathroom, dropped them on the floor and brought it back or maybe he’s just a veterinarian who hates washing his hands.

But really..? what is the difference between taking some fries sitting at the next table and sharing a salad bowl at a Thanksgiving dinner? 50 people sharing a 20 course meal including kids, old folks and a drunk uncle. But still no one would think badly of you if you lick everybody’s plates.

So… are you gonna eat that?

What mixer is best for Foie Gras?
So it’s not really the whole evolutionary mambo jumbo or really the hygiene thing.

Usually I try to refrain from giving the final word. Sometimes it’s because I don’t know the answer and sometimes it’s because I like to leave it open. But this time I must put my foot down and just say it.

We have become a society of uptight, critical babies and we just need to get over it.

You are not royalty and pizzas were meant to be eaten as whole.

Now excuse me – the guy next to me just left a plate of olives. I’m on it!

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