My Policy on Sharing (Food)
You finish your burger and let out a monstrous, smelly, impressive belch. That was just what I needed, you think to yourself, licking your greasy fingers and grabbing your beer to wash down any remnants in your maw. The beer is cold and crisp, and doesn’t so much whet your appetite as it does inspire you to put something salty in your mouth. Miles away from the sex drawer in the bureau next to your bed, you instead scan the table for closer targets. Mmmm, look at those fries. They look golden and crispy, covered in salt and virtually untouched. I’ll just have one…
What in the fuck?! Your free hand shoots up and cradles your other, newly forkstabbed hand. You peek underneath and see dots of blood well up from four tiny puncture wounds on the back of your right hand. How could this have happened???
You look up from your forkstabwound. Sitting directly across from you is me, and a plate of my fries.
Generally I don’t share food, but you know this already if you’ve eaten with me more than once. But why? What made me so weird? Gentlemen, let’s cut to the core of this issue.
Setting the Scene
Whether staying in for the night and ordering food or grabbing some grub out with your buds, it is important for all parties to review the menu carefully and choose items that they will enjoy eating. I believe this to be a perfectly fair stance – everyone should get what they want to eat. What can be more free and less restrictive than that?
If you see an item on the menu and you feel like eating it, order it. That’s the entire rule right there. You want fries? Get some fries! Feel like a bite of the sandwich that I’m getting? Get one for yourself, that way you can have ten bites. Breaking this rule leads to consequences, which I will discuss at the end.
All involved parties are completely free to order whatever food items they want, safe within their own little spheres. Or maybe it would help to think of each person as a lone wolf, hunting their own separate prey item in the unforgiving cold of the Alaskan tundra. I care not what prey the other lone wolves manage take down – we’re each on our own separate hunts, solo. For the past 45 minutes, I’ve stalked this platter of boneless wings all by myself. It was I who meticulously followed its tracks through the fresh unbroken snow of the menu. It was I who chased it down and gave it chase with the waiter, and it will be I who crushes its puny throat [wing] in my merciless, viselike jaws. This is my kill. To any other lone wolves stalking the perimeter, just waiting for me to drop my defenses, you will find no weaknesses here. You each had your own opportunities to hunt, stalk and kill your own meal, same as I. Did you eat too fast? Are you still hungry because you should you have gone after bigger game? Did you go after a new prey item that’s not as tasty as you thought it would be? I wish I could help you, but I can’t. I won’t feed you my scraps and I have no interest in yours. Perhaps I’m still hungry when I’m done, or maybe I’d honestly like a bite of the wild steakbeast that you’re ripping into right now. Well, that sucks for me. I will have to take this into consideration on my next hunt.
We rip shots, talk about our days at work, and spend time together as a pack, and what a pack we make! But in The Hunt of ordering food, we all make a transition. We are each on our own. We become lone wolves.
But Bello, how heartless of you!
Do you think me heartless? Walk with me, brother. Let us talk plainly, as men. I wasn’t always this way. There was a time when I shared openly, a time when my little rules didn’t exist. Contrary to what I’m assuming is popular belief, I was not born with these restrictions and lines of logic – they are in reality a product of my many experiences. What follows is the summation of nearly a decade’s worth of experience when sharing openly. Picture a generic scene of college age dudes sharing food, for argument’s sake let’s again say wings.
- Order is placed
- Giant platter of scrumptious boneless wings arrives
- Dudes abandon their beers and dig in
- Feeding frenzy
Normal so far right? Nice and natural right, nothing wrong or biased so far? That’s what I thought too the first few times, but then I noticed a pattern. Boiled down, there will always be conflict over the last wing, the last slice, the last nacho, even if it’s unspoken. This is because one person always gets more; typically this is the person who eats the fastest or takes all the biggest pieces first. If the same person does both, that’s just dirty poker. We all paid the same amount, so this is unfair. For the record no matter who you are right now, I calculate a generous 75% chance that I can eat more than you – I routinely put entire large multi-topping pizzas inside of me in one sitting. But I eat slow, to savor the flavor. In the food snatching game of Hungry Hungry Hippos that is sharing food openly with other dudes, I routinely get the short end of the stick. The other hippos are not villains; they just eat faster than I do.
How can we, as intelligent adults, solve this? To me a “solution” means that we must arrive at a fair outcome for all participants, so a better question is, ‘How can we make this fair?’ I have several theories and they all suck:
>>>Should everyone be forced to slow down for me (or the slowest person), to eat at my pace so that the food disappears at an equal rate? Of course not, I’m not royalty. You should be free to eat however the hell you want to eat.
>>>When the food arrives, before anyone eats we could literally count and parse all the shared food into equal proportions, and put each person’s portion on their own plate. Then we dine! Jesus, that sounds about as fun and organic as Thanksgiving dinner with Agent Smith. That would completely kill the vibe.
>>>I could try and stuff my fucking face as fast as possible so as to keep up with the big dogs. Hell no! That would ruin the experience for me, plus it gives rise to the possibility of someone else being jilted instead of me. My goal isn’t just for ME to not be screwed, it’s for the entire experience to be fair for everyone.
>>>I should just order food separately for myself and sidestep all of this bullshit. Yes! Now let’s get wings!!!
Of course there can be exceptions, but only where they don’t violate the themes explained above.
Voluntary Sharing – During the ordering process, we could agree to split one or more items between us. This can work but only in certain circumstances, like when the portion(s) in question can be cleanly quantified and split easily. Good examples include pizza (a slice for a slice) or subs (half for half). If you want to split a plate of nachos or a portion of wings with me, I am sorry but you might be out of luck.
If I’m Dating You – Being in a relationship with me has about three benefits, and this is one of them. You may eat my food, as we are most likely sharing more than just food on a regular basis.
If I’m going to trash the leftovers – I hate wasting. If I’m stuffed and don’t want the leftovers, consider them up for grabs. However, the important caveat here is that it must be ME who makes this distinction known, not you. I don’t get to decide when you don’t want to keep playing your favorite xbox game anymore, just like you don’t get to decide when I’m finished with my own meal. While it’s true that xbox games are not meals, they are indeed both ‘property’ until the owner decides otherwise.
That’s really it. The moment my food arrives in front of me it is mine, the same as my car is mine or the money in your wallet is yours. Do you believe you have the right to help yourself to those things too, as you see fit? I feel no obligation to offer these things unless they are needed, and seeing as how you have a perfectly good meal in front of you, my food is clearly not needed. Further, I would feel awkward asking for your car, your money or your food, which is why I never do unless they are in fact needed by me. The closest thing for comparison here is money and even that’s a far stretch. If you lend me $20 I can pay you back next week; how am I to be compensated for the handful of fries that you try to grab off my plate? I don’t want them later; I’m hungry for them now. Therefore, forkstab.
Am I a Foodhermit?
Maybe…but only in this one instance. I am not insane or greedy. I only want what is clearly my own, which in this instance is the food that I got, for me. This logic extends only as far as these scenarios. What about parties, picnics or barbecues? Am I lording over the punchbowl or counting how many beers you drink? Do you see me standing at the grill making certain that everyone has the correct dosage of wiener?
Of course not. Now please, enjoy your meal and let me do the same with mine!
Are you gonna finish that?