Food for Thought

All the Things That Go Through My Head When You Photograph Your Food On a Date

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Look, I get it. Food is great. Going out to eat food together is one of the most fun activities there is. Dealing with you taking elaborate photos of our food, however? Not so fun.

I don’t care if you have never, ever used flash photography or if you are absolutely, positively convinced you are not bothering other people in this restaurant. Did you come here with other people in this restaurant? No. You came here with me. And me having to watch you experiment with all kinds of hijinks, crops, filters, and captions before you deem your completed photograph a work of art and finally allow us to eat is no fun.

So save the filters for Sunday brunch and swap your phone for a fork, or else fear the wrath of the following, toxic thought process that courses through me as I watch you take out your phone:

Taking out your phone while we’re on a date is rude, no matter what the context

As a coworker puts it, “To paraphrase Cookie Monster, taking pictures of food is a sometimes food.” To paraphrase even further, “taking pictures of food is a sometimes food, but taking out your phone on a date is a never food.” The very act of doing so means I never had your full attention. So keep it in your pants, or purse, or wherever, and let’s enjoy being in each other’s presence.

You’re showing a lack of awareness of the people around you

Maybe you aren’t aware of how your snap-happy habit affects other diners. Or maybe you are aware and you just don’t care. Either way, not sexy. More importantly, you’re showing a lack of awareness of the people immediately around you, aka me. Definitely not sexy.

I will be beyond mortified if you get us called out by the restaurant staff

In the past year, several high-end restaurants have begun actively discouraging patrons from taking photographs of their meal, or implementing a ban on photography altogether. The very thought of being Foodstagram-shamed at a nice dinner is enough to put me off food entirely, and I love food, so please put your phone away.

You’d better not expect me to wait for you to start eating

Sometimes I’ll go to brunch and a friend will say, “Wait! I need to get a photo.” Which would be only the normal amount of annoying if they were only referring to their own specific plate of food. Except that often they’re saying, “Wait! I need to get a photo of the entire tablescape, so hold off on eating until I get the perfect shot kthx.” To which I say, “I hope you realize your perfect tablescape shot will include one partially-eaten entree.” Seriously — it’s a picture, not saying grace! You’re on your own with this one, and no one wants to be on their own on a date.

If you must take a food photo, it had better be a good food photo

There is something mollifying, almost comforting, about a perfectly lit and framed photograph of delicious things. Conversely, there is something wildly aggravating about being forced to sit through someone’s amateur photography antics only to see the end result looking like one of Martha Stewart‘s gross food tweets. If somebody is getting a pass here, it’s the person who knows how to take a half-decent photo.

You seem more preoccupied with your “brand” than you are with me

You know that saying, “If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Seeing you whip out your Lo-Fi Instagram filter is like living a version of that saying, except it’s more like, “If you order food at a fancy restaurant and you don’t photograph it first, did you really eat it?” You may say no, but my bad mood and your morning shit say otherwise.