Opinion

Charles: Stop posting your food porn, please

Listen. I love you. I really do. But I don’t care about what you’re eating. 

You know who you are, those of you who have decided that every meal has to be lovingly, erotically photographed and shared on social media to all your friends and followers.

I call it food porn.

Guess what? I eat food too.

And although (because I’m a sadistic mom) I occasionally will troll my daughter with pictures of meals from our favorite restaurants when she is (starving!) at college, I choose not to share each and every meal — not even the good ones — with the public at large.

Because I know no one cares what I’m eating either.

If you’re at a great place, sure, you should shoot a selfie or three with a nice background. I like scenery. I don’t even mind pictures of restaurants that sound interesting — I might want to visit them some day, when I’m in your town. I’ve gotten plenty of ideas of places I might want to visit from your shots. For that, I thank you. I figure your telling me the food is delicious is better than a bought Yelp review any day of the week. And I’m pretty adventurous when it comes to food. I’ll try just about anything — even vegan. (Seriously, I really can be persuaded to try anything that isn’t moving fast. If it slows down though, all bets are off.)

However, I’m not nearly as enthralled by pictures or videos of your half-eaten meal, or of you masticating — that’s chewing, get your mind out of the gutter.

I’m always amused, and sometimes revolted, by how much of my feed (ha ha) is taken up by some of my more brilliant friends, whose full and brilliant lives are consumed by what, when, and where they’re eating.

I suppose it’s a safer subject than the current political discourse, which has us all shouting and pointing fingers at those idiots on the other side of the aisle.

Remember when we Baby Boomers were little, and we had to clean our plates because children were starving in China, or India, or Africa, or some other place far, far away? We used to mutter under our breaths that we would happily send them our peas, or broccoli. Now what do children mutter when parents tell them to eat their food? Those imaginary “starving” children already know what they’re missing. They’ve seen the pictures of your peas. They’re all set.

I suppose the food porn isn’t as bad as the selfies taken in the restroom with the toilet in the background. I know the light is better in the bathroom and there’s always a mirror or two in there, but even though I love you dearly (and I really do), I don’t need to see where you just went.

I will acknowledge my own unhealthy relationship with social media. Some of it is because of this business, and some of it is mindless entertainment (and boredom). In this digital age, breaking news comes at a breakneck pace. Most millennials and Gen Zers are always connected, although studies say that social media makes for a more isolating, rather than a connecting existence. Maybe that’s why people feel the need to share a meal with friends and strangers on social media. Pointing your camera at a delicious-looking, carefully prepared plate is a lot more enticing than the reality of you eating out of a pot over the sink while scrolling through your phone. 

And dressing up, making up, and then standing in that good bathroom light gives the illusion that you’ve got some place to go and some people to see.

Let’s face it, we’re all pretending that we’re starring in our own reality show. 

Some of us are whining/humble bragging about how busy, yet exciting and fulfilling our lives are. Some of us are whining/humble bragging about how healthy we are (posting our workouts and our healthy meals), while coming up with life-coaching words for the rest of you peasants. We hum our ever-changing theme songs in our heads (mine trend anywhere from Lizzo to Ed Sheeran, to Stevie Wonder, to all versions of The Lion King), while choreographing our day. 

So of course, in this reality show of our lives, we have to document our scrumptious meals and bathroom-lighting-worthy outfits designed to evoke a mountain of envy.

Now if you know me at all, you should know my reality show isn’t going to make you feel anything but better about your own existence — no matter how miserable it is.

My own breakfast of champions? If I were to document it, it would be anything I could shove in my mouth, like a banana and a couple of doughnut holes, as I run out the door on my way to Zumba and Pilates (OK, that’s a humble brag). Delicious meals later on include something with a side order of chips, followed by a dessert of self-loathing. 

Those shots in the bathroom will never show my toilet. That’s just gross. Come to think of it, the lighting in there doesn’t do me any justice either. So scratch that. As for my really super-exciting lifestyle of late-night into early-morning partying and fabulous galas?

Uh, no. In my jammies, under the covers, and catching up on my prime-time TV shows from the week isn’t going to make anyone weep from wanting to be me.

While I’m still game to dance until the cows come home, don’t look for me to spend any of those nights posing for pictures with amazing food to make you jealous at how good a time I’m having. 

I may be smiling, but in reality, I’m just hanging on for dear life, knowing that sooner or later I’ll get tired of holding in my stomach — which means it’s time to go home.

But my heart-thumping, heavy-bass theme music? 

Now that, that’s what’s up.

 

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