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  1. #1
    unscannable Tigerlily's Avatar
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    Default Eating in public

    I was at the dentists yesterday for a cleaning and this guy walks in with a bag of food from Chick Fil A. He proceeds to sit down next to me and open the box of chicken and smother it with BBQ sauce and start eating it. Here I am trying to watch Elf (with Will Ferrel) and he is sucking and smacking on his afternoon snack. The smell of his food did not go at all with the clean aesthetic smell of my dentists office. I wanted to throw up.

    I couldn't help but wonder why he was doing this? Was his day so busy that the only time he had to eat was at his dentist appointment? Why couldn't he have eaten this in his car? I surely would have. Wasn't he at all worried about having bits of food stuck in his teeth for the dental hygienist to have to dig out?

    Anyway I have been known to grab some take out and eat it in the car when I'm really hungry, but even then I am still conscience of other drivers watching me eat. Do they think I am a pig and can't wait till I get home? I think eating in public should be confined primarily to places where food is being served.

    What are your thoughts on the subject?
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  2. #2
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    At the dentist's? Weird! I would have been grossed out, too. I am pretty self-conscious about eating. I don't really have a problem with it in restaurants and other times when it's "normal" to be eating around strangers, but at other times I have similar thoughts to the ones you describe. I hate having a crinkly bag of crackers or chips or whatever.
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    Senior Member Jasz's Avatar
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    i can't stand popcorn smell in the office. in general smells can be much more invasive than sights or sounds. BBQ chicken at the dentist tops it all though. i actually abstain from eating half a day before my dentist appointment. i would be so embarrased to have my dentist have to weed through food particales to get to my teeth!
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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jen View Post
    Wasn't he at all worried about having bits of food stuck in his teeth for the dental hygienist to have to dig out?
    Jah, I know I've always been embarrassed when, after brushing my teeth, the hygienist pulls bits of food out of my teeth.

    Anyway I have been known to grab some take out and eat it in the car when I'm really hungry, but even then I am still conscience of other drivers watching me eat.

    (Plus other people's comments)
    I wonder how much of this is Introvert related, if any. I find other people eating (chewing, biting, etc) sometimes to be completely disgusting, and often I feel awkward when I am eating around others. (I'm not much for bodily noises around others either, and like to keep a very low profile and do such things privately.)

    Gee, it's hard having delicate sensibilities. *snort*
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  5. #5
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    I've often wondered why eating is a social event. Putting something into your mouth and chewing and swallowing seems sort of crude and not something one would naturally do in public. I tend to be uncomfortable eating in front of people I don't know well--of course I get over it and eat anyway, but it's not something I'd choose if I could.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Jasz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by faith View Post
    I've often wondered why eating is a social event.
    that's a good point but who will pass the gravy when you're alone?
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  7. #7
    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    Well, there are times when it's inappropriate to eat in public, like in the middle of a movie it's not on to start crackling packets, or wandering in with a half-eaten kebab in your hand to your boss' presentation, or muching a sandwich in the middle of your kids' school play, or in a supposedly sterile/hygenic environment.

    But there are other times when it's fine, such as in restaurants (obviously), at outdoor events where hotdog stands are found, or just walking along the street. In these cases, as long as a decent minimum of manners is maintained, I don't see why anyone should have a problem with it.

    I'm told that people who have a real problem with eating in public, even in appropriate places such as restaurants, are showing signs of a possible eating disorder.

    Faith - I think of eating as a social event because it's something relaxing and enjoyable that everyone shares in. It's a common human experience that nobody needs to feel embarrassed about (though why in that case we don't have communal bathroom going events... heheh I dunno). You might find that in many animal species, eating is something that they only do when they feel safe, because it's when they're vulnerable. Perhaps on an evolutionary, subconscious level, there's something like that going on with us humans. We're sharing essential resources and dropping our guards, so to speak.

    I have no problem with eating in front of other people - I know someone who doesn't like to do it because they're unsure of their etiquette, they worry that people will think they're slobbish or whatever. But I'm pretty damn confident in my knowledge of eating etiquette, so if anyone has a problem with me I know it's their problem, not mine, and it doesn't bother me.
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    Senior Member Vortex's Avatar
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    I share the same sentiments as Faith. Moreover, there's this quote from Jawbreaker that always pops into my head when I observe people eating in public at a distance:

    "we don't eat at lunch period. Oh don't get me wrong, we're not anorexic, that's reserved for the Karen Carpenter table. Food's cool and all. It tastes good and you need it to live, but the mere act of eating involves thoughts of digestion, flatulation, defecation, even, shall we say, complexion defection."

  9. #9
    Member MX5's Avatar
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    Interesting thread. I have no issue with eating in public. Of course, I try to observe "locational/situational etiquette" (i.e. not eating where and when it would be considered inappropriate), but other times and places are no problemo. I would consider the dentist office to be one of those inappropriate places in that one would soon have another person staring in one's mouth soon, and they would be able to inspect your handiwork of a few moments earlier.

    Perhaps the social nature of eating is, as substitute says, an instinctual holdover. Or perhaps it's that many people associate eating with fulfillment and pleasure, an act to be shared with friends and family – a bonding experience that solidifies relationship ties.

    In no way do I, personally, associate eating with the later products of digestion. But, even if I did, I wouldn't be disgusted by it. Those things are simply natural processes, the result of our biology, and as such are rather interesting. The human body is a remarkable "machine" that consumes fuel, transforms it into energy and exhausts the by-products of consumption into waste – not conceptually different than a car.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member INTJMom's Avatar
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    Hmm... I didn't know this kind of thing bothered anyone. I will try to be more careful. I do feel self-conscious eating around other people who are not eating, so I supposed I'd rather eat in my car if I have to, but I really didn't think there were places that were off limits in public where people shouldn't eat. I don't think I would ever eat in a waiting room. I've never done it before.

    There's a gal who brought her dinner to Bible study at 6 PM because that was the only time she could eat, I guess. I didn't think anything of it. (So she must not be an INFJ, then - I was wondering what her type was.)

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