Social Terrorism ”â Part One
Public face eating
This is one pretty fucking uptight planet! Oh yes. For my whole life I’ve been blindly following the code of social conduct, all these insignificant, meaningless expectations that we have to abide by to not stand out in public. The conventions of society are branded onto our brains from day one and disobeying the etiquette that is demanded of us is more liberating than dressing up as the Queen and telling the guards outside Buckingham Palace that they are living a pointless existence. So this is the first in a series of ego busting articles I will be writing about my own journey into the destruction of social obedience.
This week, my good friend Banjo and I decided to go out for a nice dinner together at a popular Italian restaurant in Brighton. It wasn’t going to be a usual meal, however, as we had no intention of using our hands at any point during the consumption process, only our faces, while talking loudly and seriously about literature and politics without any hint of abnormality in our expressions. We had a very valid justification for our actions when inevitably confronted by the management.
I smiled politely at the waiter as we walked in out of the bitter cold and asked if a table for two would be possible.
“Of course, gentlemen, come right this way,”Â he said, leading us to a free table in the middle of the seating area. It was eight o’clock on a Saturday evening, prime time eating for families and couples out to have themselves a pleasant meal after a hard week of work. We ordered a couple of beers and started scanning the menu for the messiest sounding food on offer.
We both decided to go with the spaghetti bolognaise, which we agreed would be suitably noticeable upon ones face, and began a conversation about the flaws of the socialist movement in the 1930’s. The waiter brought our drinks over and we ordered our food, intrigued to see how the people around us were going to take to our newly found manner of ingesting our dinner.
The restaurant was clearly very well run and our meals didn’t take long to arrive. As they were placed on the table in front of us, we took a deep breath, gave each other a nod of encouragement, and buried our faces deep into our bolognaise, surfacing with sauce smothered from forehead to chin. I stole a swift glance across the room and noticed a few people already whispering and pointing at us. Again, I plunged face first into my food, desperately trying to pick up spaghetti with my mouth. We both came up for air at the same time, still succeeding in our mission to remain emotionless, then loudly resumed our discussion on the effect that Oscar Wilde’s controversial opinions of society had on the late 19th century bourgeois culture.
Whole table’s were now turning and gawping at us, covered in food while debating literature, and as I went in for another face full, I noticed the manager of the restaurant walking over to us.
“Can I help you?”Â I asked, as he stopped and hovered over our table, with bolognaise dripping from my earlobes.
“We’ve been receiving complaints from some of the customers about your manners,”Â he said, looking very uncomfortable. “Would you please use your knives and forks like everyone else in the room.”Â
“I’m sorry, sir, we didn’t notice a sign as we came in saying you have to use you knife and fork to eat in this establishment,”Â I replied. “Did we perhaps not see it?”Â
“No there’s no sign, it . . . it just goes without saying.”Â
“What does?”Â Banjo intervened, just as plastered with sauce as I was.
“That you have to use your knife and fork to eat. It’s just common knowledge.”Â
“Who says it’s common knowledge?”Â I argued softly. “No one told me that.”Â
“I don’t know who came up with it,”Â the manager answered, in disbelief that he was actually having this conversation. “Look, if you don’t use your knife and fork, I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”Â
“Listen,”Â I began, about to launch into some complete nonsense. “We belong to a New Age religion called Apeianity. We don’t believe in using objects to eat as it defies our animalistic heritage. You wouldn’t tell a Muslim lady to take off her burka in your restaurant would you?”Â
“No . . . I . . . I wouldn’t,”Â he stammered. “But . . . but that is different.”Â
“I don’t see how it is, sir,”Â I persisted firmly. “To me, this is a savage case of discrimination, and if you force us to leave because of our spiritual beliefs then I will have no choice but to contact the papers immediately and inform them of your intolerance. You’ll have a media circus down here by the morning.”Â
“I wouldn’t take that risk if I were you,”Â Banjo added, shaking his head and looking disgusted. “This could end up being some big news.”Â
“I’m so sorry guys,”Â he spluttered after a slight pause for reflection. “I didn’t realise. Just . . . carry on as you were.”Â
“Thank you,”Â we both concluded at the same time and returned to our dinner.
We finished every last mouthful that evening without using our hands once. All the staff were gratefully thanked for the wonderful meal and admirable service as we left the building and tipped them generously. The reactions we got that evening were a mix of two complete extremes. Either people finding it hilarious and taking sneaky pictures on their phones to utter disgust – people so horrified that they were compelled to complain to the management. So to conclude the night’s event : Now we know how people react when you eat a meal in a restaurant with your face.