The Art of People Watching

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Watching people eat

I like to watch people eat. I know that’s a weird statement to make by itself, but I can’t help it. I am fascinated by the way people eat.

I truly believe that mastication is one of the most honest ways we show ourselves. You can tell a lot about seeing how someone chews their food. But it goes beyond that. It’s the amount of food they put in their mouths, the way they use a fork, the speed at which they eat. It’s also about the way they might fold or crumble a wrapper at the end of a meal. The way people eat can tell you how confident they are, how particular they are, how much food is about fuel versus pleasure.

I once watched a woman eat a candy bar on a train from Germany to Paris. I wasn’t staring her down or anything, we just happened to be sitting catty-corner to each other. She had a small frame and dark hair. She was sitting with two children who I assume were hers, wearing jeans and a casual shirt. She got up and went to the dining car, and when she came back she had a few different types of candy. She gave the kids some, and then she opened a Kinder Bueno.

If you’ve never had a Kinder Bueno, they are German candies made of chocolate lined on the inside with a wafer cookie and filled with hazelnut cream. Then the outside is drizzled with dark chocolate. They come in a long bar of 4 separate pieces attached together.

I expected this woman to eat one, maybe two of the little squares. She ate the whole thing. And she didn’t break each one off and eat little bits off of each square like I do when I have a Cadbury chocolate bar. She ripped open the packaging and took a big bite, chewed it, then bit another. She finished that whole bar. Then she folded the wrapper and tucked it away.

She wasn’t savoring this bar. She wasn’t eating it with a scarcity mindset as I would have. She indulged in it and finished it. Then she seemed satisfied and content. Just by watching her, I could tell that she wasn’t concerned with calories. She didn’t seem self-conscious about what she was eating or how much of it she was eating. It made me jealous. It also made me feel like I need to reevaluate my eating habits.

Is your interest piqued? Watch Fight Club, Watch Oceans 11. Watch any movie that Brad Pitt is in. He’s probably eating. It is so fascinating to watch. He takes huge bites, and it is so satisfying. Watch the end credit scene of Avengers when the Avengers grab a bite together. And tell me what you see when you watch these people eat. Or don’t. Because it’s also not the most attractive thing we do as humans. Unless you’re Brad Pitt.

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