It's the day before a holiday weekend, which means a lot of people are on vacation and not a lot of people are in the Verge offices right now. So, when presented with the prospect of eating lunch alone, I, like any good citizen of the modern world, turned to the internet for comfort and companionship. Specifically, I turned to "Social Eating," a new Twitch category where people livestream themselves eating or drinking.
Never eat alone
At first, my options for an eating partner were underwhelming, to say the least. The first stream I visited, from a man who claimed to be drinking his morning coffee, was just a man staring at a screen, banking or something. Then, a man drinking water. One guy who promised he'd be slowly eating a banana (color me interested, sir!) was just talking about how strange some YouTube video was. "I know I'm under the social eating thing right now," he said. "Sorry, it's mostly a joke." I also clicked on a stream of a guy who said he was about to order pizza, but it turned out he wasn't wearing any pants (or underwear). I apologize to anyone in the office who saw my screen, and to the HR Department.
Then, finally, a glimmer of hope when I got to Princejafarr's channel, which advertised that I could, live, watch someone "PUTTING GROSS STUFF ON HOTDOGS." Exactly what I've been looking for! I told myself, mostly because I didn't want to keep looking for something better.
Before he started, Princejafarr noted his reservations about Social Eating, saying, "I don't know if eating and talking to people is normal, but fuck that logic." Princejafarr had just unknowingly described a good chunk of social interactions taking place in the world today.
Princejafarr's thing was to get weird with it, so he put soy and habanero sauce on a hotdog and then ate a sardine. "I actually don't eat like this really," he said, "I'm just trying to be a sell-out."
After that I found GrowthKasei, a user from Sweden who was eating a pizza composed of "tomato sauce, bread, ham, and cheese."
As he munched the crust, GrowthKasei kept the conversation light and strictly on topic, discussing American vs. Swedish pizza, his standard pizza order, and whether or not he'd like seafood pizza. "It's definitely something different just sitting here, just talking and just eating," he said. "It's nice, I like it."
"It's nice, I like it."
Here's what I came away with, after an hour moping around the Social Eating category while half-heartedly eating string cheese: I had a surprisingly nice time. Other than that one unannounced penis, the streams were mostly friendly and work-appropriate. And, more comforting than that, Social Eating seems to push against the persistent idea that everyone on the internet needs to be multi-tasking. On Social Eating, if you're doing it right, there's really nothing to do but eat.