(Flickr: travel oriented)
Hello, everyone. My name is Deb, and I’m addicted to porn. They say that the first step to quitting is admitting that you have a — hey, is that bacon on your sandwich? Can I get a quick picture of that?
I’m sorry. I’m trying to be good, honestly I am. And I can stop anytime I want to. I’m only here today to tell you all about my descent into the ugly, hashtagged world of food porn, in the hopes that it might help someone who is worse off than I am.
It’s just that I use every day now, and I’m ashamed of how quickly my habit has grown from ogling just a few mouthwatering cheesecake photos — just once in a while, I swear, and only when I was feeling really hungry — to wanting to bash in my laptop screen to get to those colorful, titillating shots of French macarons on Pinterest.
And now, my life is a shambles. I lurk in the darkest corners of Instagram, snapping lurid shots of the glistening, fatty meats in mile-high sandwiches for my followers. When they’re really desperate, I turn to classical architecture. You wouldn’t believe what a market there is for architecture porn. Those people are really sick.
But the fact remains that if you can take a cell phone photo of it, it has the potential to become “porn.” It might have started in 2005 with a Flickr group posting “sexy shots of sexy spaces,” but soon some of us began to see a market in coffee porn. And flora porn. And car porn.
Pretty soon, Instagram and Pinterest were exploding with “-porn” hashtags for everything you could point your camera at. Well, almost everything: You still don’t want to take photos of your baby doing something adorable and label it “toddler porn.” That’s a jail sentence right there.
But then one day the last step in our descent into madness emerged: #foodstagram, the hashtag that ruined it for all of us.
You know how waiters will sometimes tell you that the plate they’re putting down in front of you is “hot”? Yeah, that’s code, my friends. What they’re really telling you is that this boeuf en croute before you, with its crispy exterior and warm, juicy interior, is extraordinarily sexy and it’s all yours. This dish practically wants you to take a shot of it and post it for all the world to enjoy. Swath that piece of meat in an even hotter Valencia filter, or, if you’re feeling really daring, just slap it up on Instagram using the #nofilter hashtag, completely naked.
But don’t forget that #foodstagram hashtag, if you can get away with it. Some restaurants are now banning food shots, since a few tasty apple fritters — sorry, rotten apples — have ruined it for us by jumping up on chairs to get just the right angle, or trying to take photos of the food as it’s leaving the kitchen. Those people are beyond help.
On the bright side, and completely paradoxically, indulging in food porn might actually be a spiffy way to lose weight. Besides the constant reminder of blogs like the “thisiswhyyourefat” Tumblr, a group of researchers from Brigham Young University found that people who habitually looked at food porn were actually less likely to want what they were looking at because they tended to develop “sensory boredom” after gazing at photos of food.
“In a way, you’re becoming tired of that taste without even eating the food,” said study co-author and BYU professor Ryan Elder. “You’ve kind of moved on. You don’t want that taste experience anymore.”
So, you see, what I’m doing is really a public service. It’s helpful. It’s delicious. And most importantly, it’s #lunchtime.