The Gourmand: Six Partners in Gluttony

One cannot help but observe that eating is an innately social practice; student life aside, in polite society, one would be given slightly bemused – and even pitying – looks by the maître d’ upon asking for a table for one. It’s just not done: a table for two is the standard. But consider that in practice, this means that the act of eating – a most sacred and momentous ritual – is shared, and your choice of partner is of utmost importance if you are to ensure your mutual dining pleasure.

Choose your eating partners wisely

The Glutton

An all-too-common eating partner in a town full of famished students, The Glutton is prone to poaching your food – and I don’t mean just eggs. Anything he can get his greedy maw around, be it his, yours, or the next table’s, is liable to disappear tout de suite. This comes in handy where human dustbins are required, such as when you discover it’s all-you-can’t-eat, but usually the interjections of “Are you going to finish that?” leave you feeling a little violated.

The Exotic One

Though I say exotic, this eating partner needn’t necessarily be from further afield than Birmingham; rather, his salient feature is that he is considerably more ‘adventurous’ than you, often resulting in peer-pressured decisions to order the vindaloo or the extra-hot salsa at Mission. These decisions are regretted not just once, but over and over again as the spice takes its toll on your poor butthole and you sit rueing the day you consented.

The Vegetarian

Bit of a double-edged sword, this one. The Vegetarian’s insistence on eating nothing but leafy bollocks and Portobello mushrooms because “they’re really just like meat” (spoiler: they’re really not) can lead to some exasperating decision-making sessions vis-à-vis where to go. However, their companionship does mean that any meat coming their way is handily redirected to you, which is a result-and-a-half when you realise that there’s an extra hunk of the hog roast that they won’t touch…

The Partner in Crime

You’ve known each other seemingly forever and have no qualms about indulging yourselves to the max around each other. Looking for an eating contest partner? Want to try the new place up the road? Need someone who won’t judge you for your cheeky 2am Hassan’s trip and will instead tag along, slippers, bathrobe and all? Old Reliable is a truly invaluable eating partner to have on speed dial.

The Boy/Girlfriend

True love has no clearer marker than the ability to comfortably eat together with no shame, and still finding them attractive after watching them basically swallow a small Chinese town whole. What’s more, sometimes the love they bear you can even lead to such beautifully selfless acts as giving you the last piece of their steak; guys, if she does this, slip an onion ring on that finger and tie her down – she’s a keeper.

The Puzzle Piece

The ultimate eating partner with whom perfection is achieved through balance: this partner has enough likes in common with you to make a consensus easy; however, your dislikes complement each other in the most satisfying way. You like the pizza crust? Good news, he hates it! You don’t like meatballs? He’ll gladly take them off your hands. Like the Master to your Doctor or the Moriarty to your Sherlock, you were made for each other: it’ll all fit together perfectly.

PHOTO/Jef Poskanzer