For the love of God, stop using your phone at the table

Whatever happened to good old-fashioned manners?


You’re in a restaurant, but you’re not paying attention to anyone around you. You’re too fixated on this delicious meal.

It looks amazing – but as you give it a double tap and possibly post an OMG underneath, the food and the conversation behind your phone screen is getting cold.

Why? Because using your phone at the table is the blight of the modern world – and it needs to be stopped.

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Picture: Cia De Foto

Brixton nightclub Phonox recently announced they’d be banning phones on the dancefloor, and the food industry is following suit. A Japanese restaurant in Leamington Spa made headlines for outlawing iPhones, while owners of well-publicised naked restaurant The Bunyadi, opening in June, have already announced you won’t be able to Instagram your experience.

And you know what? They’re right – the use of mobiles at mealtimes is turning us into conversationless drones. We’re much more comfortable texting nowadays than we are teasing our palates, and the ancient arts of good cuisine and good conversation are being lost as a result.

When did using your phone during a feast become acceptable? It seems like only yesterday we were trying to sneak a look at our Motorola Razrs in the school canteen, yet now you can barely see your food for all the glowing screens around the table.

With the advent of #foodporn and online lifestyle envy, it’s become second nature to snap pictures of your food for likes – but with every #nofilter of every lasagne and linguine that lands in front of you, some of the magic of mealtimes is lost.

It didn’t used to be like this – table manners were not to be scoffed at, and polite mealtime conversation was the only way to gather gossip. Nowadays we’ll spend dinner on our phones planning dinner tomorrow – which we’ll spend messaging people about brunch the next day.

Would Jack Kerouac’s apple pie and ice cream have tasted so good if he was tweeting while eating it? Would Alice’s tea party have been so wonderful if she was on Snapchat the whole time? And what about little Oliver’s porridge? He probably wouldn’t have even asked for more if he had unlimited data on his Samsung Galaxy.

Once we let phones take over our meals, we lose the battle against bad manners – and though it’s a Godsend that no-one picks us up on using the wrong salad forks any more, there’s still a reason we don’t eat spaghetti with our hands and competitively burp after every mouthful.

Everyone’s heard of the game where you all stack your phones in the middle, and the first person to look at theirs pays the bill – now let’s make that obligatory. Then maybe we’ll go back to a world where the tears of joy aren’t reserved for an emoji, but for the people at the table too.

Next time you have to take an “urgent” call, go ahead – just don’t expect an invite to my dinner party.