There are certain sacred rules around the sharing of pizza – if the group is ordering, then you should all ideally chuck in some cash, unless someone has offered to shout, and you should order an array of toppings, in case someone, for whatever dumb reason, doesn’t like anchovy or olives.

One of the most important rules of group etiquette, however, is that you do not eat pizza if someone else has a valid reason for calling dibs on it. If someone stakes a reasonable and justifiable claim on pizza and you go ahead and ignore that claim, then you deserve to be chopped into pepperoni, no exceptions.

The reason I’m irrationally angry about this today is a recent Reddit post, when an Italian man shared his tale of woe about strangers at a friend’s party (DEADASS STRANGERS!) snaffling slices of his vegetarian pizza instead of sticking to their own array of meat ones.

I myself am not a vegetarian or vegan, just to make that clear, but I respect the right of everyone to enjoy a slice in peace without opportunistic party vultures circling to try and SNATCH the food out of their very mouths. Damn, I’m furious. ANYWAY.

Posting in the Am I The Asshole? subreddit, the unnamed Italian said:

“I spent new years eve at a friend’s house and she invited two other people I didn’t know. We ordered three pizzas to share between the four of us. I told them I was a vegetarian and very allergic to fish, so we took one veggie pizza and they chose one with meat and the third with tuna.”

“I expected it to be obvious I would eat most of the vegetarian pizza, as none of them had food restrictions and chose the other pizzas together, but that wasn’t the case. When the delivery came, one of the girls decided she wasn’t feeling like eating meat anymore, and ate only the veggie pizza. Which would have been fine if the other two people didn’t take a few slices of it as well!”

Okay, so let’s pause here and do the maths. That’s three pizzas between four people, with two whole pizzas to share between three, excluding the vege one.

Depending on how hungry everyone is, and the size of the pizzas, that seems reasonable, and allows for people to at least politely sample a piece or two of the vege one without going nuts on it.

The post continued:

“I politely asked if they could take from the other pizzas and leave me the rest of the veggie one, but the girl said that it was not mine and that we ordered them for everyone. I made it known again that I couldn’t eat from the other ones, but she argued that my own dietary choice shouldn’t impact what other people eat (sorry for the awkward translation), and that if she didn’t want to eat meat that day I would be a hypocrite to force her. I was really annoyed, but the other two people didn’t say anything so I decided not to insist.”

Now I feel bad. The person continued:

“I ended up eating almost nothing, and they didn’t finish the other two pizzas because they all had enough. I could have eaten a few more slices, if they were not covered in meat and fish! When my friend complained that we were wasting food, I said exactly that and the girl went on me again with her dumb arguments.”

I’m going to take a not very big leap here and say that the friend of the friend is absolutely the unreasonable one in this situation. While you can eat whatever pizza you want in a group setting, there is a much bigger moral question about whether you should.

Knowing that this person could only consume one of the three pizzas on offer, this friend of a friend should’ve done what any compassionate person would and stuck to the other two entire pizzas she had at her immediate disposal!

As a side note, while commenters agreed that the original poster was not the asshole, they made fun of the choice to put tuna on pizza. I will not engage with this discourse beyond saying that tuna, feta and olive on pizza is a bop, and you should really try it.

There is one more broad, conceptual question to be answered here, and the author of the post posted it themselves in the title, asking “Am I the asshole for not wanting to share “my” pizza?”

By putting the “my” in quotation marks, the author signals an awareness that they know they know the pizza is not technically theirs, but that their claim to it ought to be recognised on a deeper moral level.

If I put myself in that situation, I would respect the fact that the pizza in question was not “mine” or even “ours”, because morally, the lion’s share of it ought to belong to the vegetarian, who cannot enjoy any of the other flavours on offer.

Anyway, I’ve analysed this long enough, so I’ll go back to the most important point: we as a society need to respect when someone calls dibs on pizza, and if we don’t, we lose a vital part of our humanity.

Image: Getty Images / iStock / pixelfit