What Does "Right In Front Of My Salad" Mean? The Origins Of This Meme Are Decidedly NSFW
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Last weekend, a new meme arrived. It swept across Tumblr before arriving on Twitter and other social media platforms — and although it might not look it at first glance, it is very, very NSFW. Exactly what does “right in front of my salad” mean? It’s largely being used as an expression of disbelief or indignation, but its origins lie in somewhere many folks are finding somewhat unexpected: Porn.

According to BuzzFeed, the meme is from a porn flick produced by Men.com entitled Private Lessons Part 3. Jake Porter and Jaxton Wheeler are the featured performers;in the scene, a man has hired a chef to cook a meal for his wife, only to discover upon the chef’s arrival that he is, in fact, a naked chef. (Literally. Not figuratively.) The chef makes a salad, and then the two men start having sex behind the kitchen counter. The wife enters, sits down, and starts eating the salad — and then realizes that her husband and the chef are gettin’ it on behind the counter. The moment of realization is pretty classic: “You don’t… have a shirt on,” she says, eyes narrowed. “Wait a minute — do you have pants on?” And then, the proverbial penny drops: “Are you guys f*cking? Are you serious? Right in front of my salad?!

Know Your Meme reports that Private Lessons Part 3 was first uploaded to Men.com on July 23; the clip with the salad line, however, didn’t start circulating widely until July 29. That was when Tumblr user boymercuryx uploaded GIFs of it, and, well… the rest, as they say, is history.

As I noted earlier, the phrase has now been co-opted as a way to indicate indignation or righteous disbelief, often (but not always) about legit social and political issues — and, of course, this form of it is rapidly making its way around social media. Here is a small selection of things people are using it to comment on:

Capitalism

Carnivores

Transphobia

Trump Supporters

Sexism

Your Brain When It’s Being A Jerk

Relationships

Ridiculous Prices For Everyday Things

Harry Styles

Harry Potter

Beyonce

And many, many more. Seriously, you guys. It’s all over Twitter. All you have to do is search for “right in front of my salad,” and you will see all there is to see.

On a more serious note, I’ll be honest: I find the meme a little problematic, for a few different reasons. For one, it’s funny, sure — but it’s kind of unfortunate that the woman who should be getting all the credit for it, isn’t. Jake Porter told BuzzFeed that the scene did have some structure to it, but that the lines themselves were largely improvised — including the now-infamous salad line — but we don’t know her name. I haven’t been able to locate a cast list for Private Lesson Part 3 (and believe me, I’ve tried), and Portertold BuzzFeed that he unfortunately doesn’t remember her name. “She was an extra, local to the West Hollywood area where we filmed the scene.” She’s mostly being called “an anonymous woman” in reports — which feels kind of like another version of "Some Guy's Wife Wins Olympic Medal" to me.

Update: She's been identified! Her name is Nikki V.

Earlier: The flip side of that, of course, is that she may not have wanted to be a meme at all; as Twitter user Saint King (@ThatsJrad) observed:

Not that porn is anything to be ashamed about — but it's a fair point.

I’m also coming off of this one having just read Lauren Michelle Jackson’s piece on digital blackface in reaction GIFs over at Teen Vogue, which makes a lot of really important points as well.

So… yeah. This one is more complicated to me than it might seem on the surface. For whatever that’s worth.

Regardless, it doesn’t look like “right in front of my salad” is going anywhere anytime soon; it strikes me as possibly having the same kind of lasting power as Salt Bae. Do with that what you will.

Just, y’know… maybe not right in front of my salad.