Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Gender Roles and Dining

Interesting article in the Food and Wine section of the Times today, on gender roles and dining out (no jokes, please, about "gender rolls").

Certain musty rites — chivalrous from one perspective, chauvinistic from another — have faded or disappeared. It’s a rare restaurant that gives menus without prices to women dining with men. And most restaurants no longer steer the “ladies” toward the banquette, assuming they want to face out toward the room.

But most restaurateurs concede that women disproportionately end up there, whether by request or reflex.

And restaurant owners, managers and servers say that in ways that are often laughably clich├ęd, men and women — viewed as groups, not as individuals — don’t gravitate toward the same dishes, communicate the same priorities or seek the same emotional payoff from dinner out.

In truth, ordering disparities between men and women may be narrower than ever. Restaurateurs I interviewed noted that more men than ever veer toward salads, and that low-carbohydrate diets have nudged more women toward generous cuts of red meat.

Because men can generally put away more food and alcohol [however], “men spend more, women spend less,” said Steve Dublanica, author of the recent best seller “Waiter Rant.” In addition, he said: “Men eat and leave. Women eat and stick around.” So a server attending to women may have to wait longer “to turn the table over, get another group, get more tips.”
Fascinating stuff. And yet another reason why, as the old axiom goes, everyone should wait tables at least once in their lives.

UPDATE: Here is another gender-related study/article, this one on the gender barrier in sports.

No comments: