Wednesday, October 8

Chauvinism or Chivalry?

A friend passed on this New York Times article on gender roles in fine dining atmospheres. Author Frank Bruni notes, "Although the goal in many public places and in much of public life is to treat men and women equally, most upscale restaurants haven’t reached that point. Then again they haven’t really tried all that hard. They’ve learned that ignoring gender is risky, and often foolish, because men and women approach and respond to restaurants in different ways, looking for different things." What are your thoughts on this? Ladies, do you expect to be served first? If you were serving a group of people, who would you expect to order the wine? Does observing gender roles in a dining room enforce an unnecessary binary, or does it simply cater to the different needs already in place?

What do you want when you dine out -- and why do you want that?


Katie K said...

i read that editorial too. upscale restaurants have an overwhelmingly male server staff too, so its not just unbalanced customer-wise. but i have found that if i'm the one making eye contact with the server to ask for the check, they'll place it in front of me. though if we haven't asked for it, it will always get put down in front of the guy

Ariel said...

i just read that article! i too was going to write a blog post about it! great minds....

Allison said...

I tip less if the server only addresses Ro / ignores my existence. (note: Not a regular occurence)

When I dine out (ESPECIALLY at a nice place), I want to be treated as if my personal choice is as important as those of the people with which I am dining.

I don't particularly care about the order in which anything is accomplished as long as it isn't overly lengthy (couldn't we just choose an arbitrary starting point & go clockwise?)

Interesting article. Is it because a lot of the people frequenting upscale restaurants aren't challenging boundaries because they are quite content where they are financially? Mhm. Too many intersections to find out, perhaps.

penny said...

little does ariel know that i sent you the article. THREE GREAT MINDS.

rachelef said...

I have to be totally honest and say I haven't really noticed! Maybe because I tend to eat out with females only.

Though Weezie does often get the check; we think its because she's (miles) more masculine than me. Despite the fact that, more often than not, I'm the ony paying.

pb said...

The first time I noticed that was at a restaurant on the water in downtown LJ (george's) that we went to for a lab lunch, and the waiter decided to ask all the women what they wanted before he asked the men .. it seemed so unnecessary, just go in the order that people are sitting in!
It was even stranger coz this was the second time we've been there, and whoever was waiting on us the last time did NOT do that.
Like I said, it doesn't offend me or anything, just seems rather unnecessary

Gina said...

In the most upscale super ritzy places they will always place the check in front of the guy (if there is one), but in my experience anywhere else they tend to put it within reach of both parties, regardless. This just makes it easier if there are ambiguities

That being said, I've been to places with male friends where they assumed we were on a date and did the whole shebang, until I pointedly made a comment about Cj while the waiter was there, at which point they reverted to the above.

Also, even at really fancy places I've been to recently, the server starts at the person in front of them, or with the youngest (read: under age 12) members of the party so that they can order first and get it out of the way. This may be because I am usually out with a bunch of ladies and little kids, but still.

Also also, I've noticed that in large groups the check is usually given to the oldest member of the party, even if it is a female and there are other males present (not necessarily young themselves).

Finally, if my Dad is at the table, every server always assumes he is paying. I don't know why.

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