Gendered Dining

Posted by – October 9, 2008

I really do love the NYT. They put me in touch with rare tribes of people & exotic types of lives I wouldn’t know otherwise: in this case, the fine dining set, who worry about whether women are served first.

I didn’t even know that was the tradition, prole that I am.

Five years ago, she said, she often had to fight to get servers to let her be the point person for a group of men and women dining together. Servers had a stubborn tropism toward the men.

But lately, she said, that hasn’t been as true, especially downtown, where she has noticed that if she makes the first eye contact with a server and seems the most inquisitive and purposeful, the server notices, and responds to it. “Body language is recognized in a way it wasn’t before,” Ms. DeLozier said. “I think it’s possible for a woman to take the lead now.”

Those nutty folks downtown, treating women & men as equals. Still, a point I’ve made in the past & which this article shores up is that the more formal you get, the more gendered things are. My usual example is formal clothes – traditional tuxes/suits vs. gowns and LBDs – but dining, and wine selection, are apparently other good examples. What interesting to me is that when the restauranteurs have tried to de-gender things, the diners have asked that they serve ladies first. You can lead a snob to water…

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