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Jul 6, 2007 09:34 AM

Why would one want a ladies menu?

[We've moved this digression from this thread: -- The Chowhound Team]

Why, exactly, does one want a ladies menu? What purpose does it serve?
Do you just want to order w/o being swayed by prices?

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  1. I believe this is a sweet old fashion tradition. If the Man wanted to treat his Lady to a special night and not have her worry about the price of the meal, he might ask for a ladies menu.
    I have also encountered this when one person wants to treat a group to dinner. The host does not want everyone to be swayed by the price.
    A lot of people might think this is chauvinistic , but it is actually a very nice gesture.

    3 Replies
    1. re: cheftori

      Exactly right! The man got the menu WITH all prices shown; the lady got the menu WITHOUT prices.

      1. re: zin1953

        Exactly -- that name "lady's menu" says it all. If it were really non "chauvinistic" it wouldn't be called that and it wouldn't automatically be assumed that the woman gets the one without the prices. Today it's insulting if such a menu were given to a woman automatically. Under a different name and used appropriately (as other posters have noted) the idea of a non-priced menu would be fine (business dinner, etc.).

    2. There are several other threads on this already; hopefully this helps.

      1. When I worked at the Embassy of France, the formal dining room had menus with no prices. If you were inviting someone to dine there, it was really none of their business how much you were spending on them. We were billed afterward, so no money exchanged hands on site. I happen to like this system in a business environment; all attention can go to the company, the conversation, and the food.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Steve

          I wish there were more restaurants like this.

        2. My Mother has always loved a "ladies menu" because she does not like to be served large amounts of food, and she prefers the lighter fare...Her idea of a great lunch is to visit a "teahouse" that serves a salad and soup menu....

          4 Replies
          1. re: jinet12

            The term "Ladies' Menu" refers to a menu sans prices, not to a menu that features lighter foods. While this archaic practice is not commonly seen anymore, it does still exist.

            1. re: Ted in Central NJ

              Giving a menu without prices to guests at a hosted dinner is emminently sensible. Giving menus without prices automatically to women is an insult. What if the woman is the host? Also, back in the day when I was dating, I always wanted to be aware of prices so as not to stick my guy with a huge tab (guys paid in those days, infants).

              1. re: pikawicca

                It's insulting to women post-1963, perhaps (publication date of The Feminist Mystique by Betty Friedan; also the year Gloria Steinem published her article about being a Playboy bunny, IIRC), but it certainly wasn't an insult -- to most women -- prior to that (consciousness-raising being then in its infancy).

                I haven't even SEEN a "ladies menu" is probably 30+ years!

                1. re: pikawicca

                  Hear, hear! It's the "giving menus...automatically to women" part that is sexist and insulting!