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Aug 9, 2007 09:07 AM

Offensively bad NYT article

About how now it is cool and trendy for women to order steak on dates, because it shows they are down to earth. (Beware salad eaters; you register as high-maintenence and finicky.)

"In an earlier era, conventional dating wisdom for women was to eat something at home alone before a date, and then in company order a light dinner to portray oneself as dainty and ladylike. For some women, that is still the practice."

Even Scarlett O'Hara thought that eating before a meal was dumb idea, and that was in 1861.

I'm not even offended it by the sexism as much as I'm offended by the shoddy journalism.

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  1. Ugh - how annoying. She thinks her overthought personal ad and angst over how she comes across separates her from the high-maintenance types? Puleaze.

    1 Reply
    1. I confess that I'm more mildly amused than offended. This line makes me laugh: "I am woman, hear me chew."


      3 Replies
      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        I'm certainly not offended. But I cringe inside at women who spend so much time & energy trying to come off as low-maintenance & a "guy's girl"......seems unique to this generation of young (20something) women to want to be a "guy's girl". Who would want that?

        1. re: JaneRI

          Doesn't spending all that energy trying to appear "low-maintenance" simply prove that you're high maintenance? What ever happened to being yourself? Yourself with your best foot forward, but still yourself.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            definitely agree with this point of view. Those of us that have stuck to our guns as well as our principles know that you can simmer in these ideals of "well if I do this it sends this message as opposed to this which says this" or do what you want (shows you for you!) and let the cards fall where they may.

      2. I always thought a woman clutching a steak knife over a slab of cattle was kind of sexy. There is an interesting aspect of the feminine mystique in the handling of sharp utensils and eating chunks of meat.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Veggo

          I see your point and don't take issue w/it. But what I (and Ruth) are saying is it's the contrived way these women are going about it. How is it sexy if they eat steak simply because they think a man will find that sexy? Mentioning steak twice in your personal ad for just this reason? C'mon, that's not sexy & hip....that's bordering on pathetic.

          1. re: JaneRI

            I suppose I've been naively unaware of all the aforethought and premeditation that can precede eating 3 squares a day. More than meets the eye of the round.

          2. re: Veggo

            "an interesting aspect of the feminine mystique in the handling of sharp utensils and eating chunks of meat"

            I'd like to hear John Bobbitt's opinion on that one.

            1. re: wak

              Say what you will about Lorena Bobbitt, but she was never so wasteful as to throw a good steak out the car window.

          3. Scarlett O'Hara is a fictional character created in the 20th century. Nothing this character does or says can be used to refute alleged historical behavior.

            I am not saying that this alleged historical behavior is true, although I believe it to be so.

            I'm just saying that because Fred Flintstone is portrayed as owning a car powered by his feet does not make a reporter's claim that the automobile was invented in the 19th century "shoddy journalism".

            1. That atttitude is arguably sexist, but it's just reporting to point it out.

              Henry Jaglom made a whole movie about how weird American women are about eating, particularly in public. The script was based on real-life experiences of the actresses. Unless I'm confusing it with another movie there's a whole scene about not eating on dates.


              Neither is it sexist to report on the real trend that women are eating more meat in New York restaurants.

              39 Replies
              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                I'm not sure that the experiences of actresses -- who are almost by definition acutely conscious of their image -- can be extrapolated to apply to all women.

                That said, I think women are more conscious of the unfortunate fact that their food choices seem to be much more heavily imbued with significance than men's. Sure, "real men don't eat quiche" but aside from that, men are rarely judged by what they choose to eat.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  The movie reflected things I've heard from many regular non-actress women, and a lot of women I know who saw it found it quite moving as it touched on their own neuroses. I think several mentioned particularly that not-eating-on-dates thing.

                  I don't think I know any straight American women who aren't pretty neurotic about food in one way or another.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    This straight American 50-year-old woman has never been on a diet in her life! I eat whatever I want, whenever I want, and I am not an ounce overweight. The only thing neurotic about me is I demand perfection as a chef.

                    That said, I haven't eaten a steak in 35 years. I simply don't like big slabs of beef.

                    On a first date, I try to take him to an Ethiopian restaurant, because I like to see how a guy enjoys eating spicy food with his fingers. If he passes the test, then it's onto real Indian or Thai.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      I'm straight, American, and a woman. I am not even slightly neurotic about food and neither are most of my female friends. I eat whatever I want (and I'm an omnivore) in moderation and exercise so that I can continue to eat whatever I want. Food is one of the greatest pleasures on earth, and sharing good food with good friends the best possible social experience. The only woman I've ever heard of who didn't eat on dates was one my husband dated (once!) many years ago. They went out to dinner and she didn't eat a thing! How bizarre. We later found out that she was anorexic.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        I can buy that a lot of women are somewhat neurotic about what we eat - whether it's about fat or organics or dying fish stocks or whatever - but I take serious issue with the idea that the source of the neuroticism is always what some guy is going to think.

                        It's the kind of article that belongs in Cosmo, not NYT. You can always get a quote to support these kinds of articles, doesn't mean there's a trend or anything meaningful to report.

                        Also missed the fact that some men find women who eat just plain SEXY. Always seemed to work for me.

                        1. re: julesrules

                          "I take serious issue with the idea that the source of the neuroticism is always what some guy is going to think."


                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                            " "I take serious issue with the idea that the source of the neuroticism is always what some guy is going to think."


                            Well that is good, because I don't think us guys are really perceptive enough to pick up on whatever message you all might be trying to convey with a menu order. If you haven't realized it, we aren't that great at picking up on subtle hints. So eat what you want, feel lucky if we put the toilet seat down, and leave it at that.

                          2. re: julesrules

                            I think the phrase at issue here is, "In an earlier era, conventional dating wisdom for women was to eat something at home alone before a date, and then in company order a light dinner to portray oneself as dainty and ladylike."

                            Do women do things like that to impress men? I think it's really more about self-image and what they imagine other women might think.

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                              You may have hit the nail on the head here, RL. I am a NYC-dwelling omnivorous woman. However, I do have to watch my weight (as many women I know do) and most of the time women (including my best friends) make food choices that they think will make the right impression on the women around them, not the men. I once had a (rare) argument about a joint birthday party I was throwing with a very good friend. She didn't think we needed a big birthday cake (there were approx. 100 people invited, incl. men) because she wouldn't be eating any cake and doubted that any of her girlfriends would be, either... I ended up putting my foot down, to the great pleasure of our invitees, who were undoubtedly expecting cake at birthday bash! We gals can be a complicated lot... though not all of us are afraid of our appetites....

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                Well, I come from an earlier era (card-carrying AARPer) and I don't recall any nonsense about food-based posturing and attitudinizing for the purpose of femininity-enhancement. Or, maybe the message was floating around back in the mid-century, and I (being a proto-feminist) chose not to heed it.

                                Anyway, I would eat burgers and drink beer with as much gusto as anyone else and it didn't seem to damage my social life.

                                1. re: Sharuf

                                  Exactly! I suspected this; good to hear. I think the article is mixing up a bunch of different things. Perhaps a few years ago some women tended to order the low-fat pasta chicken with vegetables dish and now they are ordering red meat because their idea of "healthy" e.g. slimming food has changed, but I can't imagine anyone ever avoided ordering a burger for fear of being thought masculine. The article does point up one irony, though: I think (rightly or wrongly) slim women might take a certain pride in eating a "normal" dinner in public, whereas overweight women might feel compelled to order the salad or some other "diet" thing, lest people look at them and think "aha! no wonder she's overweight." That's what was going on with the woman in the article who described herself as "curvy." I think it's awful that overweight women don't feel comfortable eating whatever they want. But then I have to admit I also tend to think -- and I hope this is not unfair -- that "diet" food (and/or lots of carbs) actually tends to lead to weight gain. So I guess I am making a judgement about causes of body shape. Maybe that's unfair. (I dieted once and gained about ten pounds; when I went back to eating whatever I wanted I lost weight.)Everyone should just eat whatever they want.

                                  1. re: KateC.

                                    although call me crazy but i don't really think people should be eating 60oz steaks topped with slabs of butter or rich cheese every single day of the week.

                                    you don't necessarily have to be on a "Diet" (if by diet you mean, foods tagged as diet foods) but hopefully one will eat with a little caution at times due to health concerns. and this applies to both men and women.

                                    1. re: kevin

                                      exactky. eating and weight control is a marathon, not a sprint. for example jfood this week had fish and skinless chicken every night this week plus numerous hours in the gym. last night his butcher had some beautiful rib eyes. Into the cart onto the grill and into the mouth. Likewise mrs jfoood and little jfood enjoyed a wonderful filet.

                                      will jfood do this again tonight. probably not but in a week, then a steak makes it to the top to the rotation.

                                      1. re: jfood

                                        True. But I LOVE fish!!!! (being a cat and all). It should not be seen as austerity, or as a punishment.

                                        1. re: lagatta

                                          jfood is not putting fish in a second class category at all. He loves fish and seafood.

                            2. re: Robert Lauriston

                              "I don't think I know any straight American women who aren't pretty neurotic about food in one way or another."

                              Then, I would say, you definitely need to get out more! And find some new friends.

                              1. re: gourmanda

                                I have plenty of women friends who are completely unneurotic about what they eat. They're just not straight Americans.

                              2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                "I don't think I know any straight American women who aren't pretty neurotic about food in one way or another."

                                I think this statement says a lot more about your choices in feminine companionship then it does about the state of American women and their relationship to food.

                                1. re: flourgirl

                                  Agreed. I have plenty of female friends who do have to think a bit about what they eat, but it's due to food sensitivities/allergies and not because they are worried about what a man thinks. Most of us who are "neurotic" would actually prefer not to be. I would love to go out to eat without worrying whether I will be sick afterward, but alas that isn't going to happen.

                                2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                  Really? I'm thinking perhaps you don't know a lot of women (straight or otherwise).....

                                  I know lots of women who aren't neurotic about food, unless by 'neurotic' of course you mean obsessed in the CH should come to the Chowhound picnic this year and meet a few of them!

                                  1. re: susancinsf

                                    Passion and obsession are different things. Not mutually exclusive.

                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                      sure, but in this context I don't necessarily consider either to be 'neurotic'.

                                      1. re: susancinsf

                                        What I mean by "neurotic" is primarily eating for reasons other than hunger and pleasure, feeling guilty about food choices, and the belief that what you don't or didn't eat is an appropriate topic for conversation.

                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                          Oh. I agreed with you earlier,but not now. I do think that women fret a great deal about what they do or don't eat and that it is very hard not to do so because of the images presented in ads, movies, etc.... These images make one feel like crap.... But I would never think that it's an appropriate topic for conversation. It's what one thinks about at two in the morning, or posts about on the internet.

                                3. re: Ruth Lafler

                                  By the way, Quiche commes from Lorraine, a rather tough, mining and steelworking region on the French-German border. "Real men" certainly did eat quiche, before tucking into something more substantial, assuming they could afford to do so.

                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                    "Sure, "real men don't eat quiche" but aside from that, men are rarely judged by what they choose to eat."

                                    Ah, but you are wrong. As a man, I can tell you that men most assuredly judge other men by what they choose to eat, leaving alone all of the women who do the very same.


                                      1. re: Erik M

                                        We do?

                                        I mean, I'll slap a dude's hand if he reaches for the last slice of pizza, but...we do?

                                        1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                          The guys I work with will give eachother unending guff if a male brings a salad or vegetables for lunch.

                                            1. re: mojoeater

                                              Hahaha...that's funny and stupid. I've been around those kind of guys and my answer is usually something like, "that's the kind of diet that promotes frequent 'digital' exams when you get older....but then you enjoy that right?"

                                              Yeah, I concur..morons.

                                              1. re: mojoeater

                                                There was a huge complex being built near our office and we couldn't get near the local salad bars at lunch- the (male) construction workers took them over every day at noon. Real men eat healthy.

                                                1. re: ginnyhw

                                                  Tell me more about how this huge complex being was built.

                                                  (Sorry, I had to read that sentence twice before I understood it.)

                                            2. re: Erik M

                                              Ah, but do you judge them on how masculine they are, or do you judge them on non-sex-specific things like whether they are chowhounds or not?

                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                I judge them on whether they are willing to buy the next round, time and time and time again.

                                              2. re: Erik M

                                                another vote for "NO WE DON'T"

                                                Likewise jfood loves quiche, steaks, chicken, veal, pork, lamb, rabbit, almost all fish and seafood, get the gist.

                                                If you judge other men by what they eat, well enough said.

                                            3. re: Robert Lauriston

                                              What about that cake eating scence in "The Truth About Cats and Dogs" . . . This thread makes me glad I don't have a TV and read the newspaper infrequently!