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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 sense....you 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!

                                            4. Now we know the real reason for the shortage of porterhouse steaks at Luger's.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: David W

                                                damn those "guy's girls" at lugers.

                                              2. Ah, now if I can just find me a nice single man who likes his veggie quiche, sparkling water with a lime wedge and a little fruit sorbet afterwards, maybe I can have some late life dating success. I never thought about dating strategies when ordering food, as in "red meat sent a message that she was unpretentious and down to earth and unneurotic..." It seems so calculating. I am considered to be (by a fellow female who is quoted in the article) wimpy, insipid, childish and vapid if I order a salad?! Gosh, ladies, I'd better start rethinking my grocery list. I was going to go out for sushi tonight but maybe I'll hit the local steak house instead in order to realign myself, as I obviously am way overdue for a tune up. This is really funny.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: mvi

                                                  I usually roll my eyes when I go out with friends and the women order what they are supposed to order rather than what they want to order. I find that much more contrived than ordering a steak because you're hungry.

                                                  1. re: mvi

                                                    That's kind of what I thought of it too. Women are (generally) more careful about what they eat and infuse it with more meaning. Do most men even notice?

                                                    And I think it is shoddy reporting to weave a story based on a few anecdotes and some input from the Smith & Wollensky guy who doesn't back up his report that women are eating more steak with any specific sales numbers. Of course the S&W guy is going to say that more women are ordering steak because it makes them look sexy!

                                                    And the graf about Paris Hilton and Nicole Richtie was just inane.

                                                  2. Women in New York are eating slightly more red meat than before because they have switched from low-fat to low-carb diets. I think that's about as much as you could say about the deep meaning of women eating red meat. Does no one remember the mouseburger of Sex & the Single Woman, who ate her diet plate of cottage cheese and burger without bun alone at the lunch counter while her more popular counterpart ate steak with the boys?

                                                    1. I wonder where the writer found these "vapid and insipid" people to interview. What a perfectly ridiculous article. I have never given a thought that what I ordered sent any kind of message to my date or tablemates; never been out w/ anyone who gave it a thought either. The only thing that has sometimes made my decision on what to order has been price...I don't order the most expensive thing (even if I really want it) if someone else is paying (unless it's my husband, of course!).

                                                      1. An old boyfriend of mine told me that he was smitten with me after our first date (at Red Cat) because I ordered the calves liver. It wasn't a decision made with the intention of impressing him, though; that would be foolish. There is some truth to the notion that men appreciate a woman who enjoys food; however, a general appreciation for the sensual aspects of cuisine is bound to be more attractive than the contrived "look at me! I eat steak, so I'm sooooo hot!" persona celebrated in the article.

                                                        1. The Times has been running these sort of odd cultural items for years and years now. They ran a piece as while back about "The Man Date" - about when two straight men go out to do things together. I see this piece as sort of cultural anthropology, not shoddy journalism.

                                                          As to the phenomena itself? It's an odd form of feminism, I guess. It's I guess why women insist on smoking cigars - to make a point to do the same things that men do. One would think that the women in the story are simply eating steak because they like it, end of story.

                                                          23 Replies
                                                          1. re: pgokey

                                                            It's not feminism if the reasoning behind it is to present a certain image to impress a man! A woman taking on trappings of masculinity does not equal feminism.

                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                That was sort of my point, albeit murkily made. Eating meat to impress someone is just as dumb as only eating salads to seem feminine. It seems these women are trying to say that "I am not one of those women who only eat salads when I am at a restaurant in fear of seeming not feminine enough", which has a sense of feminism to it. I agree with you that they sort of cancel that out by swinging the pendulum the other way by making a point of advertising their meat eating, as it seems they are eating meat to impress the guys, rather than eating it simply because they like. It's not eating for eating sake, it's eating to make a statement. That's sort of silly, and sort of disempowering.

                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                  Right on Ruth!

                                                                  I am a 50+ straight married female that is more than a little disturbed by the whole "girly" culture our younger generation seems to be embracing. The trend of very young children dressing like Bratz/slutz and the older girls doing the Girls Gone Wild thing makes me sad and angry--we went through the "girls (meaning women) can't do math, can't work, are victims of their hormonal swings, are only truly happy when married with children,etc.", and fought it so that our daughters wouldn't have to...and they seem to be comfortable being sex objects again. I know this is generalization but it seems like the dominant trend in the MSM. This article is just another brick in the wall of presenting women whose life work is landing a man as the new normal.

                                                                  That being said, I think most people, not just men on dates, are annoyed to be eating with a fussy person who makes ordering a meal into an exercise of listmaking--"could I get the dressing on the side, with no croutons, and extra sunflower seeds, and then can I substitute x for y with my entree...." blech

                                                                  1. re: coney with everything

                                                                    although on the flip side maybe some people are allergic or just don't like other things on the menu, so should it be a problem if they order a salad and substitute on it.

                                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                                      This is especially true if you (as the guest) didn't pick the restaurant, as is often the case for women on dates.

                                                                2. re: pgokey

                                                                  While the article is overly simplistic, I think your comment is geting to the core of it, at least for me. While I couldn't care less about what my female companion eats (although I confess I get mildly annoyed if they are overly finicky, like continually ordering a salad with a lot of substitutions and with the inevitable dressing on the side, then only nibbling at the result) it is somewhat refreshing to go out with a woman who orders something straightforward and then consumes most of what is set in front of her. When I read your comment I was instantly reminded of a woman I went out with several times some years ago -- the initial attraction was that she drank bourbon on the rocks and was an enthusiastic cigar smoker on such occasions. At the time she was my ideal woman, though over time I came to realize that she also came with a number of downsides that offset that. If only superficiality had staying power... :)

                                                                  1. re: Greg B

                                                                    I think with today's portion sizes, a lot of women can't consume all of what's put in front of them. I have a very small stomach and usually get full with 1/2 of a portion and take the rest home.

                                                                    1. re: queencru

                                                                      portion sizes have definitely gone up over the years in America.

                                                                      Portions sizes in the 1950s were much smaller than what we are accustomed to now.

                                                                      But we can still look to our compratiots in Europe to see a somewhat more appropriate portions.

                                                                      1. re: kevin

                                                                        A friend and his family played host to a former co-worker's teenage daughter for a summer, she is from the UK. She became obsessed with just how large the portions were and for the first week kept saying how she can feed her family on her portion alone. Oh, and she was in heaven with the free soft drink refills and the concept of the all you can eat buffet.

                                                                        I remember going over there and overhearing some Americans complaining about the portions.

                                                                        1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                          I spent the summer after I graduated from high school in Ireland. Before I left I was told, "You WILL gain weight." I didn't. We ate somewhat smaller portions of pretty much the same sort of food I was used to at home--meat and potatoes--and walked everywhere. We wouldn't think twice about walking the "Cliff Walk," seven miles on a cliff overlooking the ocean between the town we stayed in and the next town north of us.

                                                                        2. re: kevin

                                                                          "Portion sizes in the 1950s were much smaller . . . " That does not jibe with my memory. Haven't noticed any size-shifting.

                                                                          1. re: Sharuf

                                                                            Interesting point. I read frequently in newspapers that portions have increased. I'm not sure what they're measuring or what statistic they're basing this on. Is this a cliche or fact? Could it be that portion sizes are getting bigger at certain chain restaurants? Didn't McDonald's start out just serving the plain hambuger (or cheeseburger) and small fries, which are both tiny? Certainly the size of the sodas at movie theaters has gotten bigger since the 1950s. If I recall correctly, Italian red-sauce joints have served ridiculously large servings of pasta since at least the 1970s (I wouldn't know about before).

                                                                            1. re: KateC.

                                                                              I think you're probably onto something. I'm not sure how much bigger independent restaurant portion sizes are getting. However, certain chains seem to be known for having gigantic portions and seem to be popular because people feel like they're getting their money's worth. People seem to be more interested in the quantity of the food than the quality and complain if the portion size is too small.

                                                                              People also eat out a lot more now than they did in the past.

                                                                              1. re: KateC.

                                                                                I read the same thing recently in an article in the NYT. They used McDonald's as the example - the only drink size available was something like 7oz, and that the average meal size for an adult was the equivalent of today's kid's meal. Oh, the article was about how after the Supersize menu faded (post Fast Food Nation), this summer they introduce essentially the same thing with another name. A 40+oz drink for 89cents. Portions are bigger & people buy them because they're getting "a deal," seems like a vicious cycle.

                                                                                Re the original story and eating neuroses, I found the article mildly amusing but sad. I'm sure there are folks out there who have plenty of these types of food/dating issues (men & women, but sadly more women) and others who don't - so even if we personally aren't like that it doesn't mean it's inaccurate, though yes it's not trenchant investigative reporting.

                                                                              2. re: Sharuf

                                                                                Maybe not in your family then, but it's a fact that people are eating much more food now than in 1950. My mother (age 72) remembers her mother coming home w/2 grocery bags and that was food for their family of 4 for the week.

                                                                                1. re: JaneRI

                                                                                  Couldn't that also because people consume - and discard - so much more overpackaged processed food?

                                                                                  However I live near a big farmer's market, and buy and dispose of a lot of inedible parts of produce. In 1950 people also did eat a lot of tinned food.

                                                                              3. re: kevin

                                                                                You know what else has changed since the 1950s? Or maybe since the 1920s? I think people back then had a lot more fiber in their diets. They probably ate more beans, for example. And vegetables. I am pretty persuaded that a diet low in fiber is one of the causes of the "obesity epidemic."

                                                                                1. re: KateC.

                                                                                  And they walked MUCH more. Not so much just sitting at the computer all day - me too! :)

                                                                                  1. re: AMFM

                                                                                    I have noticed the portions getting bigger and I have only been noticing this stuff since the 1970's. The chains dictate the portion size because people get used to the "economy" of the serving sizes and some of the independents feel like if they don't keep up they won't be able to compete. Now the haute cuisine folks are actually maintaining their portion sizes for aesthetic reasons.

                                                                            2. re: Greg B

                                                                              I have a girlfriend who refuses to eat with her hands. She uses a fork and knife on burgers and even chicken wings. It's really annoying because she ends up leaving little bits of things on the shared plate. When I asked why she did this, she said she "had to separate the good meat from the bad meat." Whatever that means.

                                                                              1. re: mojoeater

                                                                                I knew a guy that was obsessive compulsive. Had to bring his own dish with separate partitions and wanted the restaurant to serve him on that plate or bring the meats and veggies and starches separately.

                                                                                1. re: mojoeater

                                                                                  Wasn't that a Seinfeld episode? (fork and knife for a snickers bar)

                                                                            3. Yeah, it was a total eye-roller. Typical NY Times Style Section BS. I try to avoid that section of the paper altogether but once in a while something like this slips through. It's shoddy journalism, sexist, and utterly self-referential...life in the "bubble" of a very small class of smarmy upscale pseudo-intellectual Manhattanites. Not CHers!!

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: hollerhither

                                                                                Au contraire, hollerhither! I was interviewed for this piece and pgokey got it exactly right: I eat steaks and burgers because I love them (and I married someone who shares this love--mentioning steaks in my personal ad worked!). I did say some guys probably liked it for various reasons, but I certainly don't eat burgers or steak to impress anyone (actually I know I scared off a couple of vegetarians...). But come on people, it's a silly Style section trend piece, not hard news.

                                                                                1. re: marfa

                                                                                  Ah, well, with very few exceptions, I guess. ;)

                                                                                2. re: hollerhither

                                                                                  Good point: the women interviewed are a copy editor at TV Guide, a publicist at Random House, a dining editor at Time Out New York, a production director at Artnet.com, and a freelance design writer.

                                                                                  The only one who doesn't live in New York and work in media is the video surveillance equipment salesperson in Irving, Texas, who made the opposite argument (“It’s better not to have a jalapeño fajita plate, especially on the first date ...").

                                                                                3. There seemed to be a *slight* double-standard at the end of the article.

                                                                                  1. As a vegetarian who PROUDLY cooks tofu for my boyfriend and ordered soup and salad on our first date, I'm upset with the Times' assumption that those of us who choose not to eat animal flesh are somehow less likely to wind up in a long term relationship. I find it sexy when someone makes decisions (be it what they order at a restaurant, what movies they see or what politicians they support) based on their desires and beliefs. If that means you really want to eat a burger on your first date, go for it! If you feel like taking your date out for vegan pizza, go for it! For me, not ordering a steak (or a lamb shank or rabbit etc.) is not due to my fear of eating in front of men or my worries about weight, and to label it as such is offensive.

                                                                                    That being said, I recognize that the TImes was trying to make some sort of general statement about cultural norms, i.e. 'Women can't be hungry; Women should be in control of their bodies; Women should try to please men, even when it comes to their appetite," all statements I think reflect unfortunately salient beliefs that do quite a bit of harm. However, I don't think the link between vegetarianism and the threat of spinster-dom is fair or accurate. I love the New York Times, but for the sake of those who don't eat steak or who think it's sexy to eat what we crave, please think twice before ordering that Rib Eye just because the styles section deems it attractive.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: mipiace

                                                                                      "That being said, I recognize that the TImes was trying to make some sort of general statement about cultural norms, i.e. 'Women can't be hungry; Women should be in control of their bodies; Women should try to please men, even when it comes to their appetite," all statements I think reflect unfortunately salient beliefs that do quite a bit of harm."

                                                                                      Very well put and sadly true.

                                                                                      And to the people who talk about being behind on the trends, the Beef Council has had advertising campaigns specifically aimed at women for several years now, including a commercial where two men in a restaurant look around and see themselves surrounded by women happily chowing down of beef. In fact, here's an article about that campaign from more than seven years ago! The Beef Council has also been targeting teenaged girls, because teenaged girls often go through a vegetarian phase (that may or may not become a permanent lifestyle). The figure skater Sasha Cohen was a spokesperson for that campaign.


                                                                                    2. I didnt fid it offensive, but an interesting read. I was surprised to see an article with this slant in the New York Times though.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: swsidejim

                                                                                        I'm not. The Style section, it does looooove those trend pieces. Most of the time they're in the "three women I know on the UWS are eating steak on dates so it's a trend" vein. Other times it's a trend that has long since arrived and the Times is just picking up on it (see a very recent article they did on knitting among young women...not like BUST magazine has had a knitting column for about 5 years or anything...)

                                                                                        I think it's just a stupid trend piece that happened to be food related. The same thing was last week's article on rich drunken diners...rich people have gotten out-of-control drunk at meals since at least Roman times...but the article is spun in a way to make it seem new. Although I must confess...I liked the drunken diner article.

                                                                                      2. After reading this article, I asked my husband never to divorce me, for fear that I would end up back in a dating scene in which people choose their dinner fare based on psychological strategy rather than on whatever they feel like eating at the moment. Sure, it's cool that women now feel liberated enough to order steak and a beer if they feel like it, but ordering it just to attract the man? Please.

                                                                                        Interesting part, too, about the meaning behind ordering the fancy-schmancy super-expensive burger.

                                                                                        And the pity they have on those poor disadvantaged vegetarians.

                                                                                        Of course, all of this is in the same section as another article describing women who won't look at $150 sunglasses, but put a $350 or $500 price tag on them, and hey, now they're interested.

                                                                                        1. Okay, as a happily married man, none of this applies to me, but the main thing I thought when I was reading that article earlier was "Okay, if my date was over-analyzing me based on what I ordered for dinner, there's not going to be a second date regardless."

                                                                                          1. I love meat. I will order carpaccio and steak as my main course. I do see how this article can be offensive, but I'm not going to get too politically correct about it and take it for the light hearted piece it was supposed to be but came off as rather an "Oprahesque" piece on how to snag a man before you're 40. i wanted this article to be more savvy and polished as it does point out a true phenomena. Men think women who eat and enjoy eating are sexy.It implies a certain sensuality. Explore that in the article instead of the i love khaki and want a husband type of prose. If they served buffalo wings in 4 star restaurants I'd be finished. I'll have the wings to start, followed by the carpaccio, followed by the chianina steak for 2. That's just my order, but i would share with my date!

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                              Looks like most Americans don't have a problem with big women, so salad vs. steak on a date really issue?

                                                                                              Americans see fat as normal as weights rise: study

                                                                                              1. re: Pablo

                                                                                                "Normal" is not the same as "attractive" or "desirable."

                                                                                            2. If Mike were the sort to be impressed by this game-playing nonsense, I'd still be single. When I go out to eat I order what I want to eat. No deeper meaning than that. If I were dating a man and what I did or did not eat was going to be a deal-breaker, well, then, it's a deal-breaker. I wouldn't want to be with someone who thinks it's their job to analyze every morsel I put in my mouth. Fortunately, my experience tells me that most men are not really all that tuned into the mental gymnastics we womenfolks put ourselves through.

                                                                                              1. I'm not offended by this article. It seems to not be anything more than an entertaining puff piece so I am going to take it as such. It does make me wonder though if men really do analyze women on what they eat. I am a young woman sort of in the dating scene.... it's complicated......, anyhow, I don't order steak when I am on a date or otherwise. Most of the time all I really want is a good salad or something along those lines. It has nothing to do with weight, or neuroses, or making an impression. I like vegetables. I am also not one to shy away from the bread basket, dessert, basically anything, but only if it is what I want. It is sort of crazy to think people would make judgements on a date based on their order, but even crazier yet that someone would order strictly to make an impression.

                                                                                                1. I think the article is poorly reported insofar as it doesn't get the other side of the matter. It seems to have one opinion. I happen to like steak, and burgers, and eat them regularly as myself. In terms of a date, the only reason I wouldn't order it is because I wouldn't want them to think I'm taking advantage of them; steak is usually the most expensive thing on the menu.


                                                                                                  1. On a somewhat related topic, in terms of the impression that people consciously or unconsciously give off when it comes to food, there is an interesting thread going on in another section under Table Manners (1st article).

                                                                                                    It has stirred up lots of emotional responses, to say the least!

                                                                                                    1. Am I the only one who thinks that the only thing sexier than a woman eating steak and burgers is a woman eating oxtails, tongue and tripe?

                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: steve h.

                                                                                                          when cute girls eat it is hot, and salads are not the cutest thing to eat.

                                                                                                          1. re: kevin

                                                                                                            cute girls are intrinsically good. so are most women. finding those who like to sail is the challenge.

                                                                                                          2. re: steve h.

                                                                                                            Now I am laughing out loud. What a hoot this thread is.

                                                                                                          3. re: Veggo

                                                                                                            we better quit this now, before chowhound becomes a real "food porn" site.

                                                                                                              1. re: Morton the Mousse

                                                                                                                Sorry, Morton, but aside from that scene in "Tom Jones," I've never seen a connection between sexy and eating. Is this a guy thing?

                                                                                                              2. I read this thing and I just thought it was a throwaway article. But now I understand it has ticked off:

                                                                                                                Meat eating women
                                                                                                                Men who love meat eating women
                                                                                                                Burger eating women
                                                                                                                Men who love burger eating women

                                                                                                                Wow, that thing was loaded!!!! This is on a par with Bill O'Reilly/Ann Coulter diatribe.

                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                  Basically, I think this article rattled the chains of everyone of us who think that people should eat what they want, without giving a thought to what image that might convey. Appears that this is a large, diverse group.

                                                                                                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                    What a beautifully succinct summary of this huge thread!

                                                                                                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                      let's also remember the subset of people on these board, chowhounds. of course this would ruffle some feathers and makeothers just laugh at it's stupidity and careless prose. Jfood puts this in the "stupid articles" category. Not worth getting hyped over.

                                                                                                                  2. The Amateur Gourmet (who I love by the way) features this article and jokes that women who eat steak on first dates "must give good burger." Haha.


                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: Chew on That

                                                                                                                      Well, how about fish? Or cheese?

                                                                                                                      I've always thought of fish and seafood as very sexy things. Healthy, yes, but not in a wan, limp, wimpy way.

                                                                                                                    2. The point about "being yourself" is well taken and heck it's good common sense. How they arrived at eating a steak to show that you're being yourself is a bit twisted and is contradictory if you don't want a steak. Why not kielbasa or would the cutting of tube steak scare guys?

                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: ML8000

                                                                                                                        Not if they are Manly Men and not girly men!!!

                                                                                                                        1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                          Or S/M men or SF tranny men!!!

                                                                                                                          Someone should start a "weird dinner date" thread...and what they ordered...or not.

                                                                                                                      2. Isn't the whole point (really and ironically) that people should eat what they want at the time? And that societal norms and pressures have made that difficult. And to be honest even as I say that people should eat what they want I don't really mean it because if most of us ate what we wanted ALL the time we would be far from healthy. So I think dealing with the many pressures related to eating is very culturally relevant.

                                                                                                                        And there was a time that I was very careful about what I ate on dates. Now that I'm older and more self-confident (and also, probably related as well, married) I order what I want. A salad sometimes, a giant cheeseburger and fries others. Depends on the day. I am still conscious about it around women sometimes - although nearly all the women I know eat well. I'd be lying if I said we didn't talk about the skinny ones who NEVER eat in public though. Catty and concerned usually. But I think that this issue is more real for average american women than many would like to think.

                                                                                                                        1. As a man who cooks, the last thing I would order when out for dinner is a steak. It's so easy to make at home. I want the kind of labor intensive meal that I'm too lazy to make at home. I would tend to think that anyone, man or woman, who would order a steak to be a dim wit, or on a very restricted unpleasant crank diet.

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. re: Curmudgeon

                                                                                                                            Manhattan's not like most places.

                                                                                                                            Stan Sesser, former restaurant critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, once said that when he told San Franciscans that he ate out six nights a week, they'd ask, "How can you stand it?" When he told New Yorkers the same thing, they'd ask, "What do you do the other night?"

                                                                                                                          2. pretty wild posts on this one, wow.

                                                                                                                            Jfood's only comment about what a date ate when I dated 30 years ago was if they ordered the most expensive item on the menu with a poor graduate student. Jfood thought, "you insensitive twit."

                                                                                                                            Mrs jfood and jfood had a turkey sandwich as a first date over 27 years ago and we have eaten many steaks, quiches, salads over thos wonderful 27 years.

                                                                                                                            Now depending on the resto and the week and the food the jfoods ate that week, jfood would recommend steak or fish or something else that he thinks mrs jfood would like.

                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                              Ah, so sweet!!! Lovely to hear that.

                                                                                                                              1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                Actually, as someone who has dripped food on her chest more times than she cares to remember, I'm with the blind guy: on any occasion where I want to present a good impression (not just a date) I try to pick something that I can eat neatly. For dinner in a restaurant, at least (i.e. not a BBQ or another place where one might be expected to eat with her hands). Also, of course, anything that might cause anti-social gastrointestinal reactions. So a steak might be a good choice, while a salad (drippy dressing, small bits of things that might fall of a fork) might not.

                                                                                                                              2. Guess it's a good thing I'm not in the dating scene. Wonder what the NY Times would make of one of my favorite foods...rice and beans. 'Cause I sure wouldn't be shy about ordering it.

                                                                                                                                1. The New York Times is fighting a losing battle against newspaper obsolescence. Fighting might be the wrong word; they're surrendering.

                                                                                                                                  The story could be much more interesting if the writer dug deeper. One obvious additional angle could be the wave of Atkins / high-protein diets -- a point of cultural convergence between feminine body image and red meat. There's also the hipster trend toward 'slumming it' on the one hand -- e.g., Paris Hilton at In-N-Out Burger (and let's not forget her commercial for Carl Jr.) -- and its mirror image, the trend toward high-end dining, which steak still typifies. In a way, the root of this whole phenomenon may be less about superficial dating relations and more about class. The self-jockification of women is kind of interesting, but it's not really different from, say the appeal of Brett in her beret and breeches in _The Sun Also Rises_.

                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                  1. re: sequins

                                                                                                                                    nyt is fighting a losing battle on many fronts. rightfully so. still, this piece has sparked a lot of comment.

                                                                                                                                  2. I have known women who dreaded the prospect of dining out on a date: the very notion of eating in front of a man horrified them. That always struck me as deeply neurotic. We all gotta chew; it's just nicer if we all keep our mouths closed while doing it.

                                                                                                                                    On the other hand, there's a reason you don't see a lot of actual eating in food shows and commercials; it's not always the sexiest, most appetizing thing to behold. I myself have never been bothered by the spectacle of watching a date eat, nor been timid about eating lustily myself, as long as we both have decent table manners.

                                                                                                                                    I have my own related quasi-first-date dining out story. Not long after we first met, an acquaintance and I sat next to each other at a big group lunch at a suburban American Chinese place (magenta spare ribs, thick-skinned frozen egg rolls, etc.). The server took the orders around the table: 18 people said, "buffet". As the next-to-last person to order, I said with some trepidation, "Um, I'd like to order a la carte." I was worried for a moment about appearing oddly particular or a snob, but not so much so that I was willing to suffer the indignities of steam-table-fatigued Chinese food.

                                                                                                                                    To my relief, the last person to order, whom I kind of had my eye on, but who had no idea about my budding attraction -- and in fact I knew wasn't so well-disposed toward me at this point -- laughed and said, "I don't do Chinese buffet, either." I mentally breathed a big sigh of relief. From this brief little simpatico moment, things between us improved steadily. We got married about four years later.

                                                                                                                                    I won't suggest there's a moral for anyone else here, but that moment of sticking to my Chow-guns probably changed the course of my life. I'm pretty convinced it's better to know yourself, be yourself in these situations.

                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                                      I don't judge people based on what they eat, but that was a nice story, MC Slim JB.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                                        I once had a first date with a person who suggested going to The Golden Corral, which somehow I hadn't heard of or seen before. He had touted it as his favorite place. There wasn't a second date, and that was mostly because it was such a terrible, not to mention unromantic, restaurant that didn't even serve alcohol. His choice didn't make me judge him as a person, but did leave me to believe that he didn't love good food. In the same period of being single, I had a second date with someone at a restaurant that wasn't very good, but at least he recognized this and resolved to find a better place in the future. We've been together ever since.

                                                                                                                                        As far as what to order when on a first date, just get what you're hungry for and leave it at that.

                                                                                                                                      2. I once put in a dating profile that I could "plan a road trip around a donut." A very skinny British friend of mine (male) told me to take it out. People might think I was fat, he said. I thought that was very funny.

                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: KateC.

                                                                                                                                          "Ladies, eat the doughnuts."--Greg Behrendt

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                            LOL! You have to be yourself or no relationship will sustain but I do believe in not being a "messy" eater on a first date, hence no big juicy burger for me on date #1.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: moymoy

                                                                                                                                              I had a good friend years ago who was blind. He told me that the worst first-date food for a blind guy was spaghetti.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: David W

                                                                                                                                            The Daily News is a latecomer to that story. That same "trend" was noted on this very site last week: http://www.chow.com/grinder/3363, and that item was inspired by a story in Salon.com the week before that, and that story was based on one in the South African "Independent Online."

                                                                                                                                            1. re: David W

                                                                                                                                              ""I definitely can't make out with a person who had just finished eating meat, like say right after dinner or something. The flesh sold in neat packages in the supermarkets was someone's body just a few days ago."
                                                                                                                                              Looks like this Kwan person quoted doesn't like dating cannibals either. (ref: the word "someone")

                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                Well, I'm certainly not a vegetarian, but my cat is certainly "someone" (as opposed to "something"). And I have no problem with remembering that the meat I ate was once a living being.

                                                                                                                                                Cat doesn't give a shit, though...

                                                                                                                                            2. For the record, this is today's number 1 most popular emailed article on NYTimes.com. Looks like we're not the only ones who take issue with it... or do we HAVE issues? Hmmm...

                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: vvvindaloo

                                                                                                                                                When you do something right you draw a lot of flies.

                                                                                                                                              2. Here's my fave part. And his point is? LOL

                                                                                                                                                When Paris Hilton was arrested for driving under the influence, she announced that she had been on her way to In-N-Out Burger, the Southern California chain revered for its gut-busting Double-Double, as if trying to satisfy a craving for two slabs of meat and cheese was an excuse for drunken driving that anyone could understand.

                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. What I find attractive is a woman that orders what she wants with NO convoluted guessing game perceptions about trying to be PC or "GUY C" . How ridiculously shallow. Food is one of the few natural pleasures we have - why mess with that?

                                                                                                                                                  1. As a middle-aged bachelor, my dinner-dating experiences have spanned 4 decades. I recognize that this distinction is of pathetic merit, but nonetheless it's true. I have seen the whole spectrum, from enrapturing Audrey Hepburn style femininity to arm wrestling challenges right at the table.
                                                                                                                                                    As to the subtleties of food ordering, when the lady orders something substantial, e.g. a nice steak or a lobster dish, the moment is jovial, clicking. She's comfortable, as am I. Nobody is overreading the tea leaves. Infinitely more pleasing than watching her pick at a scrawny coq au vin punctuated by pregnant silences.
                                                                                                                                                    I wish all would stop overcooking the cerebral ingredient and just follow your heart.

                                                                                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                      "I wish all would stop overcooking the cerebral ingredient and just follow your heart."
                                                                                                                                                      Well said Veggo.

                                                                                                                                                      It's struck me while reading this thread that those who live their lives according to what others may or may ot think of them must be living a very sad life.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                        Interesting choice since to me coq au vin is rather hearty food. not what i would have chosen as a "girl" order. i happen to like it but it would still in my book be ordered by a hungry, comfort food comfortable, knows what she likes girl. now if she's picking and there are pregnant silences...

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                          Trust me, coq au vin is sufficiently girlie. When I moved from Boston to east Texas in 1982, I made the mistake of entering a bar named Slim's while wearing a pink golf shirt. It was promptly torn off my back and its remnants were collected on the floor and set on fire. I like chicken, too, but I steer away from girlie. I have assiduously studied girlie, for my own survival.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                            okay - perhaps girlie in east texas. :)

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                              Perhaps, but I don't see how cock in red wine could possibly be viewed as "girlie"...

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                "I have assiduously studied girlie, for my own survival."

                                                                                                                                                                Lucky us.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                  A lesser man would wither to this full frontal assault. I stand firmly and erectly on piers of granite in front of this...

                                                                                                                                                                  oh, never mind.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                    OTOH - you have my undying gratitude.

                                                                                                                                                          2. I'm not sure why people think this puff piece is beneath The Times. Afterall, this is the paper that recently devoted a page to pictures of handbags and the dogs they look like!

                                                                                                                                                            But this steak thing may be a trend. Listen to this piece on npr by Daniel Pinkwater about the most concise piece of writing he's ever read: