Gender issues popping up in interesting places – Pets and Restos

Pet choices and restaurant service?

Okay, everyone chime in – Guys who love their cats?

Women who get shafted in restaurants?

I’m curious. And bonus points to anyone who reads the comment in the NYT piece on restaurants and guesses correctly where I’m talking about!

2 Responses to “Gender issues popping up in interesting places – Pets and Restos”


  1. 1 somd October 8, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    This was a timely post for me, as Bub and I visited Marisa and Paul in NYC this past weekend. In their household is a comfortably heterosexual man who loves his cat; and we went out to eat Saturday night, and I “led” the interactions with the server (who seemed to have no problem addressing me).

    But before I go on about the meal, I have to tell you that Marisa and Paul insisted on taking us to Katz’s as soon as we got into town. They said you and Caleb took them there when you came to visit; and, lucky me, they passed on the recommendation to us!

    So, on to dinner. (Well, it wasn’t actually dinner since we were all still so full from our enormous corned beef and pastrami sandwiches!) I decided I’d like to grab a bite to eat in a fun place with good food in a neat neighborhood. So we wound up at the Olive Tree Cafe in the Village. We got a some dishes to share and a pitcher of beer, and had a wonderful time! And afterward, we walked around and hit a record store for Bub. I really hadn’t given any thought to the fact that the server addressed me, although there were two men at the table, because I’ve become accustomed to servers communicating with me when I’m the one addressing them. It’s certainly possible that it may have been different if it had been a more formal restaurant.

    As an interesting sidebar, the table next to us was all women who were obviously – as the NYT piece you referenced mentioned – there to enjoy the evening visiting with each other. They were there when we arrived, and they were still there when we left (and didn’t appear to be nearing the end of their visit). Although I was definitely not paying close attention to how they were served, I did notice that they were having a great time and that the server (male) was happily attending to them.

    But the Times piece made me think about how I’d feel if John were served before me; and I can actually say this has happened to me – and I didn’t like it. Though I never expect men to open doors for me or pull chairs out for me, I still like it when servers tend to me first. I just feel like it’s polite. But I should examine this more closely, because “it’s just polite” really doesn’t cut it. So now that I’m really thinking about this, I think the difference for me is whether the action is implying that I’m less capable. Holding a door open for me, carrying a load for me, or pulling a chair out for me hearkens back to a time when men did these things for women because women were considered “weaker” or less capable. When a server seats me first, offers me a menu first, or sets my plate down first, it doesn’t feel like s/he is suggesting that I’m less capable. It just feels like polite – even respectful – deference.

    So I guess I should count myself lucky that I haven’t been ignored by a server addressing the man at the table – or maybe I should feel concerned that it may have happened and I just didn’t notice?!

    P.S. – I’m still looking for that piece on the resurgent Redskins on The Sixteenth Minute 😉

  2. 2 fft5305 October 15, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    I don’t know if it shows some fundamental lack of awareness on my part, or some degree of an egalitarian viewpoint, but I don’t even think of gender in restaurants. More often than not, when the server arrives at our table to order, Chrissy and I look at each other and just try to figure out who’s ready to order and who needs a minute. Whoever’s more certain of their order goes first. When the food is brought, generally, the server will grab the plate that leaves the tray most balanced and says, “Open-faced roast beef?” I raise my hand. Or, “Penne with chicken and broccoli?” Chrissy raises her hand. Maybe it’s just the type of restaurants we frequent. We don’t spend much time at upscale places that would remember who got what and serve in a specific order.

    As far as the cats, you’ve both seen me enough with cats over the course of my life to know where I stand. Believe me, if/when Chrissy decides to leave me for Dale Jr., there will be a fight over custody and visitation of Buddy.

    Finally, despite last weekend’s little hiccup, I second the motion for a Sixteenth Minute article on the resurgent Skins (who will re-surge again this Sunday!). Hail!


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