It’s a fact. The gender stereotype that men typically order meat for dinner at restaurants and women order ‘a salad’ is true. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, diners are still ordering primarily along the gender-based line. And this also holds true when it comes to going on dates.
The general manager of one New York City restaurant, that recently added a “From the Grill” section to its meaty menu, told the WSJ that it wanted to cater to calorie-conscious diners, many of whom are women. The restaurant also didn’t want women to feel like they were being high maintenance by making special requests from the kitchen.
Ordering food based on gender-stereotypes specifically holds true on a first date, says Arizona State University psychology professor, Dr. Capaldi Phillips. Perhaps because a woman doesn’t want to be seen as having a big and hearty appetite in today’s image-obsessed society.
Do you ever hear your female friends talking about craving a “hearty” meal or a big T-bone steak with a side of truffle mashed potatoes? Probably not often, if ever. But when a guy is craving such fare, it’s seen as manly and ‘normal’.
Phillips adds that this cultural expectation of diet and gender starts young, with little girls eating more vegetable than little boys. So the more balanced a restaurant is with their menu, the more likely they’ll attract both sexes.
And when it comes to dessert? As imagined, those dishes are typically always created with the women in mind. Even for the ones who say they’re avoiding dessert to “save calories”…mini or lighter portions like sorbet or berries with crème fresh are typically offered on menus just incase the calorie-counter can’t fight the temptation for something sweet. (or wait to get their date home)
Food descriptions also play a huge role in who orders what, as women tend to be drawn to fancier sounding descriptions, says one pastry chef.
While this cliché may hold true, I must admit that I have plenty of girlfriends who would opt for a hamburger over tuna sashimi any day, and plenty of manfriends who could never say no to a cookie or something sweet, whether it’s on date #1 or date #235.
–Ashley M. Papa