Really, Frank Bruni?

Did you have to go and publish a 2,000-word think piece on how, despite striving for gender equality, women in upscale restaurant settings are just … different?

Did you have to trot out hoary assumptions like women are bad tippers? (Not true, it turns out, they just don’t order as much food and booze so they’re tipping on a smaller total check—and, apparently they sit around for hours monopolizing tables.)

Did you have to talk about how all the women who ask you for restaurant recommendations want to make sure the lighting isn’t too harsh? Did you have to dig someone up to give you a quote that “women more often hesitate if the name or look of a dish is too blunt a reminder that they’re biting into an animal.”

Oh, it’s nice that you interviewed women who take the lead in ordering wine and expect the sommelier to present the wine to them, rather to the man who is accompanying them. And we appreciate that you interviewed a progressive restaurant owner who is working (sometimes in vain) toward a more gender-neutral dining room.

But your nut graph says it all:

[R]estaurant owners, managers and servers say that in ways that are often laughably clichéd men and women—viewed as groups, not as individuals—don’t gravitate toward the same dishes, communicate the same priorities or seek the same emotional payoff from dinner out.

Yeah, people when viewed as a group can sure act in certain ways, can’t they? But viewing people as a group as opposed to individuals is what creating stereotypes is all about. And rather than giving us strength in numbers, lumping us all together diminishes everyone.

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