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Perceptions of dining/service issues: The John Fowles vs. Cyndi Lauper hypothesis

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Not About Food

Perceptions of dining/service issues: The John Fowles vs. Cyndi Lauper hypothesis

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silence9 | | Jun 15, 2007 10:00 AM

Hello... On my local board (Los Angeles), I've noticed an interesting (to me, at least :-) phenomenon, which seemingly appears to be on the rise. When discussing service issues at a given restaurant (often mid-range to higher end places, or trendy eateries with hoppin' bar scenes), a poster (generally male, in my observations) will report an unpleasant and often blatantly abyssmal experience with their waitstaff and/or the chef (as in the case of a sushi bar or a restaurant with an open kitchen). This ineveitably brings on a fair sampling of responders who provide examples of 180-degree experiences at the same establishment. Now here's the interesting bit: I notice that the OP's (complainers) are often male diners and the 180-degree responders (satisfied advocates) are often female. Stay with me here. Previous to this, I'd read many an account on these boards from women who've stated that when out solo as single diners, they tend to get the bad tables, the indifferent service, and the stink-eye from hostesses and waitstaff; in short, the tendency of solo female diners receiving subpar service, all too frequently. BUT, then comes the recent spate of postings that I mentioned above, wherein generally male posters report on poor service and are replied to by generally female posters who state the contrary, i.e. "but the bartender was so helpful and witty" or their server was "gracious and accomodating" or 'the chef was only too happy to provide substitutions", etc... Now, I don't want to even suggest and fan the flames of some gender-based turf war here (truly, I dont!). And I would not even give this passing mention if i didn't see this phenomenon played out so often of late on my local board... So the question I guess that I'm posing is the following: do non-solo female diners (women dining with other women, or with a mixed group of men and women, or with their male/female SOs), merely by virtue of their *possibly* superior natural or acquired skills as social lubricants and communicators, experience better performance from the front and back of the house, as a very broad (no pun intended) generalization? Do the men and women here find that when a woman or women are in your dining party, things go much more smoothly with regard to service issues, generally speaking? The late great author John Fowles (in the novel, The Magus) once wrote that (and I'm paraphrasing): " men see objects, and women see the relationship between objects ", and the reason wars are fought was based on this lack of relationship/object perception by men. Again, a sweeping generalization, but I wonder if this can sometimes or even often account for the situations that i described above. If women have greater skills as social lubricants/communicators in restaurants, can that account for their perception of (and possibly, actually receiving) better service when dining with others? I'm sure I have said things here to unintentionally affront posters for any number of reasons on a multiple of levels -yikes - but I really want to wrap my mind around the discrepancies that seem to play out all too often. The possibility of my being way off here and simultaneoulsy oygen-starved or insane is considerable. But that doesn't elimate the possibility that the hypothesis might have some weight as well. And yes, of course this is the 21st century and not the 1950s ( or 1850s) of which John Fowles so ably wrote. I just wanna know if women perecieve better service because, well, Cyndi Lauper might've been correct ;-) And now, I will duck down very low...

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