Ms. Wilkie was a vegetarian in her teens, and even wore a “Meat Is Murder” T-shirt. But by her 30s, she had started eating cow. By the time she placed the personal ad, she had come to realize that ordering steak on a first date had the potential to sate appetites not only of the stomach but of the heart.Let me number my thoughts:
Red meat sent a message that she was “unpretentious and down to earth and unneurotic,” she said, “that I’m not obsessed with my weight even though I’m thin, and I don’t have any food issues.” She added, “In terms of the burgers, it said I’m a cheap date, low maintenance.”
Salad, it seems, is out. Gusto, medium rare, is in.
Restaurateurs and veterans of the dating scene say that for many women, meat is no longer murder. Instead, meat is strategy. “I’ve been shocked at the number of women actually ordering steak,” said Michael Stillman, vice president of concept development for the Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group, which opened the restaurant Quality Meats in April 2006 on West 58th Street. He said Quality Meats’ contemporary design and menu, including extensive seafood offerings, were designed to attract more women than a traditional steakhouse. “But the meat is appealing to them, much more than what I saw two or three years ago at our other restaurants,” Mr. Stillman said. “They are going for our bone-in sirloin and our cowboy-cut rib steak.”
1. Is one of the "concepts" Mr. Stillman has "developed" getting newspapers to run articles that promote steak restaurants to women? He's already got the steak restaurant designed for women, based on what looks like the longstanding problem of women shunning steak restaurants and thinking men who pick them as the site for a date aren't very considerate.
2. I can attest to the fact that editors have been telling women for decades that men will find them appealing if they eat with "gusto." I'm sure I read this dating advice in Glamour and Mademoiselle back in the 1960s. Don't pick at your food. Demonstrate your joie de vivre and your sexual prowess with enthusiastic cheeseburger gnawing.
3. "Bone-in sirloin and our cowboy-cut rib steak" -- don't forget the bone. Symbolic messaging via steak works best with the bone in.
4. Order the onion rings too. They will drive him mad with passion. That's not in the article. That's just my advice, girls. Women who stress heathy veggies... they're not as womanly as you.
4. Is Stillman related to Dr. Irwin Stillman, author of "The Doctor's Quick Weight Loss Diet," the 1967 book that was all about dieting by eating only protein. You couldn't even eat any starches, any fruits or vegetables -- not even lettuce -- and the only cheese permitted was cottage cheese or farmer's cheese, but you could eat all the fish and meat you wanted. So if you want to go out for a nice dinner, you know where you have to go: a steakhouse.
5. "I’m not obsessed with my weight even though I’m thin" -- I'm sure that's true of Ms. Wilkie, but I'm also sure that's what all the anorexics say.
Back to the article:
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. “It’s better not to have a jalapeño fajita plate, especially on the first date,” said Andrea Bey, 28, who sells video surveillance equipment in Irving, Tex., and describes herself as “curvy.” “You don’t want to be labeled as ‘princess gassy’ on the first date.”Yeah, the fat girls -- you can find them in Texas -- are only worried about farting. The thin girls -- who are not equipment salespersons but editors -- have higher level strategic thinking:
But others, especially those who are thin, say ordering a salad displays an unappealing mousiness.
“It seems wimpy, insipid, childish,” said Michelle Heller, 34, a copy editor at TV Guide. “I don’t want to be considered vapid and uninteresting.”You have to be thin but disguise all the traits that keep you thin. Chomp into that meat -- it's a great way to say you're interesting.
Ordering meat, on the other hand, is a declarative statement, something along the lines of “I am woman, hear me chew.”
In fact, red meat on a date has become such an effective statement of self-acceptance that even a vegetarian like Sloane Crosley, a publicist at Random House, sometimes longs to order a burger."I am woman," indeed.
“Being a vegetarian puts you at a disadvantage,” Ms. Crosley said. “You’re in the most basic category of finicky. Even women who order chicken, it isn’t enough.” She said she has thought of ordering shots of Jägermeister, famous for its frat boy associations, to prove that she is “a guy’s girl.”
“Everyone wants to be the girl who drinks the beer and eats the steak and looks like Kate Hudson,” Ms. Crosley, 28, said.The NYT can't recommend bulimia, but you must be living in some obscure town named Irving if you can't read between the lines there.
Not all red meat, apparently, is equal in the dating world. The mediums of steak and hamburger each send a different message. Dropping into conversation the fact that steaks of Kobe beef come from Wagyu cattle, but that not all steaks sold as Wagyu are Kobe beef, demonstrates one’s worldliness, said Gabriella Gershenson, a dining editor at Time Out New York. It holds the same currency today that being able to name Hemingway’s four wives held in an earlier era.Wagyu. The boys love it when you say Wagyu. Wagyu.
Hamburgers, she added, say you are down-to-earth, which is why women rarely order those deluxe hamburgers priced as high as a porterhouse.The symbolism is complex, no? So the man has something the woman lacks, and there's something about it that will make her want to taste it, and he'll let her. But come on, where's the "expertise" here? The restaurant has hamburgers for men who want hamburgers, but you can't go to this place and not pay full price for the meal, so it's $60. The man is an "expert" at spending money. Now, the "concept development vice president" who gets the editors to repeat this theory, he's got some expertise.
“They’re created for men who want to impress women, so they order the $60 burger, then they let the woman taste it,” Ms. Gershenson said. “The man gets to show off his expertise and show that he can afford it.”
The end of the article gets around to the subject of what women think of a man who wants to eat steak and quotes one woman saying, "It crosses my mind they’ll probably die early." The suggestion is that this is a bad thing: "Gentlemen, be careful. Real men, it seems, must eat kale." Like there aren't women who date rich old guys and think, good, he'll go quickly.