Culture, General

Thoughts on using people to get into restaurants

I’ve not blogged for a while (sorry!), and today I’m going to do something a little different.

I’m NOT going to blog about science*.

Instead, I’m going to write down my feelings on why I don’t particularly think what this lady has been up to, is particularly awesome. And I’m going to be coming from a humanist/feminist perspective. Bear with me - I don’t normally do this, so it’s something of an experiment :)

Firstly, the background.

Young woman, and recent graduate, is broke and decides she wants to eat at nice restaurants rather than subsisting on canned chickpeas**. She makes a list of the 48 top Toronto restaurants she’d like to frequent, and then joins a bunch of dating sites.

The aim? Get chaps to take her there. She would then review the dates and food on her blog, launching her writing career while at the same time filling herself with nominess.

Now, on the surface of that, that actually seems pretty reasonable. I mean, if people are happy with that arrangement, why not? People pay for company and (hopefully) scintillating conversation all the time, in all sorts of ways, and I have absolutely no problem with it.

So what _is_ the problem?

The guys don’t know what the deal is. They think they’re on real dates.

And, adding insult to injury, she has been known to ridicule her dates. According to the interview, no less, for doing such inconspicuous things as “talking too much, too little, opening the door for you, asking about your grandmother, showing you photos of cats, bringing you flowers.”

Who cares?

This is where the humanist/feminist perspective comes in. And why I think this behaviour is pretty uncool***.

First, it takes away the concept of consent. These guys aren’t consenting to what she’s up to. That’s not OK because consent is absolutely critical in any human transaction, and especially in ones in which sex may be involved (or be thought to be potentially involved). No consent Is A Very Bad Thing. And ladies, who most certainly want men to believe strongly in the sanctity of consent, should make very sure they offer the same thing back.

And just because other people are/have been shitty, doesn’t mean it’s OK to be so, too!

Secondly, this is unbelievably good fodder for anti-lady/anti-feminist/MRA (male rights activist) etc groups. Because what they see is yet another lady who’s out to get hers, taking advantage of poor, innocent, naive men along the way. This does nothing to alleviate the very strong feelings of anger and hurt many people feel towards women. Especially young women. And educated women. And strong women, who know who they are and what they want.

Thirdly, it’s just plain mean. I mean, really? Ridiculing people on the internet? Have we learned nothing about how hurtful, damaging and unconstructive that is? Especially when the behaviour ridiculed seems like it’s relatively innocuous****.

Finally? There’s something I find a bit…uncomfortable, I guess, about looking down on the very people you’re using (and being seen in public with) to get something you can’t otherwise. A fundamental disconnect.

So yeah, that’s it. I could go on, but I hope I’ve made my primary points plain.

One final one? At NO point is it OK to be sending her rape/death threats! Seriously, people! NOT OK IN THE SLIGHTEST. It does nothing to the discourse other than damage it and polarise people.

Which, as I’m sure you will agree, and especially when it comes to issues of gender/sexual politics and behaviour, is hurting more people than it’s helping. On ALL sides.

[Update: Slightly different version posted over on, as an experiment]


Most facepalm title for a post? “Who needs a man when I have Buca?”. OH THE IRONY.


Note: well, that was stressful. Shaking slightly. I guess it’s because I find opining at length about other people’s behaviour, especially if they’re women, quite uncomfortable. I don’t want to be unfair, I guess :(


* Although I have a very interesting paper on global livestock stuffses that’s staring at me and daring me to write something :P

** I love them. Especially with some garlic and hotsauce. But nonetheless, let us continue the story.

*** I’m using this term a lot here, I know. Because it gets across that I feel strongly about this, while at the same time not being too harsh a word (in my view).

**** I haven’t read her whole blog in detail - if she ridicules appalling behaviour, that may be different. Although a cogent, considered discussion of why said behaviour was appalling would, to my mind, be better and more constructive.