Re: The grapes and their peels? I'll be ever so full.

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I wish I could muster such habits.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 6:00 PM
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Me too. In news of people putting odd things in their mouths... A tea bagger on the train I took home tonight was vociferously explaining to the woman across the aisle from her how the gov't is the root of all evil! Good times.


Posted by: turgid jacobian | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 6:10 PM
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I'm guessing my three-year-old eats more than either of his grandmothers.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 6:13 PM
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The older women like that whom I have known were members of the then-highest social strata with which I was conversant and committed, notwithstanding whatever laudable support of progressive politics they may have shared, to standards of behavior as rigid as those of the samurai. There are times when the love of my life this girl I know does something that indicates her inheritance, however small, of these standards, and it always makes me feel exceptionally coarse, like a gorilla in a man suit.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 6:14 PM
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My MIL, who inherited it from her mother, who was apparently batshit strict about rules, no matter how arbitrary.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:05 PM
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My brother's MIL is pretty much like that, which probably helps to explain some of my SIL's peculiarities.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:08 PM
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Hit post too soon. I meant to add that she was not of the upper crust, but desperately wanted to be, so spent her life adhering strictly to an ettiquette derived from magazines and such--likely because she was eager too look down on all the gauche peasants around her. I really would not have gotten along with her very well.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:10 PM
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3: not a lot of meat on grandmothers, and anyhow he'd have to supplement them with some kind of vegetables.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:22 PM
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Don't grapes have skins?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:23 PM
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Is there reliable evidence that they eat this little, and don't just do most of their eating out-of-sight? (Little snacks when no one else is around?) It just seems hard to believe that anyone can function on so little food....

This comes to mind because I eat really slowly, so sometimes when I'm eating with others I don't eat very much because everyone else finishes and is ready to leave and I'm still eating. This happened tonight. Time to get a post-dinner snack to supplement the meal.

Also, it was the sort of big, raucous dinner that normally involves bottles of wine, although this one didn't, but somehow I feel drunk. Brains are weird.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:31 PM
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7: One of my great-grandmothers commissioned a genealogy out of a similar bent. The punchline was that the earliest Flippancestor appears to have been pre-colonial white trash.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:32 PM
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women in their fifties, sixties, and seventies

Women in their 50s?

I've noticed the bird-like eating in (some) women in their 70s and 80s, although my 92-year-old great aunt Hazel can probably eat me under the table, though she's rail-thin. Watching her plow through a western omelette plus home fries and toast, in like 20 minutes, is a trip (she eats too fast, man). She can go to town on meatloaf and mashed potatoes with gravy, too. Plus rolls and butter. She gets upset if I save the second half of my tuna club for later.

Anyway, it doesn't seem hard to chalk the phenomenon up to slower metabolism combined with a desire to remain slim. What are you gonna do? If you're not playing soccer every week, you're not going to feel the need to eat like a horse. That's true.

Yes, some people make a habit of not eating enough.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:33 PM
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exceptionally coarse, like a gorilla in a man suit.

Excellent simile, Flip.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:38 PM
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13: Thanks. A similar one, which I wish I'd remembered:

Despite their wealth, the Flashmans "were never the thing": Flashman quotes the diarist Henry Greville's comment that "the coarse streak showed through, generation after generation, like dung beneath a rosebush."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:40 PM
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There's more than one way to skin a grape.

Also, isn't there some thought, probably not verified, that so-called calorie restriction diets increase life expectancy. I wonder if that's based on a causation/correlation misunderstanding.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:46 PM
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OT: Forgive me, but quick question: what's the best way to store gorgonzola? The paper wrapping + plastic bag I received it in from the deli is getting questionable. Plastic wrap? (no?) wax paper? tupperware? About a 4x4 inch chunk that I'd like to preserve. I'd usually have eaten it by now, I guess.

Not a huge deal, I can come up with something, but if anyone immediately knows, I wouldn't mind hearing.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:46 PM
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A woman who was just starting at my gym kept a food diary that reported similar food intake, plus six Diet Cokes a day. There's a reason you're tired, lady.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:51 PM
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15: the caloric restriction data is pretty well established. Certainly more so than I'd like it to be.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:52 PM
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16: I'm told parchment paper is the best cheese wrapper. It needs to breathe or something.


Posted by: dob | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:55 PM
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16: Wax paper is best for cheese.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:55 PM
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19: Or parchment! But yeah, breathing is key according to the cheese mavens at Artisanal.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:56 PM
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18: I'd rather die young and full than old and hungry.


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:57 PM
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Huh. No dinner for me tonight. I have to think of the future.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 7:59 PM
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Wax paper seems unbreathable. I'm going to make this up, then, with no parchment paper at hand.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:01 PM
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So, if I'm going to cut a hole in a Gutenberg Bible and store cheese in there, I should get one of the vellum ones?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:02 PM
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No, any sort of parchment will do.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:44 PM
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Some Gutenbergs are on paper (or so wikipedia claims).


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:48 PM
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18: I think it's still pretty controversial, certainly when it comes to causation.

Oops, reached the limits of my knowledge.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 8:57 PM
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27: Huh, so it does.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:03 PM
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28: As far as what the causative mechanism is, you mean? Or as to whether caloric restriction causes improved longevity? My understanding is that the former is still quite speculative, but the latter has been known (in model organisms, at least) for better than 60 years.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:30 PM
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30: I think there's a question about what's really going on with the model organisms but, again, hello sifu-ignorance. I could google it, but I'm super, super lazy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:36 PM
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Does the improved longevity hold for humans eating radically below average metabolic rates, like 500 calories a day, as implied in the original post? This would be shocking.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:41 PM
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I don't think anyone's tried to find out.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:44 PM
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I suspect my knowledge of the subject is only marginally more extensive than Sifu's, if that; certainly it doesn't encompass calorie-vs-effect curves. A 500-calorie diet seems obviously very stupid, though. Surely that's down into anorexia bad-hair-and-gums (and general ill health) territory?

I used to know some folks who worked on this, but I've been out of touch with their research for a few years. The most recent thing I've seen on the subject was a piece in the NYT magazine, which bears an unknown relation to the facts.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 9:48 PM
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So you can't tell a good grandma or aunt bird-like eating story to save your lives, eh? Not even a class-based tale of thin-skinned and -haired women crooking their fingers? It's got to be all studies and dubious eyebrows cocked at the hypothetical 500 calories per day, and so on?

What about the grapes, I ask you?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 10:09 PM
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My grandmother never ate much for meals, but she fixed herself small snacks throughout the day.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 10:14 PM
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I've known plenty of older women who ate like this. I don't really have anything more to say about it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 10:15 PM
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My grandmother never ate much for meals, but she fixed herself small snacks throughout the day.

This describes my grandmother's eating habits perfectly. In fact, she proselytized about this diet of hers, insisting that it was far healthier than eating "meals". Those are her scare quotes, by the way. She was ahead of her time, punctuation-wise.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 10:28 PM
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On the anecdotal observations about old people's dining habits front, when I waited tables in college, we used to talk about how much coffee some old people drank, even well into the evening. We also kept a pot of "super-strong" coffee on-hand for the wait staff (brewed by using a double-sized amount of coffee grounds). One time, someone served an older lady like four cups of the high-test brew before realizing. No complaint from the customer though.

(And then I found a nickel, which was a lot back in the day, I tell you what.)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 10:41 PM
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I found $40 a few weeks ago. I was waiting in line at a food place with another student in my program and I swear I saw the bills fall out of the wallet of the person in front of us. We asked around and everyone denied losing it, so we took it and split it.

Also, my grandmother really upped her coffee intake when she quit smoking.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 10:46 PM
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The caloric restriction stuff works, as well as anyone knows, as the result of a cellular level stress response. Starvation, and some other kinds of metabolic stressors which would be even more unpleasant than being hungry all the time (radiation, big pH swings), make your cells say, "holy shit, we're about to starve here" and rethink their protein transcription priorities. Normal nuclear transcription grinds to a halt and transcription-plan-B kicks in, where everybody stops mending the sails, polishing the brass, and working on their tans, and grabs a bucket instead to start bailing water like crazy. As it turns out, transcription Plan B has a lot of salutory effects for cellular resilience in general and wouldn't it be great if we could turn it on without all that stomach grumbling unpleasantness. Triggering the oh-fuck-we're-gonna-die messaging pathway, or alternatively, isolating some of its transcription products, is now the new hotness in treatment strategy development for diseases where specific cell populations are pathological, e.g., midbrain dopaminergic neurons in Parkinson's. So, basically, the caloric restriction data is real, and the mechanisms are in the process of being worked out.

All of which probably has nothing to do with little old ladies who eat like birds. All the ladies I've know like this were legitimately creaky old (not in their 50's) and when they said they didn't need a lot of food to keep running it was pretty easy to believe. They also tended to drink a lot of coffee. I'm skeptical of a class aspect to this phenomenon, because my own grandmother is kind of like this and is neither a high class WASP lady, nor petite (her bosoms alone you'd think would require a constant caloric input to maintain)


Posted by: piminnowcheez | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:13 PM
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Note to self: Don't stop smoking. I already average twelve to sixteen demi-tasses of espresso a day.

My grandmother ate pretty normally pre-Alzheimers, at least for 4-10 woman with little physical activity. Ditto for my grandfather, who also liked to do shots into his early nineties, though he also did a fair amount of hiking and cross country skiing. My mom, now in her mid sixties, has definitely cut down on her calorie intake which is a bit scary given her physical activity, e.g. this summer when I was there she did this and won her age category.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:17 PM
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So who's going to make the obligatory comment about how much birds eat relative to their own weight?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:18 PM
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36: my partner tends to follow that diet, as various complicated Medical Conditions make it easier to eat little and often than proper meals. Bet that's the case for a lot of those old ladies as well.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 11- 5-09 11:54 PM
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24: oops too late, but the insane cheese experts do in fact recommend wax paper and parchment. What you need to avoid is plastic of any sort.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 4:44 AM
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Triggering the oh-fuck-we're-gonna-die messaging pathway,

I love that high-falutin science talk.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 5:47 AM
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I think it's a combination of genuinely decreased calorie need, a greater chance of health problems that make eating difficult or unpleasant (heartburn, any kind of digestive problems), and old age messing with your sense of taste and smell so that the incentive to eat for pleasure isn't there.

(To get all humorless, I do get a little cranky about secondguessing the eating habits of large classes of women. Maybe they do make sense on a case by case basis, rather than old women generally being driven to starve themselves out of vanity.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 5:52 AM
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old age messing with your sense of taste and smell so that the incentive to eat for pleasure isn't there

You know, I can't recall the last time I ate because I was actually hungry. If eating ever stopped being pleasurable, I'd waste away to nothing.

Both of my grandmothers were champion eaters. The one whose diet featured a steady dose of butter, bacon, and half-and-half lived to 88. The other looks good to make 90, though she (with her boyfriend's help) does count calories and hit the gym because of the strain her excess weight was putting on her knees.


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 6:21 AM
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My grandma has "dieted"---in the sense of eating moderately, not in the sense of avoiding food---pretty much all her life. She's about to celebrate her ninetieth birthday. She's still very active, though she naps a good deal more than she used to.

My grandad on the other side slowed way down on his eating as he got into his eighties and nineties, but I reckon that a lot of that was because his teeth hurt and because he wasn't really committed to staying alive. He was shockingly thin towards the end.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 6:48 AM
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What you need to avoid is plastic of any sort.

I respect this advice, yet I can't help but think that it has little to do with actually keeping cheese edible in the (relatively) distant future, and much more to do with keeping it delicious for, like, tomorrow. Cheddar gets at least as moldy, and certainly far more cracked and dried out, wrapped in wax paper as in plastic wrap. If I'm not eating the cheese within 2-3 days, I'm not sure the wax paper is doing what I need.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 6:52 AM
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My mom (who I'm 99% certain didn't have any food or (serious) body image issues) would eat just a half an acorn squash (with butter) for dinner when she was only feeding herself - this is in her 40s. IIRC, she wasn't much of a breakfaster, although she loved luncheonettes (actually, her pattern may have foreshadowed mine: often as not I'll eat nothing or just an English muffin before lunch), but she otherwise ate normally during the day.

Anyway, what I'm getting at is that, while she'd eat a normal dinner with her family, on her own she'd choose a lot less. Some of this was ease (she was a good cook, but didn't take much pleasure from cooking), but I'm thinking that she may simply have been responding to her body's needs, not to eating-as-social-activity. There's no denying that Americans eat more, and more often, than necessary - I wonder if at least some of the group we're discussing are simply eating what they need, not what they have been told to want.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 6:59 AM
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Indeed, thinking more on it, isn't part of our national weight problem that the path of least resistance is fat- and calorie-laden? A mainstream low-motivation eater will end up with 5,000 calories/day eating fast food and convenience foods, whereas a low-motivation eater who avoids those things (most grannies don't keep microwave burritos on hand) will end up with simpler, lower-calorie things (like cottage cheese and canned fruit, or buttered toast) that are easy not to gorge on.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 7:06 AM
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Whoa. Shit is complicated (from the good folks at Artisanal):

For optimal storage, keep your cheeses wrapped in the paper or packaging in which they were delivered. Our paper is specially designed to allow the cheeses to breathe and retain moisture.

The best place to store your cheese is in a cool, damp place such as a wine cellar, larder or wine cabinet, otherwise in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator.

Try to consume your cheeses within days of receiving them so that you can enjoy them at peak flavor, particularly the softer types. If properly stored, most cheeses will last several weeks. As a general rule, aged hard cheeses last longer than softer, fresher types.

Rewrap left over cheese in the paper or packaging it came in and store as aforementioned.

If you have thrown away your paper or packaging or if it has been torn, follow these guidelines:
- Bloomy rind cheeses, tommes and cheeses with harder and drier rinds, wrap only the cut surface in light weight plastic, leaving the rind exposed so the cheese can breathe.
- Blue cheeses should be wrapped securely in foil.
- Washed rind cheeses should be wrapped in wax paper or grease proof paper.
- Small cheeses, a goat's milk crottin, for example, should also be wrapped in wax paper or grease proof paper.
- Soft cheeses store well in waxed paper or sealed containers.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 7:08 AM
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So I am less sure now on how to answer parsi's question. Gorgonzola is both bloomy/rindy and blue.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 7:09 AM
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rather than old women generally being driven to starve themselves out of vanity.

I'm more interested in how the attitudes of the 40's, 50's, and 60's might have shaped older women today. I know it's going to manifest in a million different ways. Many women have shaken it off entirely, post-menopause. But many of my friends' parents (which is why I consider women in their 50s to exhibit this) have not. One this I think is interesting about it is that this group formed these patterns long before any discussion of eating disorders. When I've discussed this before with friends, what we've marvelled at is how many of them use almost cliched ways of avoiding calories: putting fake sweetener in your water, abusing mustard, etc. Things you get told to look for if you're suspicious that a young adult might have an eating disorder.

Again, I think these are habitual patterns, not obsessive patterns, and thus don't actually reflect the degree of anxiety that you get in a young adult with an eating disorder. I still think it's interesting, though.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 7:14 AM
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That may be some of it, but I think JRoth has a good point. I know I eat a whole lot more married than I did single -- I never dieted particularly, but Buck has a metabolism like a blowtorch, and I find I've got a tendency to eat about what he's eating rather than paying close attention to my own appetite. On my own, I had a tendency to eat lots some days and not much at all others, but married it's three solid meals a day regardless.

Is there a possibility that you're looking largely at women actually responding to their own appetites, and it looks meagre because we're Americans?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 7:23 AM
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Not that there's no dieting in that age bracket, of course. But the 'eating half an acorn squash' for dinner thing is something that I might easily do because that's what I wanted, if I wasn't eating with my family and didn't feel pressured not to look as though I were being neurotic about food.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 7:26 AM
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One of my grandmothers, now about 90, used to eat like this, and was rail-thin. It may have been a class thing, but there was definitely some obsessive rule-following involved. More than once her doctor told her to modify her diet in some way (cut out eggs, say), and then six months later tell her that he didn't actually want her to do that 100%, that's just what he told people to get the 50% reduction that was the real goal.

However, since she developed Alzheimer's, she eats more - you can serve her some food, and then ten minutes later, do it again, as she's forgotten eating the first time. She's put on some weight, which at her age is probably a good thing just from the perspective of having padding if she falls.

Also, I don't think that fat, per se, is a dietary problem. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that trying to cut down on fat often has a cure worse than the disease, in that sugar intake usually goes up in compensation, and there's some pretty good evidence that sugar, particularly fructose, is a complete metabolic disaster.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 7:26 AM
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It's more likely that my sample is skewed, because it has come up in conversation with friends who, like me, have parents who are obsessed with their weight. Except that obsession, over time, becomes habitual and less all-consuming. But for my parents, and two friends' parents who I'm reflecting on, it seems to be weight-based.

Quote from my dad, oft-repeated: "The only two times during the day that I'm not ravenous are after my morning coffee and after dinner. I'm still a little hungry then. That's how you know you're not gaining weight."

Granted, we tease him about this.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 7:28 AM
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It may have been a class thing, but there was definitely some obsessive rule-following involved.

My father's mother was like this -- not in a weight related way, or at least she didn't seem to be controlling quantity of food and wasn't particularly skinny (not fat, but not skinny). But there were a million things she couldn't eat for various medical reasons that I always had the impression were vaguely bullshit.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 7:34 AM
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Oh yeah, the obsessive rules thing is interesting.

Paternal grandfather must run two miles every day. He lived in Manhattan. So on rainy days, he had a two-mile path in his apartment. I'm so not kidding. I don't know how they preserved the carpet.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 7:37 AM
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60: CA's mother is like this -- and she is very stolid and Scottish and it isn't at all about dieting or vanity. But what we realized that the things she "couldn't" eat "because of her digestion," were in fact a list of what amounted to little-kid-esque dislikes. I mean, she can eat beans blended, but not whole? Mushrooms cause indigestion? She can't eat a raw tomato, but can eat a cooked one? Once we realized that she was slapping a "medical reason!" label on things that were actually just a matter of taste, it all made so much more sense.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 7:38 AM
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53: None of those categories cover cheddar, do they? That seems weird.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 7:38 AM
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63: cheeses with harder and drier rinds

First category, I think.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 7:40 AM
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I know I eat a whole lot more married than I did single -- I never dieted particularly, but Buck has a metabolism like a blowtorch, and I find I've got a tendency to eat about what he's eating rather than paying close attention to my own appetite.

I've been primarily responsible for both of the women I've lived with gaining a fair amount of weight* - not only matching my portions, but also eating the rich foods that I prepare. Sorry about that, ladies.

* Although, to be catty, BOGF was huge last time I saw her (maybe 5-6 years after I moved out), at least relative to the petite thing she was in her 20s (she's only 5-0)


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 7:43 AM
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62: Some of it may be superstition rather than distaste -- if you get painful bellyaches, it makes sense to blame them on your last meal. But if they aren't actually closely related to what was in that last meal, you're going to identify more and more foods as indigestion triggers. And for my grandmother, I think it was largely control-freak-ism -- she wasn't particularly invested in which things she couldn't eat, so long as there were plenty of them.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 7:43 AM
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64: OK. I was trying to figure out what a cheddar rind would be. Actually, I'm not sure how to apply that advice to a cut piece of cheddar - no rind left, which would suggest wrapping the whole thing in plastic, but then, no breathing. Designate one side as the rind, and leave it exposed?

If I'm on the ball and eating from the cheese every day or so, wax paper works for cheddar, but even 3-4 days will leave a surface suitable only for grating/melting.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 7:46 AM
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but also eating the rich foods that I prepare.

Yep. I'm kind of pleased about Sally's announced vegetarianism in the hopes that it will pull the center of gravity of family meals away from Giant Slabs Of Meat. And I love rich food -- meat, cheese, cream -- I'd just be happier with two meals like that a week, and something a little less heavy the rest of the time.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 7:48 AM
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67: Yeah, I was wondering the same thing. Interestingly, on their website, the pic of cheddar definitely has a rind side -- sort of like a gruyere's p√Ęte cuite. I would vote with the "name one side rind" scheme.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 7:50 AM
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center of gravity of family meals away from Giant Slabs Of Meat

We only have meat at home 2-3 times a week (my fast food lunches are another matter). Our family diet is mostly pasta-based.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 7:50 AM
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Someone in their 60s knows how much they need to eat -- it's worked for them so far.

I notice I need to eat much less than in my 20s today, partly because of metabolism and partly because of less exercise. But since I was starting from such a piggish level it just means I eat more like a normal human being.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 7:56 AM
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69: Often one of my two veggie meals/week is pasta with vegetables (asparagus is awesome for this; greens, too) or tomatoes (not just marinara; vodka (not too much cream) or diced tomatoes). A benefit being that you can make it as sophisticated as you want for your palate, and if the kids complain just give 'em plain with butter & cheese.

I know this is kind of obvious, but it's made things a bit less stressful to have 1 easy meal/week that reliably pleases everyone.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 8:00 AM
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I'm very dubious about all prescriptions around food. I know plenty of rail-thin people who eat fast food for lunch and steakhouse dinners at night. The only time I've ever lost serious amounts of weight was when my diet consisted almost entirely of carbohydrates -- spaghetti, pancakes, apples, Kool-Aid, ginger ale and onion rings. I posit that weight loss and gain is 60% due to people's particular metabolism, 30% due to amount of exercise and only 10% based on what food they eat.

Having said that, the miserly way that some people live in their old age -- not just w/r/t food -- is bizarre to me. Live a little, forchrissakes!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 8:04 AM
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69: Alright, I should be getting a fresh chunk of cheddar on Monday; I'll try it and let you know.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 8:05 AM
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As a depressed loner bachelor who finds modern foodies kind of intimidating and obsessive doesn't particularly enjoy cooking and whose family history is rich in heart disease, I eat a lot of protein bars.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 8:06 AM
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It's usually interesting for me, when I get heated about a post or a comment here, to figure out why it's making me defensive.

This one set me off, and I think it's because I feel a lot of pressure in different directions about my eating habits.

I've never been a dieter; I was skinny until I had kids, and I'm not particularly heavy now, and I always ate a lot, without consciously paying attention to or controlling what I ate. And I have a fair amount of emotional investment in not being neurotic about food or about my weight (oh, I'm a little neurotic about my weight, but it doesn't keep me up nights) for feminist reasons --if I let my weight or my food intake bother me, Teh Patriarchy has won.

OTOH, I buy the Mark Bittman 'we should all be eating a mostly plant-based, mostly whole-foods diet', not eating mindlessly, and so on, argument, and particularly buy that it's important to model that sort of eating for children. But in a busy life, and particularly one where I don't do most of the cooking and shopping, getting to that kind of diet involves being almost exactly the kind of control freak about what we're eating that makes me feel like a neurotic dieter.

Where this comes out is that I eat fairly mindlessly, and a very meat/dairy intensive diet -- the combination of being lazy and feeling very strongly negative about being controlling about food. But that leaves me eating unhealthily, feeding the kids a less than optimal diet, and generally displeased about the situation.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 8:11 AM
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I'm eating carrots dipped in lime pickle, and they are frikkin' awesome. Then I'ma gonna have me some protein. More awesome!


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 8:13 AM
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And to finish that off, the post made me defensive because I saw it imposing exactly the pressure that makes it hard for me to change my diet to something healthier and more plant-based -- looking at women who are eating in any way that appears thoughtful or controlled, and identifying them as eatining disordered.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 8:15 AM
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LB, the thing about optimal diets is there are so many to choose from! You're just doing Atkins or somethin'.

To some extent not being controlling about food is wack. It is one of the primary inputs to your body. Why wouldn't you pay attention to it?


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 8:20 AM
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It's a gender thing. Being thoughtful about what you eat is sane and reasonable. If you're a woman, though, any evidence of thought looks as if you're being screwy about your weight and starving yourself.

I'm overstating the pressure, if I weren't so neurotic it wouldn't bother me, but it's definitely something I feel. And it's not all in my head -- if I eat what I want rather than a serving comparable to what the biggest, hungriest person at the table eats, I'll often get comments about it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 8:26 AM
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looking at women who are eating in any way that appears thoughtful or controlled, and identifying them as eatining disordered.

Or of course the implication can be drawn that women who aren't madly fastidious are greedy out-of-control gluttons. Which do you want to be? You have to pick one.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 8:27 AM
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78: right, I got that vibe too a little. Don't see why their has to be so much judgementalism around this...it's like sex...peoples' anxieties about their own actions get projected outward onto others who act differently.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 8:28 AM
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omigod! The inference! Or the implication can be understood! One or the other!


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 8:28 AM
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We've talked about this here before I am sure, but this dynamic is nowhere clearer than "the food at the office" scenario. Women (by and large), even women who are still hungry, don't want to be the first to go for seconds of that office pizza or cupcakes or whatever. So the men eat it all.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 8:35 AM
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A notionally external code of conduct both removes any need for introspection and justifies disdain for others.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 8:39 AM
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85: That's a relief. Now all I have to do is decide if I'm going to pull a notionally external code of conduct from the shelf or maybe tinker a bit to get my own.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 8:41 AM
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If abusing mustard is wrong, I don't want to be right.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 8:41 AM
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It's a gender thing. Being thoughtful about what you eat is sane and reasonable. If you're a woman, though, any evidence of thought looks as if you're being screwy about your weight and starving yourself.

Exactly. Demonstrate thoughtfulness about "eating healthy" and you get "omigosh, don't tell me you are on a diet!" Order the bacon double cheesburger, fries and a chocolate shake and you get "omigosh how do you stay so skinny I wish I could eat like that." It's sort of stunning when you realize how much attention people pay to what you eat.

(One of the strikes against the nice man who didn't move on to the lightning round: we ordered pizza and rented a movie one evening and after I'd had maybe two slices he wrapped the "leftovers" up and put them in the fridge. Uh, hon, I typically just finish the whole thing... )


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 8:42 AM
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87: I put mustard on french fries. (Potentially relevant to the topic: I got the habit from my mother, who does not eat much.)


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 8:44 AM
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One of the strikes against the nice man who didn't move on to the lightning round: we ordered pizza and rented a movie one evening and after I'd had maybe two slices he wrapped the "leftovers" up and put them in the fridge. Uh, hon, I typically just finish the whole thing... )

He didn't ask you if you were done? That's just rude.



Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 8:47 AM
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88: Yeah, the pressure's in both directions. It only bothers me one way -- I'm very, very comfortable thinking "Wow, you're an asshole" to anyone saying something implying I'm eating too much, so comments in that direction don't bother me. Comments in the other direction get under my skin, though.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 8:48 AM
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One of the strikes against the nice man who didn't move on to the lightning round: we ordered pizza and rented a movie one evening and after I'd had maybe two slices he wrapped the "leftovers" up and put them in the fridge. Uh, hon, I typically just finish the whole thing... )

He didn't ask you if you were done? That's just rude.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 8:48 AM
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Mustard is notionally delicious.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 8:49 AM
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Someone totally pwned you, peep.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 8:49 AM
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I totally agree with Napoli Tanno in 73, however, about the ineffectiveness of prescriptions around food.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 8:49 AM
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Mustard is best and that's what I put on my fries. Ketchup is an abomination.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 8:51 AM
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I remember one time when my mom and I shared a piece of cake, not even a particularly large one, at a restaurant and over the course of our conversation, finished it. The waiter made a point of coming by and saying, "Wow, you must have really enjoyed that cake. You ate every bite!" Come to think of it, this has happened often when sharing cake with other ladies. Is it so shocking to waiters that two grown women sharing a piece of cake might actually eat an entire piece between them? Are we supposed to pick at it listlessly and insist it's so enormous no two human beings could finish it?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 8:52 AM
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Ineffectiveness for weight loss, sure. But there's a lot to what you eat other than managing your weight.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 8:52 AM
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If abusing mustard is wrong, I don't want to be right.

You don't ever have to be right, Megan.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 8:55 AM
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94: I autopwn.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 8:55 AM
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Re: food prescriptions. I think diets that are organized around shifting your eating to certain kinds calories will vary in effectiveness for a lot of different reasons. However, taking in less calories than you burn is always going to lead to weight loss. The problem with calorie limitation is just that it is generally a moving target (your metabolism will adjust to your new intake level), and it can be unpleasant to sustain (i.e., less energy, feeling hungry, etc.).


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 8:58 AM
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Come to think of it, this has happened often when sharing cake with other ladies.

Well, if you were actually ladies, you would never eat the whole piece of cake.

Just kidding! I don't know -- maybe you're supposed to offer the waiter a bite?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 8:59 AM
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98 - Oh, yes. But generally the prescriptions are around losing weight, right?

I definitely feel like I want to project that I eat more than I actually do. I tend to save eating meals for public situations, and just snack if I'm by myself.

In other words, I suspect that I neurotically limit my intake and I don't want to be accused of this. In other words, I see myself in the post, to a degree.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 8:59 AM
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I was talking to my Dad (65) whose health isn't great, and he says that he doesn't cook much anymore; he mostly eats sandwiches and things. He doesn't feel well most of the time (something's off in his blood among other things), so he doesn't have the energy to cook, but he also told me that he doesn't taste much.

He can't really appreciate good coffee. He knows bad coffee and doesn't like it, but beyond that he can't differentiate much. He said that he had some strawberries this summer that he couldn't really taste. I said that I thought that that was probably the strawberry's fault and not his, but he maintained that they were Maine berries, not from California.

I still think that even "locally grown" peaches aren't as ripe as they used to be in the summer, and I don't think that the berry crop was very good this year with all of the rain.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:00 AM
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Are you hungry when you're just snacking? If you're not, then you're eating enough and should lay off yourself.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:01 AM
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I once finished a piece of cake off someone else's table.

Relevant facts: It was a coffeehouse, and the person (a male iirc) just left the better part of a pretty damned good "Death by Chocolate"-style cake, and I was in college.

I have learned that the "Clean Plate Club" is a really pernicious idea, but I still find the idea of just leaving half a plate of food behind to be somewhere between crazy and offensive. The thing where Europeans don't get doggie bags just baffles me. Sure, the portions may be somewhat smaller, but waste is waste.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:01 AM
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104 gets it right.

I certainly didn't eat much when my taste buds weren't working, during an extended flu incident.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:01 AM
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I don't know -- maybe you're supposed to offer the waiter a bite?

Please, someone, use this line next time a waiter says this to you! "Oh, I'm sorry, were you hoping for a bite?" Put that fucker right in his place.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:02 AM
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I still find the idea of just leaving half a plate of food behind to be somewhere between crazy and offensive. The thing where Europeans don't get doggie bags just baffles me. Sure, the portions may be somewhat smaller, but waste is waste.

What are the odds that the amount of food the waiter brings you is exactly the amount of food that you need at that particular time?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:02 AM
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I'm sorry, I don't know why I was exclaiming there. I guess I was just so excited by the idea!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:03 AM
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Actually 109 is agreeing with 106, I just wanted an excuse to use that aphorism.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:03 AM
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109: It's the leaving behind, not the failing to eat in one sitting. And I certainly understand people not wanting to save a few bites. But I see literally half a steak being carted away to be thrown out - that's just not right (I should note that I originally came to environmentalism from a hatred of resource waste).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:05 AM
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111: That's a very subtle form of agreement, Ned.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:06 AM
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105: Yeah, no I'm not hungry. Or if I mismanage my hunger, it's due to time constraints and not dieting.

I suppose all I mean is that I'm conscious of my public portrayal of how much I eat, and not wanting to be accused of barely eating.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:07 AM
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97: It's an almost legendary family story now, but one time (pre-Rory) ÜNG and I went to dinner with my parents and split the tiramisu for desert. I took a bite, turned to talk to my mom for what was either half a second or half an hour and when I turned back the whole thing was gone! (He actually brought this story up recently when I had dinner with him and the girlfriend at a thing for Rory. The girlfriend quickly noted that she learned to defend her food long before she met him. I very impressively stifled the urge to give her the once over and say, "Well, obviously.")

Clearly, the pattern here is that I just cannot be with a man who comes between me and my food.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:08 AM
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I suppose all I mean is that I'm conscious of my public portrayal of how much I eat, and not wanting to be accused of barely eating.

To keep on jumping all over you then, laying off older women who you don't think eat enough might be a good place to start. You're handing out the same shit you're afraid of having directed at you. (And of course, you might be right about any particular woman you're talking about -- it's the generalization that gets to me, because it's a class of shit that I'm afraid of myself.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:10 AM
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Not sharing the same neuroses as the people you're communicating with is really frustrating.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:12 AM
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with a man who comes between me and my food

You'll just have to accept that as one of the hazards of eating in bed, I'm afraid. Or of getting busy in the dining room.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:12 AM
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The waiter made a point of coming by and saying, "Wow, you must have really enjoyed that cake. You ate every bite!"

Agghghghghghghghghgh.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:13 AM
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The thing where Europeans don't get doggie bags just baffles me.

My ex-FIL was absolutely mortified the first time we took him to dinner here and requested a doggie bag. Such barbarians! (He also spent most of the meal bitching about the portions being too big.)


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:13 AM
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Clearly, the pattern here is that I just cannot be with a man who comes between me and my food.

Your veldt instincts won't let you! They know the role of a man is to provide the food.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:13 AM
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The waiter made a point of coming by and saying, "Wow, you must have really enjoyed that cake. You ate every bite!"

I see this as more part of the faux-conspiratorial "MAY I TEMPT YOU WITH SOME DECADENT SINFUL DELIGHTS?" than anything else.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:14 AM
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"Wow, you must have really enjoyed that cake. You ate every bite!"

It sucked, but I have a bet going.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:16 AM
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Roses are red.
Violets are blue.
Like most things of cardboard,
your cake totally blew.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:17 AM
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To keep on jumping all over you then, laying off older women who you don't think eat enough might be a good place to start. You're handing out the same shit you're afraid of having directed at you.

Eh, my fear of being judged is not very big. I was just musing because everyone else was doing it. So I'm okay with still being judgemental.

The reason it was a generalization post and not a specific "here's people in my life and the strange things they do" was because I'm finding it hard to write negatively about my mom. In other contexts, I would have said, "Look what my coworker does" and shied away from generalizations.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:18 AM
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I see this as more part of the faux-conspiratorial "MAY I TEMPT YOU WITH SOME DECADENT SINFUL DELIGHTS?" than anything else.

I also really loathe the rhetoric of sin around desserts. Fuck off (not you, whoever is pushing that line at any given time), it doesn't have to be "sinful" or a "guilty pleasure" or a "temptation," it can just be tasty food.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:18 AM
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(He also spent most of the meal bitching about the portions being too big.)

I must say, I've eaten a fair amount in Europe, and I don't actually find the portions to be strikingly smaller. Some of this may come from the fact that over here I eat more often (at least relative to the median American) at fancy places with small portions and less often at feeding trough-type places.

I think Italian places in the US are worst for portions, and I've never eaten in Italy, so there's that.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:21 AM
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127: To be fair, we had taken him to a steak house -- potatoes the size of you r head, etc.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:22 AM
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If we're kicking the tires on the judgemental bandwagon, I would be less concerned about how much old women eat and more concerned about how much muscle they have. (The two are correlated, but which is the causation?!) The typical (and largely reversible) atrophy that seniors experience is generally a very bad thing for their quality of life. I bet grandma would eat more if she was squatting 3xweek.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:22 AM
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I'm finding it hard to write negatively about my mom

Start with the classics, heebs. "My mom is so fat...." Baby steps.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:22 AM
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122: Yeah, I think that's right. I've definitely gotten from waiters and female dinner companions alike that "Oh ho, you are SO BAD! You ordered an entire meal! And then ate it!" shit. I think it's supposed to come across like I'm some kind of inspirational satanist-feminist influence.

Once, I was out with a boy I wasn't dating yet and ordered a veggie burger I didn't finish, and we ended up hooking up later that night. Later in our relationship, he said he knew I was interested in him because I didn't eat my whole meal. It was so obnoxious, because (a) it wasn't obvious from my, like, explicitly flirtatious behavior? and (b) from then on, I wondered what he thought if I was hungry when I ate dinner. I didn't like him anymore?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:23 AM
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I bet grandma would eat more if she was squatting 3xweek.

I bet she'd be very upset if you installed a turkish toilet.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:24 AM
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128: Oh yeah, that'll do it. Actually, this weekend I'll be in NJ, and I'm thinking of suggesting this place that basically has 2 menu items: a 24 oz. steak and a 48 oz. steak. Haven't been since HS or maybe college. The best part is actually the potatoes on the side - sort of a chunky, home fries-like thing with redskins.

Oh, speaking of which - a meetup won't work, given our schedule and how long we can leave the kids with my dad and his childless GF. Sorry, teo.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:25 AM
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Eh, my fear of being judged is not very big. I was just musing because everyone else was doing it. So I'm okay with still being judgemental.

I may not be communicating clearly here. While you may be fine with being judgmental, I really wish you wouldn't be. Where it's perfectly plausible that you're looking at women who, like you or me, find themselves eating what looks like a minimal amount even when it's what their appetites are actually calling for, coming up with a narrative about how their eating habits are evidence of some kind of disfunction is both very common and really kind of shitty. People talking like you did in the post make me unhappy, and fuck with my ability to eat what I want to. And I like and respect you, so it really bothers me that you're one of the people who'd be judging me if you saw me eating what I want.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:25 AM
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Your momma is so fat, JRoth, I hear when she goes to a restaurant she just looks at the menu and says "ok".


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:26 AM
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he knew I was interested in him because I didn't eat my whole meal.

Ick.

Also, that strikes me as the kind of lore that gets passed on by hook-up artists - double ick.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:27 AM
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My mother's dead, W. Breeze.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:28 AM
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I'm sorry, that was meant to be funny. It's true, yet it was a joke. Get it?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:28 AM
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In my circles, the food asceticism mostly comes in the form of cutting out a type of food (sugar, dairy, wheat), which I succumb to too sometimes.

Mostly I think that people latch on to rules about food very strongly. I think food rules (of any sort) satisfy OCD-like desires for cleanliness or purity (see also "kosher"). I don't think there's any bottom; people who need food rules will find ever stricter ones. The justification varies (thinness, organic, religious, allergies), but basically, I think it is a quirk of humans.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:28 AM
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When I encounter the eat-like-a-bird phenomenon, I wonder, neurotically, if I too will have to subsist on a mere four hundred calories a day when I get old. I like food!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:29 AM
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I see this as more part of the faux-conspiratorial "MAY I TEMPT YOU WITH SOME DECADENT SINFUL DELIGHTS?" than anything else.

I hate that rubbish (the leaning-down to smirk over the dessert menus, not the desserts themselves) with a passion. Chivalry Sexism keeps me smiling politely when waitresses do it, but a waiter who tries to run that game becomes my enemy.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:33 AM
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134 cont.: That is, judging people for not eating enough isn't the opposite of judging them for eating to much, it's the same thing. If one's bad, the other's bad.

If you're really personally involved with someone, to the point where you can know that they're injuring themselves by eating too much or not enough, it might possibly be your concern. But short of actual knowlege that someone's injuring their health, for the very small category of people for whom their health really is your business, everyone should back the hell off policing other people's diets.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:33 AM
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it doesn't have to be "sinful"

All our desserts are drizzled with blood drained from the finest imported Iraqi babies, slaughtered fresh this morning.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:33 AM
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136: Possibly. But I think it's also deeply woven into the history of heterosexual relationships that female desire has to be read into symbolic or neurotic behaviors, not into what they explicitly say or what they do. It's probably the most highly irritating thing about dating for me.

But I think that instead of gradual equalization between the sexes resulting in more explicit honesty, it can also result in the spreading of those neurotic behaviors. Again, this is just my very limited experience, but easily most of the guys I've dated have been really concerned about whether they're good-looking enough--not just well-dressed or classy or whatever, but whether they have handsome faces, thin/muscular bodies, clear skin, good hair. And I'm a bad partner for them because I don't pick up on their hints that they need to be complimented or reassured.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:34 AM
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...everyone should back the hell off policing other people's diets.

This proposal would have a deleterious effect on the Internet's thriving "dam girl go et a sammich" comment industry. Please consider adding a safe harbor.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:35 AM
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I don't know what to tell you, LB. I don't think my post is as destructive as you're painting it.

It says in the post that it's a very hard thing to notice about someone else, and I've only noticed it when I've spent time basically living with someone else. So this:

so it really bothers me that you're one of the people who'd be judging me if you saw me eating what I want.

is not warranted from what I've written.

I also tried to give a wide berth of possibilities and not describe the disfunction narrative that you accuse me of. I even said that I didn't think it was an eating disorder, and more just a habit stretched over decades.

coming up with a narrative about how their eating habits are evidence of some kind of disfunction is both very common and really kind of shitty.

So while this is common and shitty, I don't think I did anything too awful here.

Is the topic just too laden with problems to be broached? That doesn't seem like any approach Unfogged has ever taken, before.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:35 AM
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No no, RFTS. W. Breeze has it right. You don't ever have to eat 400 Calories a day. You can always lift heavy, so your metabolism stays revved.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:35 AM
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129: Yeah, my mother, at almost 70, eats like a horse and is mildly fattish, but plays a whole lot of tennis and lifts weights. (I had to nag her a lot to get her to put down the stupid pink weights and start lifting reasonable amounts, but she's doing it.) I'm much happier about her health than I would be if she were frail.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:36 AM
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(Further to 144, this good-looking-boy neurosis is possibly more common in NYC and other fashiony cities? I don't remember dealing with that in Cleveland boys.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:37 AM
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146: Well, what set off the hostility in my last few was "So I'm okay with still being judgemental." What are you judging these women for, and why is it your business?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:38 AM
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That is, judging people for not eating enough isn't the opposite of judging them for eating to much, it's the same thing. If one's bad, the other's bad.

Fair enough. And it's probably impossible to bring it up without it being normative. So the post is probably a bad idea. But I still don't think it's that bad, just mildly bad but mildly interesting, too.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:39 AM
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149: Isn't the manifestation of such anxieties in men sort of working proof of some tenet or other of feminism about how bad consumerist capitalism is for everybody? Or something like that.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:39 AM
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what set off the hostility in my last few was "So I'm okay with still being judgemental."

No, you were set off before that. Because I was definitly being snotty responding to the previous comment.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:40 AM
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mildly bad but mildly interesting

Mouseover?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:40 AM
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Also, I'm judgemental. About everything. It may not always be a good idea to say it outloud and honor it. But I am judgemental.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:41 AM
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(Further to 144, this good-looking-boy neurosis is possibly more common in NYC and other fashiony cities? I don't remember dealing with that in Cleveland boys.)

It occurred to me recently that I am almost never attracted to "good-looking-boys". I can appreciate a handsome man aesthetically, but the guys who've typically gotten my blood to boil have been aesthetically more quirky than attractive. And I think they've generally been as aware of that as I am.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:43 AM
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Further to 156, in light of 152: because I'm a feminist.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:44 AM
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153: Sure, I copped to being defensive way back in 76, and explained why.

But you still haven't said what you're judging people for, and why you're entitled. I'll judge people left and right if I think they're doing something wrong, and I don't mind when other people do the same. Here, I'm not seeing the offense these women are committing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:44 AM
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155 probably wasn't very helpful.

I have a pet peeve with people not speaking their mind. This is in a large part due to the repressive civility of the places I've lived. I get irritated when people won't say what they're thinking. None of that is particularly relevant here, but that's where 155 came from.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:44 AM
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152: Yes, absolutely. No one makes any money off it if people stop hating themselves. I've been amazed at how much happier I am with myself after I stopped watching TV casually. Now when I do, it seems like every commercial, every show, every news report is all about how women are fat, sick, easy to rape, ugly, stupid, slutty (or prudish), fearful, vain, blah blah blah. The stuff about men isn't much better. They have to worry about whether they turn into fags every time they eat a vegetable.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:45 AM
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160 is shrill, and of course human beings are more resilient than we the representations of us on TV. But I think I used to feel like it was worthwhile to play along and pretend to hate myself in the same ways women on TV do just to communicate better with others. Now I just don't have the energy for that shit.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:48 AM
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But you still haven't said what you're judging people for, and why you're entitled.

Oh, I don't know. Part of me believes that I was dissecting and analyzing without really caring whether it was a sin or not. It's kind of similar to aborting the Down's syndrome babies. I'm fascinated that people do it, but I'm really not judging anyone on whether or not they do. But I'm super curious about their thought processes.

Maybe I'm kidding myself that I can be fascinated without judging.

If I had to fish for a crime, it would be that certain people have not thought critically about how their attitudes about food would be passed down to their children. But that's really not anywhere in the post or what I was thinking about.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:50 AM
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I have a pet peeve with people not speaking their mind.

Perhaps quixotically, I much prefer the secretive and the quiet to the "refreshingly frank"/"classic blunt urban 'character' "/"Runyonesque wiseacre"/"disdains the gentility of suffocating social stereotypes" population.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:50 AM
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163: Boy, would you love Texas, then.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:52 AM
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I don't think there's any bottom; people who need food rules will find ever stricter ones.

This makes me think of a song they were playing on WMBR yesterday, "Allergic to Everything":

Ever since we moved next door to that factory,
Ever since they sprayed our street for bugs,
Ever since I took those antibiotics,
Ever since we bought that [something] rug...

All sung in a whiny drone. It was great.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:52 AM
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163: Me to. Except for the wiseacre part.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:53 AM
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163 and 164 are making me homesick. Granted, this is something that I've been prone to lately.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 9:56 AM
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I can certainly think of lots of obnoxious people that would be described by 163. I don't like them because they're obnoxious, not because they're blunt.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 10:02 AM
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164: I've always lived in Massachusetts or Manhattan. Wouldn't that make it legal to hunt me for sport in Texas?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 10:02 AM
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169: People would say idiotic things to you like "I bet you've never been in a pick-up truck before" or "I bet you've never been camping before" and you would suspect that they shield you from their more offensively racist/sexist/homophobic jokes. Or at least that's how I get treated.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 10:03 AM
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170: "I sell homophobic jokes and homophobic joke accessories, I tell you what."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 10:09 AM
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"MAY I TEMPT YOU WITH SOME DECADENT SINFUL DELIGHTS?"

No, and please pull your pants back up.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 10:11 AM
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I'm fascinated that people do it, but I'm really not judging anyone on whether or not they do.

We're good, then, or at least I'm good. Sorry for being hostile above -- I'm not as upset as I think I sounded, I just didn't seem to be communicating clearly until I turned it up a notch.

Mostly, I'd figure that someone at a healthy-looking weight with a healthy-seeming energy level is probably eating what suits them. Someone starved looking or listless might have an eating problem but other than that, someone who wants a half piece of toast probably just wants a half piece of toast.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 10:12 AM
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I don't like them because they're obnoxious, not because they're blunt.

I lean toward thinking that blunt and obnoxious aren't always clearly distinguishable.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 10:13 AM
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172: Ha! This reminds me of what happens when I teach Decadent literature and the most "decadent" thing my students can come up with is, like, eating a really big piece of cake all by yourself and then not even going to gym right after!!!! I'm all, dudes, you need to get out more.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 10:16 AM
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174: Especially when you mix across cultural backgrounds and geographic regions.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 10:17 AM
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I just clicked over to Facebook, where the top post in my Live Feed was a woman updating "Oh cupcakes, why do you tempt me so?" There was only one comment: "You could have 1/2!"


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 10:18 AM
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175: I actually know someone who believed for decades that "decadent" meant something like "delicious," because the main context you see it in is a dessert menu.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 10:21 AM
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As a kid, I thought 'haunted' was an architectural term, describing a kind of house with dormer windows and a gable roof -- pictures of 'haunted' houses always looked like that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 10:25 AM
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97: "Wow, you must have really enjoyed that cake. You ate every bite!"

I usually get this: Waiter (after seeing my plate is clean): "Gosh, too bad you didn't like it!"


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 10:25 AM
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178: Decadent literature Delicious Vinyl


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 10:26 AM
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175: Wasn't there an article that said that for young people today sex is just an innocent fun activity, but eating is fraught with the possiblity of danger and sin?

Something like that, anyway....


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 10:26 AM
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the most "decadent" thing my students can come up with is, like, eating a really big piece of cake

Wow. Talk about thinking small. Opium-fueled orgies with high school students for the win.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 10:27 AM
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179: I was in my thirties before I found out that "collard" doesn't refer to how the greens were cooked. I just thought if you fried up any leafy green vegetable in a southern- cooking sort of way they were "collared" greens.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 10:29 AM
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Wasn't there an article that said that for young people today sex is just an innocent fun activity, but eating is fraught with the possiblity of danger and sin?

A lot of wealthy secular students definitely think this way. I also believe that on one level they are right.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 10:31 AM
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179 is adorable.

180: Ugh. What are you supposed to say to shit like that?

Once my mom asked a waited about a portion size, like is this the sort of thing that makes a meal on its own for someone not starvingly hungry, and the waiter said, "Oh, I think it'll fill you up." Then when I ordered something, he went ahead and added, "Yeah, that oughta fill you up." Oh, just a relative comparison between portion sizes will do, rather than speculation about the volume of my organs.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 10:33 AM
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It goes without saying that he returned to the table later to ask each of us, "Did that [dish] fill you up?" I'm sure every time he used that phrase I visibly grimaced.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 10:36 AM
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What are you supposed to say to shit like that?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 10:37 AM
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"Yeah, it is. Could you take it off the bill for me?"


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 10:37 AM
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In the normal course of things, I am of course inclined to give waiters etc. a break on customer service interactions, unless they are openly rude. It's definitely class-marked though. 'Member how Barbara Ehrenreich talks about the secret economy of extra helpings dished up by working-class women to working-class customers at diners in "Nickel & Dimed"? It's sort of the opposite when you go into a tony place. Like when they push diet cola on you, or "forget" your appetizer if they think you're not the right size for their fancy restaurant.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 10:38 AM
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When Europeans first encountered the Pacific Island cultures, the thing they found most striking was that the women were ready to have sex any time, but if offered food they would run away. Are we headed in that direction?


Posted by: y | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 10:48 AM
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191: Lets hope so.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 10:50 AM
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I usually attribute poor table service to misguided management. I tend to love diner service in which it's clear the staff are just doing their own thing, whether it's naturally friendly or standoffish. And excellent upscale service is nice because they know how to be at the table only when you want them to be. But in the murky middle, there seem to be a lot of restaurant managers training repulsive behaviors into their waitstaff, based on some experimental understanding of human nature crafted out of an unholy mixture of evolutionary psychology and pick-up artistry.

When I worked at an upscale spa, a "sales psychologist" came in to train us about how to manipulate people into buying shit, and it was all this same crap--you subtly undermine people, make them feel cheap or ugly, and then offer them the solution to their problems. I can't bear to go to beauty spas anymore because they immediately start this routine and it disgusts me.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 10:52 AM
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They have to worry about whether they turn into fags every time they eat a vegetable.

I make up for this by only eating uncooked vegetables. That's right, motherfucker - I'll take mine raw.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 10:53 AM
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193: Yeah, same with bars. I like bartenders who don't take any shit from anybody, and are happy to let you know it, and who understand that the reason you're there is to have a drink and have fun and not be groveled to or simpered over or ignored. If more waiters could be like that, going out to eat would be a lot more fun.

Alright, gotta go count some ballots.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 10:56 AM
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'haunted' was an architectural term, describing a kind of house with dormer windows and a gable roof

Surely you mean "mansard roof"? And surely you should know that, given your pedigree?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 10:57 AM
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On the topic of restaurant service, this seems likely to provoke some discussion. I'm in favor of nearly every point, although some of them are too fancy for me to expect at most places.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 10:57 AM
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196: I do mean mansard roof, and am ashamed of myself, and glad that Dad doesn't read this.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 10:59 AM
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It's sort of the opposite when you go into a tony place. Like when they push diet cola on you, or "forget" your appetizer if they think you're not the right size for their fancy restaurant.

Wait, what?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 10:59 AM
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We also learned that the customers we should ignore and not encourage to return were what they called "gift certificate people"--those who were coming to get a massage or body scrub as a treat because they enjoyed doing it.

They said the quickest way to identify people who don't have serious money was that they were there to enjoy themselves, and in the spa break room, they'd take bets about which group of ladies would pay with a gift certificate, based on the justifications they gave for being there.

Really wealthy people, who would pay with money and come back again and again, who could be talked into buying wildly expensive products, were always the ones who acted like getting a body or face treatment was this horrible chore they had to undergo for the sake of their health.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 11:02 AM
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54: Gorgonzola is more blue than bloomyrinded: foil is the correct answer.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 11:03 AM
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197: I enjoyed reading that too. I get that some of those things may be too demanding, but incorporating some of them into even modest restaurant service would make it more tolerable. (Please do not say AWESOME! after each person orders. Please do not fucking touch me. Please do not be invasive about my eating habits or evening plans. I'm looking at you, ostensibly-upscale Franny's.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 11:05 AM
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200: I love businesses who target only those people who would not benefit from or enjoy their service.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 11:05 AM
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On the topic of restaurant service, this seems likely to provoke some discussion.

I like that list, not so much as a list of expectations but as something that gives me a sense, as a customer, of what it it legitimate for me to ask for if I care.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 11:08 AM
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197: I disagreed with a lot of that! Or agreed only in a heavily qualified fashion. (Well, ok, I read it days ago -- let me see again if it is really "a lot," but my eyes, they rolled.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 11:08 AM
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We also learned that the customers we should ignore and not encourage to return were what they called "gift certificate people"-

One wonders why gift certificates were being given out, if they only brought in undesirables.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 11:10 AM
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202: Yes, to that stuff. But I actually tell waiters "no" when they try to change my wine glass when opening a new, but identical, bottle. (Yes, yes, it is technically "correct," but I find it overwrought and unnecessary.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 11:11 AM
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206: Apparently there are some dorky nouveaux riches who don't yet understand that buying your friend's spa treatments is like buying her a trip to the dentist, and they expect gift certificates to exist.

While I worked there, there was a kerfuffle reported in a ladies' magazine that the rapper Eve had bought Paris Hilton a GC to my spa as a gift, and Paris made fun of Eve to anyone who would listen. She was really nasty about it.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 11:14 AM
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We once stopped at a very rural diner, on our way to a very rural conference. The host came over and gave each of us a shoulder masage. Like, two-handed, and prolonged. Also coupled with some strange conversation.

Afterwards, my colleague said "That one could hide her own Easter eggs," which made me laugh and laugh.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 11:15 AM
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209: That is both hilarious and horrifying.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 11:16 AM
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208: I am 99% certain that I know the spa you mean and they hawk their gift certificates constantly. I get daily spam from them and there are always specials on everything, including 20% bonuses on GC purchases.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 11:17 AM
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208: my dentist is promoting gift certificates for Christmas, particualrly for toot whitening. I have tried to imagine the circumstances where an elective dentistry procedure would be a thoughful and tactful gift, and have failed.

206: The big money in gift certificates comes from the significant percentage that are sold but never used.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 11:19 AM
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173: I think that my post was kind of in poor taste, and that you're right to pick up on that. I don't really know exactly if it's possible to be fascinated without some normative judgement.

On the blunt vs. tactful scale, more specifically I get irritated with people who are very insistent that discussions about other people be kept rosy-colored. It's okay to hold that people are complicated mixtures of good traits and bad traits, or more accurately: that any particular trait has good and bad consequences. It doesn't mean that I'm saying they're a bad person, etc. (Maybe I just like to gossip. I dunno.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 11:20 AM
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134

I may not be communicating clearly here. While you may be fine with being judgmental, I really wish you wouldn't be. Where it's perfectly plausible that you're looking at women who, like you or me, find themselves eating what looks like a minimal amount even when it's what their appetites are actually calling for, coming up with a narrative about how their eating habits are evidence of some kind of disfunction is both very common and really kind of shitty. People talking like you did in the post make me unhappy, and fuck with my ability to eat what I want to. And I like and respect you, so it really bothers me that you're one of the people who'd be judging me if you saw me eating what I want.

Convincing people to stop judging you seems fairly hopeless, perhaps you should work on not caring.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 11:25 AM
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211: There is some schizophrenia in the company, from what I could tell during my time there. The people who work in the home office, who take all the appointment calls, are always making deals, offering GCs, getting catalogs out, etc. The individual spas hire independent consultants to manage the staff at each branch with an eye to the luxury habits of the local population. Uptown people and downtown people deal with these things differently, apparently.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 11:26 AM
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215: It's nice there, though! I like the tiny muffins in the lounge.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 11:27 AM
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(Also, don't quote me on the Eve/Paris thing. I just found the story I was thinking about, and it was that P made fun of E for going to the spa on her birthday as a treat. No gift certificates were exchanged.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 11:28 AM
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216: The men's locker room has cold beer and videogames. Bitches. If you ever go again, ask one of the passing girls to get you a cheese and cracker plate. They have to do it; it's so awesome, and the crackers are choice.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 11:29 AM
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218: I have seen the cheese plate! But as I have only been there pre-noon I stuck with the (so cute and tiny!) muffins. But now I want the beer. That is some bullshit right there. (I used to go there all the time when I was in my waxing fetishist phase. If you're looking for someone to rip all the hair off your junk, that place is the best. Painless!)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 11:34 AM
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They are famous for being the best at ripping hair off your business! There's one woman who's so good every supermodel goes to her. Apparently she's a highly-trained aesthetician and would prefer to do facials, but she gets booked all day solid with Brazilians. She offered to do me, but I was too shy back then. (Plus, I'd just heard her bitching, "Oh my god, if I see one more fucking pussy today I will fucking puke in it.")


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 11:36 AM
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220: I can well imagine. They are deep up in your business when they are doing that. Seriously. They practically have a thumb up there for leverage.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 11:37 AM
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216: The men's locker room has cold beer and videogames. Bitches. If you ever go again, ask one of the passing girls to get you a cheese and cracker plate. They have to do it; it's so awesome, and the crackers are choice.

(a) Videogames! Oh man.
(b) Ha!
(c) Mm, choice crackers.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 11:38 AM
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221: Like they're bowling?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 11:41 AM
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223: Ha!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 11:42 AM
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221, 223: The thing that freaked me out most was how they have you throw a leg up on their neck or on the wall and how much that feels exactly like being put in various positions for intercourse. "Now on your stomach. Spread your legs." The pain is bad enough (though in my case they may have been inept), but I don't really like having boundaries blurred to the point that throwing my leg around someone's neck doesn't mean I'm getting laid.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 11:46 AM
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"Oh my god, if I see one more fucking pussy today I will fucking puke in it."

Wow. Just wow.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 11:53 AM
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193:

Funny, the line that spa produces isn't even very good.

When I was younger, I had some Prescriptives foundation. Later I went to the Bobbi Brown counter to buy some foundation, and the guy told me that he'd sell me some concealer, but I really didn't need foundation.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 11:53 AM
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226: Oh come on, Flippanter. We've all had that thought occasionally, right?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 11:58 AM
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So, what's the difference between uptown and downtown ladies when it comes to viewing spa treatments as work.

I have to say that one of the things I like about Nordstrom's in the burbs is that they treat everyone very nicely. My purchases are probably low dollar amounts by their standards, but they're always super helpful.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 12:00 PM
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"You know I take the pussy seriously."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 12:01 PM
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230: I will never, ever get over that that person is the same person as this person.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 12:06 PM
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231: Time and an ill-chosen career in pugilism are bad mothers.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 12:09 PM
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228 to 2.2


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 12:36 PM
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219:

Junk is gender neutral? I thought it was masculine.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 12:37 PM
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234: The Black Eyed Peas disagree.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 12:47 PM
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235:

You asked them already? You are connected!


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 12:54 PM
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235: After 'Lovely Lady Lumps', I refuse to take direction on anatomical slang from the Black Eyed Peas.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 12:56 PM
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It's sort of the opposite when you go into a tony place. Like when they push diet cola on you, or "forget" your appetizer if they think you're not the right size for their fancy restaurant.

Wait, what?

I may not have mentioned this, but I know that particular commenter in life, so I can answer this question: a certain group of insufficiently-upper-middle-class people went to a tony South Minneapolis locally-sourced/fancy-pork type restaurant in the hopes of a nice dinner with the aged relicts. (It was a place on Grand whose name escapes me now, locals!) Terrible service ensued. Some of the party were not precisely thin, particularly in comparison to the yuppies at the surrounding tables, and their ordered appetizer was not forthcoming, the diet coke was pressed upon them, no desert was offered. They were, in fact, hustled out pretty bloody damn quick. Or so one hears!

One has also been told that almost everything was way too salty.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 12:56 PM
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238: That seems really strange. For one thing, when I think of UMCish dining, I think of establishments that pretend that nothing called a 'cola' exists unless you ask for one or bring in a child.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 1:00 PM
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235: Mmm, maybe. Perhaps it was junk belonging to a fellow of her acquaintance that was in the trunk of the lumpy lady.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 1:00 PM
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238: Wow. That's really crappy. Do you think the shitty treatment was only weight-based, or was the shittily-treated group also not wearing the right attire, or otherwise not conforming to the upper-middle-class expectations of the place?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 1:02 PM
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240: Until my last breath I shall abide by the principle that no man calls a lady "lumpy."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 1:03 PM
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Of course, New Jersey girls are experts at naughty/potty language, so she might be correct.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 1:05 PM
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242: Is he allowed to comment on her lumpenproletariat?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 1:07 PM
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Wait, me? I think it is generally used for guys, but lots of women I know use it too. Because it's funny.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 1:08 PM
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244: Take a cold tub, sir!


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 1:10 PM
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Junk waxing sounds better than Brazilian waxing.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 1:10 PM
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I can't think of the last time I've had occasion to discuss my "junk". Perhaps that makes me a prude.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 1:11 PM
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248: But staying in a cold bath too long will make you a prune.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 1:12 PM
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Now's your chance, Otto!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 1:13 PM
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249: Better a prune than a clinging vine, sir!


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 1:14 PM
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So guys, how's your junk been lately? Mine's been just great! Still there, after all, and still workin' just like God intended. What more can a guy ask for, amirite? Now gimme another Bud Light.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 1:15 PM
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252: Fist pound, dawg!


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 1:16 PM
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I prefer the term "curio".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 1:16 PM
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254: Fist pound, curio!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 1:17 PM
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174: I lean toward thinking that blunt and obnoxious aren't always clearly distinguishable.

Heh. Close to the vest, that's the ticket.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 1:20 PM
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Fist pound, curio!

Is that some local variant of rock, scissors, paper?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 1:20 PM
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254: Curio cabinet = codpiece?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 1:21 PM
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Parsimon, if your junk is close to your vest, you might be buying your clothes too big.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 1:23 PM
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252: Now that you've talked about your junk, it's time to send a photo of it to wolfson.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 1:24 PM
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259: Unless I'm just slouching. A lot.

Anyway, junk, yeah. Also, thanks, oudemia way upthread about the gorgonzola: foil sounds right.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 1:27 PM
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Huh, I never figured parsimon as the "metro ticket" type.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 1:27 PM
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260: Let's wait a few weeks so we don't have to think of something else for the holiday.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 1:30 PM
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263: the holiday, Moby?

Anti-semite.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 1:31 PM
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241: I think it was about appearance, both weight and class-marker stuff. Which is just strange, because there's another similar-but-better South Minneapolis place, The Corner Table, where the same folks have eaten in all their insufficiently-posh glory many times and only ever been treated very well. Also, better food.

The table wasn't ordering much by way of drinks, and I think that was a factor--they decided we weren't going to run up a big bill so we didn't need to be treated properly, plus we were lowering the tone.

What made me mad--okay, it was my aged parents who were at the table--is that, fer chrissake, my parents are old. My mother's health is poor. You can't miss this, looking at her. And yet they couldn't bring themselves to let a non-posh old lady have a nice meal in their chichi restaurant.

After the revolution, they'd better watch out! Molotovs for breakfast!


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 1:32 PM
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The prunes and their peels? I'll be ever so full.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 1:33 PM
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265: Just wow. How astoundingly shitty of them. When the time comes, be sure to let them know that the Molotovs you're about to throw at them are hand-crafted.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 1:36 PM
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You know, I know a lot of people who produce locally sourced food. They don't tend to wear much fancy dress. I wonder how that restaurant would treat a local pigherd if s/he deigned to try to eat there.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 1:40 PM
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Do people still call themselves pigherds? (Or, I guess, swineherds?) I don't know any, but I would have guessed offhand that they had disappeared in favor of hog farmers.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 1:43 PM
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and 265: Grrr. Lousy nasty unpleasant restaurant.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 1:44 PM
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269: "Hog farmer" came to mean "hog-confinement pork production manager" (or something similar), so the old term has started coming back.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 1:46 PM
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Oh wow, the restaurant waitstaff thing linked in 197:

17. Do not take an empty plate from one guest while others are still eating the same course. Wait, wait, wait.

This. Good god, yes. I'm a slow paced eater, and I often either find myself with half my plate remaining and my companions' plates removed (sheesh), or actually having to defend my plate from being taken away when I haven't finished.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 1:47 PM
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Waitstaff breaking the "all plates must remain on the table until everyone is finished" rule doesn't necessarily bother me, if it's done in a way that's more about tidying up rather than hurrying things along. Sometimes it's nice to have a little more table space and to not have to stare at all those dirty plates.

Also, sometimes ol' pokey across the table needs a reminder to pick up the pace a little and finish that f*#king salad so that everyone else can finally get their damn entree for chrissakes it's been like thirty minutes just shut up for once and eat!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 1:54 PM
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Also, sometimes ol' pokey across the table needs a reminder to pick up the pace a little and finish that f*#king salad

If you have pepper, a nose, and a high threshold for personal embarrassment, there's a quicker way.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 1:57 PM
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269: Thinking about it, none of the folks I know who raise pigs do so exclusively (i.e. they also grow chickens, vegetables, sometimes cows, etc), so they'd probably just call themselves "farmers". Maybe "pig farmers" if they were stressing that line particularly.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 1:59 PM
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The swineherd is the boy who takes the pigs out the forest to eat acorns and torments the goose girl, not what you'd call the farmer, I'd think. And so would be much less likely to have nice-restaurant-suitable clothes.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:00 PM
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276: Swineherds don't get as much action in fairy tales as shepherds. I think goose girls, milkmaids and lost princesses must share a keen sense of smell.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:05 PM
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I tend to eat too fast, because food is so damn delicious, but my brother talks a lot at the table and pokes at his food and eats really slowly. This drove me crazy as a kid because dessert was always delayed about a half hour while he managed to eventually get around to finishing his damn dinner.

I don't know, but I wonder if he's big on the "all plates stay till everyone's finished that course" rule, and if generally there's a correlation between habitual eating pace and belief in that rule.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:07 PM
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I was moderately delighted to read that the name Howard comes from "hog's ward". Knowing that, I'll never call a pigherd anything else. (Shepard, too, no?)

Yes and no to the clearing a plate business. The very second I'm done eating, I want my dirty plate away from me, because I JUST DO, OK? I dunno. I don't like being at a littered table. So, slow eaters, keep up. Or don't, but don't be mad 'cause I want my plate gone. The waitstaff should magically know all this.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:08 PM
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ol' pokey across the table needs a reminder to pick up the pace a little and finish that f*#king salad

I beg your pardon. Anyway, the entrees can be brought while the salad is still half-finished, and I can just put the salad to one side for the moment (may even prefer to). It's taking the entree plates away, and god forbid, asking if anyone would like to see the dessert menu, when I'm clearly half-done, that bugs me. Ya wouldn't do that for dinner guests in your own house, or at least, it would be weird.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:08 PM
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Also, sometimes ol' pokey across the table needs a reminder to pick up the pace a little and finish that f*#king salad so that everyone else can finally get their damn entree for chrissakes it's been like thirty minutes just shut up for once and eat!

I think it's best we cancel our dinner date, M/tch.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:08 PM
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And alright, I'll grant that taking empty plates away in order to tidy up is fine. Just don't pressure me to eat faster!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:11 PM
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Chew, damn you! Chew like the wind!


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:13 PM
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I was moderately delighted to read that the name Howard comes from "hog's ward".

Really truly? Because I have a close Howard, and will now give him an endless hard time about it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:14 PM
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280: I'm more on board with the "let everyone finish their entree" rule, but the rule you quoted so approvingly says:

Do not take an empty plate from one guest while others are still eating the same course. Wait, wait, wait.

Which would imply not bringing any entrees until everyone had finished any pre-entree courses.

It's the hurrying along (offering dessert, e.g) that's the problem, not the actual physical removal of dirty plates.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:14 PM
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I think it's best we cancel our dinner date, M/tch.

Let's just go to a good Chinese restaurant. Food keeps arriving as it's cooked, and everyone gets to eat at their own pace.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:17 PM
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285, see 282. Agreed.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:17 PM
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Huh. This gives a bunch of other dumb things the name Howard is from. For the purposes of making fun of a close friend, I'm thinking an offhand comment by someone on some internet blog is all the authority you need.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:20 PM
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286: Even better would be one of those sushi places with the motorized food-belt. Just grag the next course when you are ready.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:20 PM
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These sorts of disagreements are why I only eat at restaurants that feature troughs.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:20 PM
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'grab'


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:20 PM
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Surely a compromise could be reached wherein the waitstaff clears the plates of the fast eaters while turning to the slowpokes and saying, "No pressure, yo. It's all good."


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:21 PM
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I'm not in favor of making anyone gulp down their food, but I have definitely dined with people oblivious enough not to realize that the seven other people at the table all finished their starter 15 minutes ago, and would probably like to proceed with the rest of the dinner, so maybe that fascinating story can wait just a minute or two in favor of polishing off those last three bites of appetizer.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:21 PM
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Maybe if you were making fun of someone in court, you might want a more authoritative etymology.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:23 PM
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We try to prevent my sister from talking during dinner so that she will eat at a normal pace.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:24 PM
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292: I've seen a non-pushy "can I get any plates out of the way?", said to the table in general, employed successfully, although it still probably miffs the "never leave a plate behind!" people.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:24 PM
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I love those sushi bars with the motorized belts. I also love Indian-food lunch buffets.

And, wine. Of course.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:25 PM
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We try to prevent my sister from talking during dinner so that she will eat at a normal pace.

Have you tried duct tape and an IV?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:29 PM
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296: Yeah, asking is good. But I'm not the one to ask, since it hadn't occurred to me until now that people might be miffed by plate-clearing while one party is still working on that course. (And as an aside, I see that I've just unintentionally used a waitstaff locution that I hate: "working on". "You still working on that, hon?" "Yes, finishing these fish tacos, it is my arduous project!") I'm always the first one to finish, and use the time between courses to worry about whether I came across as piggish and raid the bread basket.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:31 PM
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But the slow eaters aren't necessarily oblivious, M/tch, nor are they only slow because they're talkative. I am pretty quiet, and I'm nearly always the slowest eater, and when I'm out with a group I'm generally (painfully) conscious of where I stand with respect to my tablemates in the dinner-completion derby. I'm trying, really!

I dunno. Maybe I have subpar salivary glands, forcing me to fall back on a freakish reliance on chewing.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:33 PM
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296: As a member of the club now dubbed "the miffed," I am happy with the non-pushy formula, 'cause you never know when Megan might be at the table and really wants her dirty plate removed.

Solved! So easily!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:33 PM
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the dinner-completion derby

Okay, this just made me laugh to the point of tears. Thanks, Gabardine.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:36 PM
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There is usually an opportunity for a small group of students to go to lunch with the visiting seminar speakers who come most weeks of the academic year. It's almost always the case that because the visitor is asked so many questions about his or her research (or sex life, in the case of one notorious lunch) that he or she barely gets any bites until well after the students are done eating. Then there's an awkward moment where the visitor tries to figure out a way to politely shut down the conversation so that he or she can eat, and then we get to sit and watch (what else are we going to do--we're long finished) our distinguished guest wolf down an entire entree in a couple minutes.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:39 PM
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So has utensil-based semaphore fallen by the wayside? I was always taught that knife and fork together at 4:00 (the position on the plate, not just at afternoon tea) meant that you were ready for your plate to be picked up at the server's convenience. If everyone just follows this, you never have to defend a plate you're still eating from, and the server never has to interrupt conversation to ask. Possibly we need an additional elaboration to make Megan happy---knife and fork together at 10:00 means get this filthy plate the hell out of my way---but otherwise, what's not to like?


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:40 PM
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Huh. I eat faster than anyone, but I don't think I've ever noticed waiting around as a negative -- I think I probably enjoy the opportunity to monopolize the conversation.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:40 PM
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cause you never know when Megan might be at the table

Nah, you know when Megan's at the table. She usually says, "Hi, I'm Megan", or counts on you to remember who it was you left your house to go meet.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:42 PM
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300: Oh, I know not all slow eaters are oblivious or longwinded. As I said, I'm generally against hurrying people along, but there are outliers who clearly really need it.

Also, when it's the end of the night, the restaurant is closed, and the good folks who work there restaurant are waiting to finally go home and get off their tired tired feet, I'm okay with the hurrying along of the oblivous party who finished their desserts an hour ago but still want to hang out telling hiLARIous drunken stories to each other forever and ever. Take it somewhere else, jerkfaces.

What I'm trying to get across is that oblivious people suck.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:43 PM
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307.3: Comity!


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:44 PM
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304: Yes, when I was a kid my mom read about those signals in some newspaper column and shared them with us, and we all thought they were a hoot. She tried deploying them in restaurant settings for awhile, but I don't recall them ever working. So yes, I think they have fallen by the wayside.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:45 PM
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I was always taught that knife and fork together at 4:00 (the position on the plate, not just at afternoon tea) meant that you were ready for your plate to be picked

I was taught 2:00. Or I was taught 4:00 and my memory sucks.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:45 PM
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I eat faster than anyone, but I don't think I've ever noticed waiting around as a negative

I usually only notice when it's the entree that's being prevented from arriving, for a very long time, by just one person. And/or when it's caused by someone who is too in love with the sound of their own voice to notice.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:46 PM
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I think I probably enjoy the opportunity to monopolize the conversation.

We are different people.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:46 PM
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I thought it was fork and knife, tines down, at four and eight, but I'm not confident at all about it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:47 PM
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m/tch isnt getting it.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:47 PM
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314: Enlighten me, Will.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:49 PM
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310: Wait. I was never taught 2:00. It was somewhere on the half of the plate closest to you.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:51 PM
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315: And hurry up while you're at it. I'm hungry.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:52 PM
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So has utensil-based semaphore fallen by the wayside?

I almost mentioned that earlier. I was taught knife and fork crossed at angles, 4:00 and 8:00, with fork tines face down. I sometimes thought that could be mistaken by the waitstaff if someone had just left their utensils that way casually, though.

Both at 4:00 makes more sense. Fork tines down.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:54 PM
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309: Yeah, I think a lot of the points of etiquette my sister and I were taught would make a lot of people laugh pretty hard. This has not enabled me to let go of them.

310: The logic for 4:00, which has all the force of folk etymology, is that that position makes it very easy for the server (who is of course serving from the left, and taking from the right) to reach in with their right hand, close their thumb over the utensils, and remove the plate without risk of the utensils sliding around, all while spending the minimum amount of time in your personal space. Everyone wins.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:55 PM
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313, 318: Confirmation!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:56 PM
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Fork tines down is new to me, but eminently sensible.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:56 PM
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Oh, totally pwned by 313.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 2:57 PM
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I almost mentioned that earlier. I was taught knife and fork crossed at angles, 4:00 and 8:00, with fork tines face down.

This means you are NOT done.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 3:03 PM
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323: Crap, that's right. I knew that was a signal, but was also feeling very unsure about it. And now I know why.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 3:06 PM
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I put the knife propped aggressively upwards to indicate that I'm still eating. Then I put my plate on the floor when I'm done. Seems clear enough.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 3:07 PM
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This means you are NOT done.

Do NOT stick a fork in yourself, in this case.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 3:08 PM
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Putting you fork in your food stranding straight-up and putting an empty sugar packet on the end of the fork means "I'm not done, but I may be in the bathroom for a while." Using an empty Sweet 'n Low packet means "Gone to feed the meter."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 3:08 PM
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When I lean back and unbutton my pants for comfort, that means I'm done.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 3:10 PM
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Then I put my plate on the floor when I'm done.

Oh, this reminds me of my parents' beloved doggie who died last year. In his waning years, it was decided that, damn it, let the poor old mutt eat the last few bites. He's earned them.

I kept forgetting that this was family policy, and I would forget to leave him a bite. He didn't beg or act upset; he'd just stare at me with this distant, disappointed look in his eyes.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 3:11 PM
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So has utensil-based semaphore fallen by the wayside? I was always taught that knife and fork together at 4:00 (the position on the plate, not just at afternoon tea) meant that you were ready for your plate to be picked up at the server's convenience. If everyone just follows this, you never have to defend a plate you're still eating from, and the server never has to interrupt conversation to ask.

Never heard of it.

I have never heard of a sign for "not finished yet", except for the lack of a sign for "finished". That sign being either the plate pushed away from the diner, or a napkin on the plate.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 3:11 PM
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He didn't beg or act upset; he'd just stare at me with this distant, disappointed look in his eyes.

Are we back to talking about dating again?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 3:14 PM
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This means you are NOT done.

Oh. Damn, had it backwards. So what's "done" then? Both at 4?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 3:15 PM
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stare at me with this distant, disappointed look in his eyes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yLMvFJ4FWU


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 3:16 PM
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So what's "done" then? Both at 4?

Yep.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 3:17 PM
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I think the o'clock method for describing where to put your knife and fork when you're finished eating is incomplete.

I was always taught that the knife and fork go near the top right corner of the plate, more tangentially than radially. That is, they don't stick out like clock hands. But if you want to look at it that way, somewhere in the neighborhood of 2 o'clock.


Posted by: apk01004 | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 3:20 PM
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336

I'm often eating out with other restaurant folks, so we usually start pre-bussing the table before the waiter is even nearby.


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 3:21 PM
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Of course, the fact that people can't agree on where the knife and fork go indicates that no matter where you put the cutlery, nobody can ever safely assume you're done eating. As a rule, it's a dead letter.


Posted by: apk01004 | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 3:21 PM
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a napkin on the plate

Shocking! No napkins on the table until everyone is done, lest (I gather) you offend those still eating with your mess. If you need to leave your seat while others are still eating, leave your napkin on the chair.

(I've never managed to internalize this one.)


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 3:25 PM
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334: Okay, thanks, but apknumbers is probably right: if no one knows what the rule is at this point, it's not going to work. Back to defending my plate, then. Per Heebie's plate-on-floor approach, I'll just keep my plate in my lap.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 3:28 PM
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340

I like to go all Zorba the Greek when I'm done eating. Every meal's a party!


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 3:28 PM
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We could avoid all this trouble by just bringing our own plates and cutlery to restaurants.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 3:31 PM
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I suppose "cutlery" s/b "silverware".


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 3:32 PM
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343

340: You rob a dying woman?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 3:33 PM
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what the rule is at this point, it's not going to work.

Does anyone remember the one-earring rule for men, with the side you have pierced showing if you're gay or straight? IIRC, when people I knew went from NY to colleges on the west coast, it became apparent that which was left and which was right was different depending on which coast you were on.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 3:34 PM
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Man, I've never even heard of these clock-face cutlery rules as something that was done in the glorious bygone past, let alone as something that people do nowadays.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 3:41 PM
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344: Don't know that one, but there was a handkerchief in the back pocket thing back in the day. One side or the other meant gay, I think.

Actually, in my home town, a handkerchief -- bandanna -- hanging out of the back pocket (forget which side) meant you had dope to deal. I thought surely the cops must have glommed on to that code as these handkerchiefers sauntered down Main Street. Maybe not.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 3:48 PM
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344: Ah, the bygone days when a boy with an earring was scandalous.

I don't remember one earring rules being very stable. My freshman year of high school, a very rebellious boy might wear an earring in his left ear. But he couldn't wear two earrings, because that was obviously gay. The idea of just a right earring never came up.

But then my sophomore year, and even more transgressive boy wore rings in both ears. Sometime after that all bets were off.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 3:48 PM
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Does anyone remember the one-earring rule for men

Yep. When I got my ears pierced at 15, I did both just to screw with people.

bandanna -- hanging out of the back pocket (forget which side) meant you had dope to deal.

Or so you thought.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 3:50 PM
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All the hawt boys had both ears pierced.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 4:00 PM
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348.last: Ha. I was just remembering the color-coded bandanas. But yeah no seriously, in my home town it meant dope. Uh. Dope as well. I guess.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 4:01 PM
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No napkins on the table until everyone is done

That's crazy talk. Back in undergrad I worked in a local fine dining establishment in an honest to god 19th Century mansion, with big grounds and peacocks strutting around and stuff like that. On Sunday they had this very genteel version of a brunch buffet, and when people left their table to go get some roast beef carved for them, or the like, we would straighten and clean up the table while they weren't there, including shaking out and refolding the napkins and laying them on the table. It's impossible that this was the wrong thing to do.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 4:15 PM
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Like I say, I never actually adopted the napkin rule. But there are people out there who feel very strongly about it.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 4:42 PM
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I never realized there was an east coast/west coast difference, but I do distinctly remember suddenly noticing that several British and certainly, notoriously, straight musicians I was fond of had earrings on the right, which was the gay side, and I decided then that the whole business was foolish. In retrospect, this was probably some kind of developmental milestone.


Posted by: piminnowcheez | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 4:48 PM
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I'm not actually sure about the east coast/west coast difference. I was high school class of '88, which was around the time the earring code was dying out, I think. It's possible that the people I knew who went west weren't running into a different code, but into people who just weren't worrying about which ear they got pierced.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 4:55 PM
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My freshman year of high school, a very rebellious boy might wear an earring in his left ear. But he couldn't wear two earrings, because that was obviously gay. The idea of just a right earring never came up.

God, humans are weird.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 5:22 PM
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God, humans are weird.

BY DESIGN.


Posted by: OPINIONATED GOD | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 5:34 PM
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306 cracked me up, Otto. And I think we ate equally quickly last time. It is lucky we didn't come to blows over the breadbasket.

I remember knowing there was an earring code, that it was Very Significant, and not know which ear meant which. Which was all moot, because there's no way any of the good Asian boys I went to school with would ever get earrings.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 5:34 PM
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In my jr. high and high school (class of '92) the rules were:

--left-only for straight
--both for straight
--right-only for gay.

The ear-piercing place at the mall in town was famous for turning away guys, depending on the religiosity of whoever was working the kiosk that day.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 5:39 PM
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I thought it was fork and knife, tines down, at four and eight, but I'm not confident at all about it.

When I was a waiter the fork being tines-down on the plate, regardless of position, meant it was ready to go.

I once had a patron at the country club light a cigarette and start ashing into her spinach salad. When I asked if she'd like me to take the plate she said, "Can't you see I'm still eating?" Then she actually forked some up and took a bite. I practically sprinted away from her.

I tend to be on the fast side, as an eater, whereas Rah will describe himself as "the slowest eater for three counties." It's true, he takes an age to clear a plate. I have been known to take a book to dinner to fill the time between when I finished and he finished.

I am also a little sad that apo beat me to the hanky code link, but I'm glad it was apo if it had to be anyone.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 5:47 PM
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I was always afraid I'd end up tines down on a dirty plate.


Posted by: Dissolute Fork | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 5:59 PM
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whereas Rah will describe himself as "the slowest eater for three counties."

For three counties, eh? That sounds like a challenge. Me and Rah and Gabardine, dining to the finish. Uh, except I don't have to finish the plate, do I? Just until the tines are down.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 6:07 PM
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359:

It's mostly because I talk too much, but not entirely.


Posted by: Rah | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 6:12 PM
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there's no way any of the good Asian boys I went to school with would ever get earrings.

Ha, this is reminding me of an extremely funny conversation trying to explain "goth" to some Mexican teenagers. They knew "emo," but goth was entirely new to them. Somehow we segued on to teen trends across the years, and I attempted to explain to them some '80s identities.

Teen: Safety pins?

Me: Yeah, you know. Metal things that fasten like this.

Teen: In their faces?

Me: Yeah.

[pause]

Teen: Whoa.

(Made all the more piquant by the fact that this young man is fairly comfortable with a self-presentation that is rather outre.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 11- 6-09 6:29 PM
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people, the fork and knife parallel at 4 o clock rule is so totally still in effect. how else will they know you're done??!! we do this at my actual house. and m/tch, while you are at the buffet the waitstaff should shake out and fold your napkin and leave it on the seat of the chair, where you left it. conceivably draped over the chair arm would be ok. jesus.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 11- 7-09 3:25 AM
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364:

You have waitstaff at the black and white house? And serve buffet-style? Sweet.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11- 7-09 4:52 AM
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I learned the fork and knife parallel, but don't remember if there was any special position. And crossed knife and fork meant "not finished". Also you did not cut your bread roll and butter half of it, you tore off a small piece and buttered it each time. And one which I never bothered with where when peeling your potato you couldn't lift it off the plate (this is probably Ireland-only as elsewhere spuds are usually not boiled in their jackets).


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 11- 7-09 7:28 AM
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and m/tch, while you are at the buffet the waitstaff should shake out and fold your napkin and leave it on the seat of the chair, where you left it. conceivably draped over the chair arm would be ok.

B.S. The napkin is on the table when the guest arrives at the restaurant. There's nothing wrong with it being on the table, nicely folded, when they return from the buffet. Plus, then they don't have to lift the napkin out of their chair before sitting down, they can just place their plate on the table and sit down. Makes it easier for everyone. Also, chair arms? Pretty damn rare in restaurants.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11- 7-09 9:50 AM
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I know the butter-your-bread-one-bite-at-a-time rule, and actually find that comfortable and natural. I don't think I've ever peeled the skin of a potato cooked in the skin, though -- wouldn't you just eat it?

I have no opinion about napkins, but would generally bet on Alameida to know the old-school rules.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 7-09 12:46 PM
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My feeling about napkins is that waitstaff always return them to the table, and diners always take them off the table. If I put my napkin on my chair, it's because I'm off to the restroom. If the waiter puts it back on the table, fine. The only time I put a cloth napkin back on the table next to my plate is if I'm in a terrible rush and they haven't taken my plate away.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 7-09 12:59 PM
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My senior year of high school saw the advent of academic eligibility requirements for extracurricular activities, something that was supposed to straighten up the football teams in town, but that had the side effect of disqualifying half the percussion section of our marching band. For one parade the band director solicited flute and clarinet players to march with bass drums (his stated logic was that the parts had similar counting, although I don't think it hurt that woodwinds in marching bands are useful mostly as props anyway).

Our percussion section wore earrings, though: namely, one link of the chains from our uniforms, pinched onto an earlobe (I forget which one). After my one parade as a percussionist I came home with said earring in place and nearly caused a parental aneurysm or two.


Posted by: fedward | Link to this comment | 11- 7-09 3:16 PM
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This seems like the place to admit that in high school I pierced my own ear with a safety pin and proceeded to try to hide it from my mother, who found out (duh) and was outraged.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11- 7-09 3:34 PM
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I have no opinion about napkins, but would generally bet on Alameida to know the old-school rules.

Sure, there probably is some old-school rule against napkins on tables. No reason to slavishly follow it, or to get in a snit if others don't, particularly if there's no real practical reason for it.

Of course, feeling entitled to get in a snit is probably a primary reason for many social rules, perhaps particularly old-school ones.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11- 7-09 5:05 PM
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371: How did you try to hide it? Constantly wearing a stocking cap? Holding the guilty earlobe whenever she was around? Makeup? Bondo?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11- 7-09 5:13 PM
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particularly if there's no real practical reason for it.

There is one practical reason, which is that napkins can get genuinely soiled over the course of the meal, in which case it is certainly more pleasing for them to stay out of sight.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 7-09 5:17 PM
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374: We'd replace the napkin in that case. Anyway, my general experience with such rules is that people who get most upset over them don't get upset due to practical concerns, they get upset due to devotion to rule-enforcement.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11- 7-09 5:37 PM
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There's some of that, but also (and I say this as a badly brought up person with terrible manners, so it's not like I have any idea about the old-school rules) I think that kind of persnicketyness can work like the Van Halen "no brown m&ms" contract -- not all that important in itself, but it tells you whether or not the people you're dealing with are paying attention. If there's a recognized set of rules of how to deal with serving a meal, that if followed will make it a reliably pleasant experience, then someone who screws up one of the rules (even if it's minor in itself) is more likely to screw up something that will be genuinely annoying.

(Now, this only works when there is an actually existing code of behavior that there's a reasonable chance that everyone knows about, which is almost certainly not true anymore. But if it were, then I think my reasoning would work.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 8-09 7:40 AM
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My poor youngest child, who is a ridiculously slow eater, actually had her plate taken away with food on it last time we were in Carluccio's. I was at the other end of the table and didn't see it happen, but my moronic stepmil let it happen. Poor kid was rather upset. Our local Carluccio's does seem to employ idiots though; it wasn't the only time the service had pissed me off.

Knife and fork together means you've finished, I'd agree.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 11- 8-09 8:11 AM
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377: Knife and fork together means you've finished, I'd agree.

Got to test this last night at dinner with my wife, father-in-law and his SO. Three of us did the parallel (although I did it at 8 0'clock-- usually do 4, but in this case the direction the waiter would take the plate from). The SO did crossed with tines down (New York born and raised). I sorta, kinda did the rule growing up, but my wife says she had it drummed into her incessantly during a year spent in England as a kid, so it may be a stronger tradition there.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11- 8-09 8:38 AM
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so it's not like I have any idea about the old-school rules) I think that kind of persnicketyness can work like the Van Halen "no brown m&ms" contract

Actually!! This is all kinds of awesome. The manager for Van Halen was on Media Matters in the last month or so.

So, back in the day, the shows were very dangerous, with pyrotechnics, heavy props, etc. The guy running the tour had to work with each venue, and he would send them a very long contract, but it was all necessary to keep Van Halen and the fans safe.

The No Brown M&Ms clause was inserted to be a canary in the coal mine. If brown M&Ms showed up, they knew the venue manager had not thoroughly read the contract, and they couldn't put on the whole show because they couldn't trust that the stage could handle it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 8-09 8:38 AM
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I mean "On The Media".


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 8-09 8:38 AM
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Oh sheesh. I got too excited and didn't finish reading LB's comment, where she makes that point.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 8-09 8:40 AM
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379, 380: Heard that interview. It made sense but wonder if that was truly the provenance of te clause or a useful later discovery.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11- 8-09 8:41 AM
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If there's a recognized set of rules of how to deal with serving a meal, that if followed will make it a reliably pleasant experience, then someone who screws up one of the rules (even if it's minor in itself) is more likely to screw up something that will be genuinely annoying.

True, but there's "screw up" in the sense of being sloppy or not caring, and then there's "screw up" in the sense of "following a rule, just not the one I prefer". It's someone getting in a tizzy about the latter, when there are no ill affects and it's actually not an indication of slackness, just difference, that I find quite tiresome.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 11- 8-09 10:48 AM
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