In his column this week on The New York Times Frank Bruni wrote about gender-based customs and differences in restaurants. Even in the age of third-wave feminism and political correctness, some restaurants still observe rules like serving a woman first, taking the wine order from the man and giving the man the check.
Some of the rules have pretty much disappeared: giving a woman a menu without prices if she's there with a man, and seating a woman against the wall so she's facing out. I didn't know these were common customs, however I do prefer sitting facing out—doesn't everyone? That way you can check out the entire room.
But apparently men and women do have different preferences when it comes to dining out, and proprietors have to take the variations into account when planning menus and decor. According to the article, women tend to like healthier menu options, while men ask about steak; if there will be lots of women at an event party planner turn up the heat, because women wear less clothing; gals want to know about lighting, men almost never do. According to famous chef Mario Batali, "'Women are looking for somewhere comfortable, men are looking for somewhere to show off.'"
Men eat more than women, so a table of all men might receive better treatment than a table of women, because the server is expecting a bigger tip from a bigger bill. Women tend to stay and talk longer, meaning fewer total bills for a server to make money on.
With one guy I date we always split the check, so when someone gives it to him it annoys me, because it's as if they think I'm not supporting myself because I'm there with a man. But another man I go out with always wants to pick up the check, so it's nice when they give it to him, because it makes me feel less awkward about not paying.
What do you think about gender differences in restaurants? And how do you split the check when you're dating? How about when you're in a relationship?