The great gender divide: lunch time edition.

I've got a pretty solid internet (and otherwise) reputation for being a feminist, which more times than not just means I don't want to put up with extra bullshit just because female. In fact, if I were in charge of the world, that would actually be the official definition. But I have to say.... there are times when I notice the differences between the genders. Not because anything is genetic, but because of socialization. Or. Whatever it is. I notice.

And probably the biggest example of when I notice is lunch time during vacation periods at work.

When there are primarily male teachers in the office for the day, this is how lunch goes:

One teacher comes over to my desk at precisely 12 on the dot and says one word (or two, depending on the language he uses): lunch. I stand up, put on my shoes and coat and follow them out to someone's car. There are maybe fifteen words exchanged all around during this walking period. At the restaurant, we are immediately seated in our reserved area and all served the exact same meal. There are a few words passed back and forth for the next 20 minutes, but mostly everyone just puts their heads down and eats. We're back in our individual offices by 12:30, 12: 40 at the very latest.

With the female teachers, it goes a little differently.

Around 10:30, the first person will start to complain about being hungry. This will start a trickle-down effect that will have everyone in the office making suggestions about what we could do for lunch by 11. We will spend the next hour debating the various advantages and disadvantages of the following categories:
  • Ordering in or going out.
  • Making a reservation or just dropping in.
  • The kind of food.
  • Which restaurant serves the best of that kind of food.
  • Which restaurant has the best prices for that kind of food.
  • Which restaurant has the best side dishes for that kind of food.
  • Which restaurant that serves that kind of food is closest to a coffee shop, where we can drop by afterward, should we decide we want coffee.
  • Which coffee shop is the best.

Once we have all of that worked out, it's time to start the next round of debate, which includes:

  • Who all is in the building who might like to go.
  • Who all is outside of the building but in the neighborhood and might like to go.
  • Who will call who to find out the above information.
  • Literally dozens of phone calls.
  • Counting people once the final decisions are made -- there are five. No, there are six. No, there are five. No, there are definitely six. But there might be seven.
  • Who will call to get the number for the restaurant.
  • Who will call the restaurant.
  • Should we walk or drive?
  • Who will drive? Who will ride?
  • Who will ride in what car?
  • Who will split off from the restaurant, not returning to the school, and how can the return car rides be rearranged to fit these needs?
  • Dozens more phone calls.
By then, it's past 12:30 and time to go, so:
  • Do I need to take my bag?
  • Who will go down to which office to collect who?
  • Elevator or stairs?
  • Back door or front?
  • Who will sit in the back seat and who will sit in the front?
  • Did I lock that door and unplug that electronic device?
  • I don't think I did. I better go back and check.
  • Which road is the best one to take to the restaurant?
If we're lucky, we're eating by 1:30. Then there's coffee, which is another round of ordeals about who's in what car, who's having what, where's the best place to sit, etc. etc. etc. We might make it back to school by three.

Four hours versus thirty minutes. And chances are good that I won't even get any meat in the meantime. What a headache.

1 comment:

Charles said...

Its been my observation that when an "problem" (a some-thing) comes up: (1) men seem to focus on a solution while (2) women discuss the problem. And, in my opinion, women do a much better job of defining the problem than men. I'll say that your post shows reinforces this.

Whether women come up with better solutions than men is another discussion. (Consider the image results google search provides for "mission go to gap buy a pair of pants.")