Wondering about Wings (and Breasts)

This topic seems to come up regularly and is one that is sure to incite controversy.

Today is my friend’s son’s 13th birthday. She asked him and his besst friend where they wanted to go to lunch, and her son got embarassed and his friend blurted out, “He wants to go to Hooters!”

Well, she talked him into Cheesecake Factory instead, but it made me ponder this question. What should we do about the issue of the ever-increasing number of restaurants that encourage women to flaunt their bodies in exchange for tips? My friend’s son is only 13 and this type of restaurant is already a mecca and a destination to him. My old boss would take both her little girls (ages 8 and 1) there regularly, to the point that her 8-year-old would request to go there after her softball games, because, “The girls all run around and yell and you don’t have to use any manners. Also their fried pickles are good.”

My parents were at the other extreme of things. My mom wouldn’t even allow us to eat in a restaurant that served alcohol, much less where girls were running around in skimpy, double-entendred outfits. (Of course, when she discovered how good Olive Garden’s Steak Gorgonzola Alfredo was, she changed her tune).

When we went to the law firm party, one of the other clerks started talking very animatedly about this place that is apparently like “Mexican Hooters.” While the guys started discussing it, the boss turned to me and said, “We won’t take your husband to a place like that if you don’t approve.” Well, then, because I didn’t want to sound like a stick in the mud or make Ducks look “whipped,” I responded with something polite and in the affirmative that I didn’t make decisisons for him and that he could go. They haven’t gone, but I was surprised at myself for not standing up more for my convictions instead of buckling under and trying to be the “cool wife” in front of the office. I wonder if I would have responded the same way if they had been talking about taking my husband to a strip club instead, or if there’s a line where I would have been bold enough to stand up for my principles and opinions.

My opinion on it is this – I don’t like any of those types of restaurants. I think they devalue women and I think they make it okay for men to look at women as objects, servants to showcase their bodies, bring them food and pour them beer and let them act like pigs, all the while smiling, laughing and maintaining a cheerful attitude (something we wives can’t always compare with at home when work and domestic duties pile on the stress). There’s also a radio commercial for some wing restaurant, and I don’t even think it’s somwhere that serves wings and sex 😉 , that basically shows how miserable you could be at home with your wife nagging you, or how much fun you could be having around the corner attacking a mound of wings and receiving cheerful service from the local tavern wench.

However, there are many worse places my husband could go or where his coworkers could pressure him to visit, in all honesty, so a place where wings are served by girls in tight tank tops and pantyhose is not that bad in the scheme of things. My inclination is to say, “Don’t go,” but I wouldn’t be completely crushed if he did. You can see a lot more skin on a commercial, in a movie or at the beach, or even just logging on to your computer. The temptation’s always there for people who want to act on it. I will say, though, that I would never take my children there. I don’t want my daughters to think that’s the type of career they should aspire to, because men will make fools of themselves over them, and I don’t want my sons to think women are just objects for their gratification, instead of capable people who should be valued for both mind and body.

What are your thoughts?

8 responses to “Wondering about Wings (and Breasts)

  1. at least the law firm is’nt doing business at the strip clubs like i’ve heard of guys doing, because that’s the picture of real Klass. whatever happened to men golfing?

  2. Great post. I tend to agree with you. i don’t go there, wouldn’t bring my family there and don’t like what it does for women. Yet if my husband wanted to go, or my boys (when they are teens), this probably wouldn’t be the battle I die on. I wouldn’t want it to be a place they frequent but if it happened I would probably turn it into an opportunity to discuss those things with my boys, and explain why I don’t like it. Sometimes forbidding something makes it more desirable, so I would rather face it head on and use it as a learning opportunity.

  3. I will admit, sometimes I like to go to Hooter because I honestly do like their food. We don’t go often and I know my husband doesn’t really pay much attention. Also, when a girl is there, it seems the waitresses always come by me and not the guys.

    BUT. My mom would nEVER let me go there when I was younger. NEVER. Same with my dad. My mom would still probably be mad if she knew that I went ocassionally. Most of the time, the reason we’ve gone is bc some big game is on and it’s like the best place with the most tvs for that. Not really an excuse, just true.

    My husband and I will NOT be taking our kids there. The first time I ever went, I was like 20 and we were in Nashville for a big college basketball game and that’s where everyone wanted to go after. (I was only one of 3 girls in our group of about 20). It’s not a kid’s restaurant and I would certainly NOT take my 13 year old son there. Yes, they might see worse things on tv, but if I can avoid putting boobs in their face, even just a little, I will do my best.

    Now as the husband with the law firm, it’s alittle tricky. I don’t know the full situation, but if Mr. A was new and trying to get in and that’s where everyone wanted to go, I guess I would go with it. I know and trust my husband. He’s not going to do anything ridiculous, especially with work people. Now a strip club? I would put my foot down, but then again, my husband refused to go to one for his bachelor party just because he didn’t feel comfortable.

    I would probably have odne the same thing in front of everyone.

    This is the LONGEST comment ever. Oops.

  4. Olive Garden – how edgy! 🙂
    I liked your response: that you don’t make decisions for Ducks. That’s perfect – you’re not the stick in the mud; in fact you’re the opposite because you’re the wife who respects her guy.
    The emotion that I feel the most when I think of places ranging from Hooters to Perfect 10 is pity. In high school lifeguard with two women who later worked at those places. I knew them well. They were both seeking affirmation of their worth. It saddens me that their families didn’t nurture their sense of self worth and that they aspired to the clubs where they found psuedo-worth and validation. They deserve to know real worth, intrinsic worth. One of the girls went on to do well. The other is still struggling.

  5. I agree with you. I don’t like those restaurants and I really hate the idea of men going there to oogle some server who’s hardly wearing clothes. It bothers me and I let my husband know. He can make his own decisions, but I make sure he knows where I’m coming from and how it makes me feel. (I’m working on my Catholic guilt.) I’m not naive enough to think that men don’t check out other women, but I don’t want him purposely going somewhere to check out other women. And I don’t want to raise my kids to think it’s okay to do so.

    I think you answered the partner the right way and I would have said the same thing. It really is their choice. And as long as Ducks knows how you really feel you are not turning a blind eye to anything.

  6. I’m going to beat you all for the longest comment.

    I know I’m in the minority here, but I have been to places much worse than Hooters. Majority of my best friends are guys and I’ve attended these places with them. The thing is, they aren’t swooning over these women. Ultimately, they want a woman who would never dare to walk around in skimpy clothing in public – they want a woman that wouldn’t flaunt everything in public. I think it is the fact that these places are the extreme opposite of their normal lives that make them want to go. And, honestly, that’s why I’ve never declined the invite if they decide to go when we are out for the night. It’s just so far from what I see every day. I also chalk it up to my Psychology background – I’d love to know what makes these women okay with their line of work when I fret about whether a dress is too short when it is brushing my knees.

    As for the females working at these places – there are times that I do feel bad. It’s very obvious when a woman wants to be anywhere but there. And, that’s just sad to me – that they don’t value themselves enough and maybe think that this is their last resort. However, there are women who don’t see any shame in it. My friend’s 21-year-old daughter started working at Hooters last year during her summer break. She’s captain of her college’s soccer team, a great student and a leader in her sorority, among other extracurriculars. It was a struggle for my friend, at first. Yet, after thinking about it – she felt that forbidding her daughter to work there would be the exact opposite of what she taught her: be comfortable with yourself, be strong, you can do whatever you want to do and don’t let anyone give you shit. That’s exactly what her daughter does. We’ve actually went to see her daughter at work – and it’s really not that bad. I’ve seen worse at bars – or – at the Poteete Strawberry Festival (that’s another icky story for another day).

    Like I said, I know I’m in the minority here. Even my boyfriend won’t go to Hooters to watch UFC (where I know there is a much shorter line and little to no cover charge). And yes, our gender roles are totally switched. 🙂

    As for taking children to Hooters – I’m kind of split. Mainly because I don’t necessarily see the workers at obscene, but I know there are patrons that can be obscene. I wouldn’t want a little boy to pick up on certain behaviors and think it is the right way to treat a woman. But, I think that could be remedied with a conversation about how that’s not the right way to treat women. Ugh – I don’t know. It’s a hard choice. I guess I would lean toward staying away from the restaurant, and if the kid wants to go when he’s older, have at it.

    Is this a long and confusing enough response?

  7. I am with you 110%! I don’t like those places at all! If I comment anymore, I’d write way too much. And NO, you aren’t alone in your thinking!!!

  8. i totally went through something similar recently! my husband was asked to go out with some work friends (not to a hooters but like, a night out drinking) and generally, i don’t mind if he goes out and drinks (there will be an age when this is inappropriate but i don’t think we’ve quite hit it) but this group of people somehow makes me uncomfortable. and it’s like, i don’t want to TELL you not to go out with them… i just want you to not go.

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