Share plates

The move towards a more gender-neutral society often highlights the immutable fact that men and woman are different. Few things prove this more (apart from our different anatomical bits) than how we share our food.

Nothing irks a guy more than offering to cook extra spuds or more carbonara sauce when his woman comments on its appetising smell, only to be told “It’s OK, I’ll just have some of yours…”

Advertisers recently acknowledged this fact with a TV commercial for a chocolate bar that conveniently comes in a 20 per cent larger size just so when you offer to buy your girl one and she says “It’s ok, I’ll just have some of yours,” you actually have some margin to play with.

When a man acts too protective of his food it can come across as arrogant, selfish and petty. For a woman, picking at her partner’s meal can be seen as a sign of affection and closeness as well as commitment.

While not all men fear commitment, as a bloc we do fear being left unnecessarily hungry in front of an empty plate, wondering why women don’t get this one simple concept: we don’t care what or how much you eat (within reason, of course, we all have to watch our figures), just as long as it’s not at my belly’s expense!

Perhaps it’s an anthropological leap but didn’t primitive man risk his life, slay the evening’s meal and then return to the cave to feast immediately on mammoth shanks before leaving his mate to distribute the remainder?

Fast forward to the current day Inner West with its plethora of culinary options representing all corners of the globe. Whether it’s Thai, African, Lebanese, Nepalese, Mongolian or tapas, the cultural expectation is
that diners will order a selection of dishes and share them amongst the group.

All very global, not to mention practical if one wishes to sample as many tasty delights as possible in a single outing. But many guys – some secretly, others overtly – just want their own plate of bangers and mash, surf and turf, or ribs and chips.

Perhaps the appeal of the share arrangement has something to do with resignation. Apart from share meals avoiding injustices associated with a la carte split bills, they also eliminate the inevitable, frustrating (humiliating?) intrusion onto one’s plate by a curious and or rapacious partner.

If you’re after another solution, however, you could always suggest to your loved one that if she likes the sound of the filet mignon, she should just order it. On the bright side, if that doesn’t work, you could have some of her beetroot salad…

Better still, let’s just do Chinese. Now pass the sweet and sour pork.


Words: Jason Dunne, author of Everyone is Henry Miller.

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