Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hunger? I Hardly Even Know Her

You might know that old Woody Allen joke*, "I was a very insecure child...I was breast-fed from falsies."The good news for the Wood-man is some of the most booming business in the food industry is in "breastaurants." Couldn't give a hoot about what the term means? Haven't been keeping a-breast of the latest? This commercial might give you a hint:

That's the Tilted Kilt for you, sure to put the starch in a man's tartans. So you have to love this passage of a recent AP article about the market segment that's been on the rise:

That growth is one reason Tilted Kilt CEO Rod Lynch, bristles at the "breastaurant" moniker. He says the word implies that the company's success is based purely on sex appeal. To the contrary, he says his customers – about three-quarters of whom are men and of the average age of 36 – consistently say the experience is about far more.

Wait a second. I do marketing for a living, and you're trying to tell me that 75% of your customers are men past the age that they're going to "get" anything like the women in that ad for anything beyond a babysitting job (ok, there's another ugly fantasy, so here's hoping that restaurant chain never opens) but instead they are all coming in 'cause your Irish nachos† are so tasty, well, you could knock me over with a four-leaf clover.

Or, perhaps, "the experience is about far more." Not to get all Freudian on your cheap thrills, but it's quite possible we really never do quite separate our hungers and sex and food connect even more than we might imagine. Not that I've discovered anything new here. The reason there's such a zing to part of George Carlin's 7 words routine is just that he, and you, and I, and the newborn drooling down the street know it: "And tits doesn't even belong on the list.... It sounds like a snack...I know, it is. New Nabisco Tits--bet you can't eat just one!"

That doesn't mean it's any less degrading for the poor women who work these places, as if waitressing where the tips top out at $6/per, bonus leers free, is any kind of wonderful. (I have to admit I keep thinking the waitresses at Twin Peaks should all go by the names Laura, Maddy, Donna, and Audrey, and dance up to your table like this, but maybe I've revealed too much of my fantasies now.) It's just part of their jobs--wear little, get the men-folk a-wanting, and then pull the bait and switch. Sublimate ends with "ate" for a reason.

*I mean the joke is old, not Woody. Although he's old now, too.

†Come for the boobs, stay for the bastardizing of numerous world cuisines!

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