Chicks, Dicks & Carrot Sticks

by Matt Lifson | 11/18/10 11:00pm

I just want to be able to order a meatless egg-white wrap on whole wheat from the Hop without my masculinity being questioned.

I mean, let's face it: we attend a school that has gender on the mind, as is incredibly apparent in this issue of The Mirror. So when I order my healthy dining choice of the term from the Hop, it pains me to see the stifled snickers on the hyper-masculine faces of the Hop grillers, compounded to the nth power when the meal is handed to that girl wearing a pedometer on her waist and holding a cottage cheese and fruit "meal," rather than to me.

Having the pong skills of a recently-surgically-separated conjoined twin with one glass eye and no thumbs, I am already overwhelmingly familiar with the masculine marginalization. So to not even be able to order the food that so truly makes me feel right in this world of Double-Downs, McRibs and "slushy noodles" (Attn DDS: you absolutely must change the name of this FoCo special if you want to become a profitable entity any time in the near future) without my rugged masculinity being questioned, well I just think that's wronger than thinking that putting empty water bottles in the recycling bin makes you environmentally friendly.

When did eating healthy become a feminized phenomenon? Don't get me wrong, I like breakfast bombing and Billybobbing as much as the next guy. But at a certain point in life, one needs to realize that eating bacon-wrapped sausage and hash browns with a side of Cookies n Cream Pie everyday is not a sustainable lifestyle choice. (On the other hand, if you graduate from Dartmouth without ever having indulged in DDS's decadent pies, you should re-evaluate what constitutes your Dartmouth experience.)

And don't think that the gendered food qualms are all at the expense of masculinity. One Dartmouth female (who wished not to be identified beyond "inactive Tri-Delt '11") confided to me in an unexpected moment of somber sobriety, "Every time I order a Billybob from the Hop I have to whisper it, and the guys working there never believe me when I say it."

Yes, gendered food is a two-way street, policed by the gender expectations of delicate peer pressure and judgmental looks of DDS workers.

Now I'm not trying to scrutinize the Hop and its employees, because this is truly a systemic food issue at Dartmouth. (The Hop does provide potent examples, however, as it is undoubtedly the most masculine DDS location on campus.) Moving away from the deep-fryer grease pits of the Courtyard Caf, gendered food expectations can be seen just as clearly at Homeplate. For instance, as I was ordering my Portobello Panini, the snickers from the lidless soda drinker behind me seemed to imply that I might as well have climbed onto the Abductor machine at the gym, or, worse yet, put a straw in my drink. (Note: the masculine/feminine implications of strawing one's drink are still a contentious issue. More often than not, however, this is looked upon as a rather feminine drinking mechanism.)

I could go on forever about the issues of gendered foods at Dartmouth: the reactions when a girl orders a Jo-Yo from the Foco Grill, or when a guy simply sets foot in Collis in daylight. But what is most troublesome about this issue to me is the fact that people do not seem to acknowledge its existence. Yes, we know how terrible the Greek System is for gender relations at Dartmouth, but we talk about that everyday. There is obvious room for improvement with that issue, but until this issue of gendered foods is discussed at all at Dartmouth, there simply can be no hope for progress of any kind.

But, I have faith in Dartmouth. I believe that one day, both men and women will be able to eat at both the Hop and Collis without any gender inferences from others. It may not happen any time soon, but until then, when I get my meatless egg-white wrap on wheat with a spinach salad and apple, I ask that you not be a dick. Just treat me like I have one.

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