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On 2/5/2018 at 12:28 PM, NolaCaine said:

but rather a broad complement to the creativity on this thread. 

You have absolutely no idea how funny this is (read it carefully).

I know it's kind-of meta, but I honestly believe critics *must* be criticized, in *ALL* fields - I was one of Robert Parker's biggest critics - from what I heard, he hated my guts because I questioned some of his ratings - most notably, 93 Red Burgundy (which remains an all-time great vintage for Red Burgundy, and they're still drinking beautifully - he hates perceived acidity, and those wines have it in spades. He also got the 1983 Red Burgundy vintage as *wrong* as he got the 1982 Red Bordeaux vintage *right*; yet, the only thing you ever heard was how prescient he was with his "bold proclamation" of the 1982 Bordeaux.). In fact, when he said that 94 was a better White Burgundy vintage than 95 was, I challenged him (or was it Pierre Rovani - this was in the late 1990s, I believe) to name ONE WINE from the 94 vintage that was better than its 95 counterpart, and I never got an answer! It is a fact that many, *many* oenophiles - experts in the field - felt, and still feel, that Robert Parker had a palate favoring low-acid, high-alcohol wines such as Aussie Shiraz, California Zins, and their ilk - Sine Qua Non is a perfect example: I have yet to finish an entire glass of Sine Qua Non in my entire life, and that's not a rhetorical statement - I think it's *gross*. This was the single most powerful critic - *in any field* - in the entire world, as he alone set the market price for Bordeaux, as well as many other wines ... a "90-point rating" vs. an "89-point rating" could have meant a 100% price increase, and I contest that it's humanly impossible to judge wine - a non-quantifiable consumable - with anything even remotely close to that level of precision. And yet, he took it personally - can't people see that this is a necessary check-and-balance? I'm not saying it worked, because I didn't have the platform with wine that I have with restaurants, but there are one hell of a lot of people right now that agreed with me then, and one hell of a lot more who agree with me now. And I have absolutely *nothing* against Robert Parker - I even stood up for him, vigorously, when his career was being threatened because a secretary of his in France was taking bribes *unbeknownst to him*. The only thing he was ever guilty of, regarding her, was loyalty, and I said so loudly.

There are times when I just can't rest silent when things seem so very different from what I observe (there are quite a few, but three that pop into my head are Le Zinc, 1 star (this review put David Ashwell, the ex-Chef de Cuisine of Marcel's, out of a job, and he has since moved to Ireland); Rasika, 4 stars (has anyone taken my "Raaga challenge?"); and perhaps the greatest discrepancy between us, ever: Suna, 1/2 star, and that's where I just lost it - this review put the restaurant out of business, and then Johnny Spero went on to become Chef at Minibar.)) A comment about the star system and human nature: Does anyone remember anything about those reviews, other than the number of stars? And yet, there was this article about me coming to Tom Sietsema's defense, when people (notably Michael Birchenall) were publicly calling for him to resign. How could I possibly write such a thing if I had any personal malice? I've been way more critical of Todd Kliman's reviews over the years (and I have no personal malice against him, either.)

Checks and balances are essential for critics, especially powerful ones - unfortunately, when it comes to DC restaurants, I may be one of the few people with the expertise, the resources, and (this is the only one that truly sets me apart) the flexibility to do it - but it would cut into an already-full life, and I'm not sure people even care. This website has built-in checks-and-balances for anything and everything I write, and I encourage all our members to voice dissenting opinions whenever they wish (I won't take it personally!)

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He just posted this, and I almost died.   Q: Annoying Waitstaff  Hello Tom. I am a reasonably attractive female (so I am told) who dines alone in The District fairly often because of my schedule.

That was me.

I'm guessing you've never had back problems (or known anyone who has) I'm also guessing you don't work in the hospitality industry I'm also guessing you're young and strong and your vision and heari

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Don, even though I know and respect Bob Parker, I agree that promoting large, high alcohol, clunky red wines (like SQN) has created a market of people who only want to drink that kind of wine. He also created the label drinker and score-hound, rather than drinkers with open minds looking for new things. You and I both know plenty of these kinds of people.

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3 hours ago, Mark Slater said:

Don, even though I know and respect Bob Parker, I agree that promoting large, high alcohol, clunky red wines (like SQN) has created a market of people who only want to drink that kind of wine. He also created the label drinker and score-hound, rather than drinkers with open minds looking for new things. You and I both know plenty of these kinds of people.

Give Parker credit: He played right into the psyche of the American consumer with his clever 100-point scoring system. Now, nearly every wine critic in the country uses it - not because they believe in it - but out of "commercial necessity" (and about fifteen years ago, I asked - quite literally - every single major critic in the country why they use it if they think it's BS, and to a person, that's what every single one of them told me). Even Gerry Dawes, who has a personal disdain for Parker bordering on psychosis, buckled long ago, and uses it as well. The commercialization of the 100-point system is the one thing for which Robert Parker will be remembered (justifiably, I will add: Its influence cannot be overstated).

This is how I know the human race will be extinct within 500 years.

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22 minutes ago, NolaCaine said:

IRL I am much more careful with the written word and do see how it was unintentionally funny. 

I had a big, chewy,  horrible red last night. 6 people for dinner and there's still some left. 

:lol: I know you're a true feminist (I suppose I've become one, too), so please don't be angry - I just couldn't resist: I'm an equal-opportunity pig who can't resist a bad pun when I spot the opportunity - given the posts that transpired immediately before, it was irresistible.

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All night I thought of the reductionist views of women over time and of me over my life. Speaking of meta...I"m just glad time's up for blatant misogyny and that it's my actual full-time job to call it out in this one area of our system. 

Anyway, regarding Rasika, what the hell is up with people's love of that place? Every time I go, I think it's not that great, and they aren't even trying that hard.

Now Bombay Club on the other hand, is great and they try to be great.

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13 hours ago, Mark Slater said:

Don, even though I know and respect Bob Parker, I agree that promoting large, high alcohol, clunky red wines (like SQN) has created a market of people who only want to drink that kind of wine. He also created the label drinker and score-hound, rather than drinkers with open minds looking for new things. You and I both know plenty of these kinds of people.

09 Amarone della Valpolicella.

Was it just bad or did it not age long enough?

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5 minutes ago, NolaCaine said:

09 Amarone della Valpolicella.

Was it just bad or did it not age long enough?

09 Was a very good vintage. Some Amarone might seem too powerful right now. What I recommended was Recioto, which is dessert version of the wine- almost port like.

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6 minutes ago, Mark Slater said:

09 Was a very good vintage. Some Amarone might seem too powerful right now. What I recommended was Recioto, which is dessert version of the wine- almost port like.

Last year I had a 1990 Dal Forno Romano Amarone, and it was *amazing* while still on the young side - it will last another 30-50 years - depending on the producer and vintage, Amarone is a great wine that needs a fair amount of bottle age. (That's pretty much what Mark just said.)

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7 hours ago, NolaCaine said:

Anyway, regarding Rasika, what the hell is up with people's love of that place? Every time I go, I think it's not that great, and they aren't even trying that hard.

I guess we're just masses of ignorant fools that don't understand Indian food.

Or just people who like different food than you.

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4 hours ago, mtureck said:

I guess we're just masses of ignorant fools that don't understand Indian food.

Or just people who like different food than you.

That's a little harsh. I was building off Don's comment upthread. I love Indian food but just think Rasika is overrated or takes itself for granted having built up a clientele and reputation.  I know many people who love it and have dined with them there often.

Also, the sentence should read "masses of ignorant fools WHO don't understand".

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I never understood the big deal with Rasika either.  It's okay but nothing is memorable ( that includes the fried spinach dish, I prefer fried watercress salad at Thip Khao).  That's how I feel about most of Sietsma's raves, they are mostly okay (except for Jaleo, my last two meals at Jaleo, admittedly from years ago, positively sucked), but not much to draw me back.  The geography and range of restaurants covered are narrow and boring and based on my non-pro eater opinion, rarely the best of its type in the DC metro area.  

Then there's the handwaiving about  being recognized by restaurants, allegedly okay because he makes reservations under a different credit card.   Throw in the super predictable weekly carping about noise/lighting/line waiting/inadequate servile-ness from the wait staff, all straight from a parody of rich Bobos with first world problems, and I find it hard to take anything he says seriously.  

That's my 0 cents on the subject.  Yes, I can be categorized as a non-poor Bobo with my own set of hangups, why do you ask?

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2 hours ago, NolaCaine said:

That's a little harsh. I was building off Don's comment upthread. I love Indian food but just think Rasika is overrated or takes itself for granted having built up a clientele and reputation.  I know many people who love it and have dined with them there often.

Also, the sentence should read "masses of ignorant fools WHO don't understand".

Rasika is overrated and I prefer Indigo by far in DC. Looking forward to trying Simul's silent partner involved new Indian restaurant, so that might change. 

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On 2/5/2018 at 6:54 PM, Mark Slater said:

Don, even though I know and respect Bob Parker, I agree that promoting large, high alcohol, clunky red wines (like SQN) has created a market of people who only want to drink that kind of wine. He also created the label drinker and score-hound, rather than drinkers with open minds looking for new things. You and I both know plenty of these kinds of people.

Mark, just curious if you've tried any SQN with some age on them - had a 2004 recently that was quite amazing.

On 2/6/2018 at 8:36 AM, Mark Slater said:

09 Was a very good vintage. Some Amarone might seem too powerful right now. What I recommended was Recioto, which is dessert version of the wine- almost port like.

I love Recioto! I have buried a bottle so I cannot find it for years. I hope I forget where I put it!

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Saw that live, too. Wonder what that was about ... why not just say, I'm a fan of Ramen. Trying to look smart made him look not so smart... 

Is the repetitiveness the problem of the questioners (i.e. a million people ask where to take their significant other for a special date night) or the problem of his selection of questions, overvaluing something he can easily answer basically the same every time?

 

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I'd rather have restaurant rec questions than the ones that are about things like tipping, kids in restaurants, noisy restaurants (we get it, Tom), etc. Half the chat will be dedicated to follow-up replies to the initial question.

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Q: Ordering

I feel like something I struggle with is knowing how to order properly. I get so excited about going to new restaurants and then often stare enviously at the dishes of other diners. I was curious how you decide what to order when you go out. Do you stick with bases that you enjoy and find different preparations? Do you look at which have the most interesting flavors? Any enlightenment here is helpful!

I was just wondering about this very topic? Rockwellians care to chime in?
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I try to order stuff that I would prefer not to make at home.  If I am out with my Mom and Brother we all talk about what looks good to us, order different things and share.  But if it's just Hubby and I then I order what looks best to me.  I am a very visual person so sometimes I also look up images from the restaurant before I go too.  For instance the rabbit at San Lorenzo looked really good on instagram and I can't easily source rabbit...  But there are also times that something just sounds good to me- normally when I am at a more neighborhoody type of place.  My big triggers at nicer places are normally- harder to source meats, homemade pastas, complicated sauces or cooking techniques, seafood, very seasonal items.

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On 8/22/2018 at 1:13 PM, curiouskitkatt said:

Q: Ordering

I feel like something I struggle with is knowing how to order properly. I get so excited about going to new restaurants and then often stare enviously at the dishes of other diners. I was curious how you decide what to order when you go out. Do you stick with bases that you enjoy and find different preparations? Do you look at which have the most interesting flavors? Any enlightenment here is helpful!
 
I was just wondering about this very topic? Rockwellians care to chime in?

I tend to prefer ordering things that are --

  1. Difficult for us home cooks to source
  2. Things that are a apian in the ass to prepare (like lobster bisque (not hard, but time consuming and annoying) or Frank Ruta's Consomme (purely becase it is magic and partlybecause I suspect it is annoying to get done right, reeeeally right))
  3. Things that are ridiculously shortly seasonal
  4. Things that I adore AND are hard to do (or are just a pain in the ass) - say, like amazing raviolini
  5. Parts I can't get (think heart, brains, livers, whathaveyou) - partly because I'd have no idea what to do
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On 8/25/2018 at 10:01 PM, Pool Boy said:
  1. Things that are a pain in the ass to prepare (like lobster bisque (not hard, but time consuming and annoying) or Frank Ruta's Consomme (purely becase it is magic and partlybecause I suspect it is annoying to get done right, reeeeally right))

Yes, anything that requires straining more than once, it's a restaurant dish for me!

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I always check the dress code.  I hate following the dress code and then see a restaurant allow people in with shorts when business causal is the dress code.  I don’t understand people who want to be spoon fed every piece of information.
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Q.  Hey Tom, curious what you think. On Sunday evening, my wife and I had a 5:15 reservation at Le CouCou in NY based on your recommendation from a few years ago. We were visiting from DC and, in general, love Stephen Starr restaurants. It was a hot day in NY and 90% of the male population was walking the cIty in shorts. I called to make the reservation months in advance and the receptionist said nothing about pants being required. Also, the day before the reservation, the restaurant called (and in fact left an obnoxious voicemail saying to call back and confirm, or the restaurant would cancel). When I called back to confirm, again, no one said anything about pants being required. We arrived, and I was wearing shorts (nice khaki shorts with a nice shirt, not workout clothes). The restaurant said we could not be seated, and the manager said it was my responsibility to read the website before arriving. Generally, I respect a dress code and think a restaurant certainly can have one, but in 2019 is it a fair expectation to assume a customer will read a restaurant website re a dress code when even very fancy restaurants rarely have a dress code nowadays and where restaurant websites are regularly non-functioning (granted, Le CouCou may be an exception)? On a side note, had the manager simply said, “I’m sorry, we have a strict policy but I have no choice and appreciate you making a reservation months ago”, I probably would not have resented the treatment so much. Instead, he pointed in the direction of Soho (at a designer store where pants probably would be $200), and said why don’t you just buy a pair of pants? I recognize there is some gray area here, and I don’t feel entitled to flout a clearly communicated dress code, but I felt (based on the overall circumstances) like the restaurant did not value our business at all – especially since it was 5:15 and the restaurant was near empty (they could have just placed us in a corner). What do you think? Who did responsibility lie with here? Thanks as always for these weekly chats! We love them.

A.  I'm sorry you missed out on the popular French restaurant. I just checked its website, and sure enough, the dress code is there and specific: "At dinner, we politely request no shorts, flip-flops, sweatpants or tank tops, and we ask that gentlemen remove their hats. Jackets are not required." 

That said, the restaurant should have taken a pro-active approach, both when a receptionist had you on the phone ("Please note, we have a dress code in place") and again at the door (with a placard or some such posted next to any posted menu). 

 

 

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I went to Le CouCou a month ago. It was spectacular and we were seated next to Diane Sawyer, Quincy Jones, and Gayle King. I would NEVER possibly think to wear shorts there. Also, if the restaurant is a place that calls to confirm the day before (and they did that to me and it was no big deal) I’d also assume it’s not a shorts place. 

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44 minutes ago, Rieux said:

I went to Le CouCou a month ago. It was spectacular and we were seated next to Diane Sawyer, Quincy Jones, and Gayle King. I would NEVER possibly think to wear shorts there. Also, if the restaurant is a place that calls to confirm the day before (and they did that to me and it was no big deal) I’d also assume it’s not a shorts place. 

The thing that struck me most about this is that they were in New York City going to a prominent restaurant.  How can you figure shorts are okay? You're not in the backwoods of [some state I won't name because I don't want to be prejudicial, but in a place with backwoods].

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this is probably the appropriate thread to finally express my annoyance at a fellow diner at the inn at little washington a few years ago. he was in shorts, maybe a polo shirt and, unless i've just fabricated this in my head, a backwards baseball cap (there was definitely a hat involved). as a first time diner there, i was taken slightly aback. maybe i shouldn't have been surprised when the waiter didn't check in on the four tables in the area for 15-20 minutes...

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44 minutes ago, weezy said:

There was a shout-out to donrockwell.com in today's online chat. https://live.washingtonpost.com/ask-tom-0710.html

Q: Baltimore Wanna-be food writer
Come hang out at donrockwell.com It's a lovely food forum, and good food writing is always appreciated.
A: Tom Sietsema
DonRockwell.com is what I had in mind when I typed my response. It's a useful forum for food enthusiasts (and covers cities beyond DC to boot). 
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58 minutes ago, weezy said:

There was a shout-out to donrockwell.com in today's online chat. https://live.washingtonpost.com/ask-tom-0710.html

Great catch by the way @weezy ! 

When I initially read the post on the Live Chat, I was hoping Tom Siesetma would give this valuable forum a shout out. Reading further down, I am so happy he did. 

Every member that post,  builds this forum into something that is incredibly resourceful. My only wish is that I could attract more locals that are  in other areas such as Baltimore & the greater Philadelphia area,  to post more often. 

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20 hours ago, Bart said:

Just out of curiosity, what does the new member approval process look like?   Do you reject people?

It's not so much that people get rejected but that people who don't provide the basic information we ask for don't get approved. Even though the technology and software have changed, it's still the same basic process it's been from the beginning. So, what you did when you joined is pretty much what it still is.

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8 minutes ago, Pat said:

It's not so much that people get rejected but that people who don't provide the basic information we ask for don't get approved. Even though the technology and software have changed, it's still the same basic process it's been from the beginning. So, what you did when you joined is pretty much what it still is.

Also curious: what kind of new member bump does a mention that like produce?

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1 hour ago, TedE said:

Also curious: what kind of new member bump does a mention that like produce?

So far this is about a dozen. There will be more as people who catch up on their reading see the chat later on.  In the earlier days of the site, the bump would be bigger, but the longer we're around the more people already know about us. The forum format isn't so popular anymore either.

The Post article on Don in 2010 (nearly 9 years ago!!!) generated more than ten times this much. Jackie and I were splitting the job then and hadn't been doing it all that long. Were we busy!

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15 minutes ago, Pat said:

It's not so much that people get rejected but that people who don't provide the basic information we ask for don't get approved. Even though the technology and software have changed, it's still the same basic process it's been from the beginning. So, what you did when you joined is pretty much what it still is.

You think I remember that far back?!?!?! 

About the only thing I remember is we had to promise not to be affiliated with a restaurant, and/or admit that we were if we were.  At least I think I remember that!

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1 hour ago, Pat said:

The forum format isn't so popular anymore either.

Interesting.  I've noticed a similar drop off in some music forms too.  Are people chatting about food/music/etc a different way or just not chatting like the old days?

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I think they use instagram or twitter instead.  I prefer the forum format because you can have sustained and in-depth conversations on a topic and it's easy to look back at older conversations.  Instagram and Twitter, everything gets buried quickly and I don't find either of them easy to sort through.

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Q: Inappropriate comments

Tom and chatters, what are your thoughts on the situation described below? Contact a manager, anything else? Restaurant was fast casual type, think TGIF, Applebee’s, something like that. Friends were out to lunch, when they overheard an older man ask the hostess how she “got into those tight pants.” She nervously laughed and said, “I don’t even know.” They felt like they should have said something, but didn’t, and now feel yucky about it. In your opinion, how should one proceed in a situation like this?

A: Tom Sietsema

The moment to act is when the offense occurs. Sounds as if the guy in this scenario is clueless, or taking advantage of a situation.

Esther way, he needed to be be called out, preferably by someone in charge at the establishment:  "Sir, that's a good way to get in trouble in 2019. You owe her an apology."

 

I have no idea what prompted the man to make that comment.  Picture a woman with cameltoe showing which makes an older gentlemen uncomfortable, thus he makes a snide comment.

without knowing the context, i wouldn’t presume it’s sexist/harassment.

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It’s inappropriate. Wildly so. And too bad if cameltoe makes anyone uncomfortable. I see men all the time on the beach in bathing suits that are completely inappropriate for their body size, but it is not my business to say a word. if you are uncomfortable about what someone else is wearing, your job is to shut up. 

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9 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

I have no idea what prompted the man to make that comment.  Picture a woman with cameltoe showing which makes an older gentlemen uncomfortable, thus he makes a snide comment.

without knowing the context, i wouldn’t presume it’s sexist/harassment.

You "don't know the context" but somehow presume there's a cameltoe involved?!?!?  and then you assume the guy was "uncomfortable" by a woman in tight pants?!?!  That's one reading of the situation I suppose, if you supply unmentioned and extraneous details. 

But if you objectively read the quote and if you've been alive anytime in the last 1000 years, I think a much more likely conclusion to make was a dirty old man was clumsily hitting on a much younger woman in tight pants.  And if you've been alive anytime in the last 50 years, you know that tight pants on women (and men) are hardly noteworthy sightings. 

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I didn't presume anything.  In any case, when did the morality congress pass a law against an older man hitting on a younger women in tight pants?  Since when are patrons not allowed to flirt with staff at restaurants/bars?  Since when are people allowed to police clumsy attempts at  hitting on others?  I may cringe at that attempt, but telling someone his/her pick-up line sucks and he/she needs to apologize?  No one said  tight pants on women are noteworthy unless it's somehow offensive.  See Yoga Pants and Camel Toe - Offensive, Funny, or Health Issue?

I also haven't insinuated that you're brain dead simply because you can only read a situation one way. 

ETA: calling someone a "dirty old man" is itself not very "woke."  Horny bastards come in all ages and sexual orientations.  

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I generally think that people saying boorish things are just boors and not usually monsters.  However, hitting on waitrons is really icky.  They depends on your tip to live, so it's essentially an employer/employee relationship.  Unwanted (or even wanted) sexualized remarks play out the same dynamics as a boss making that type of remark to their employee.  

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3 hours ago, astrid said:

I generally think that people saying boorish things are just boors and not usually monsters.  However, hitting on waitrons is really icky.  They depends on your tip to live, so it's essentially an employer/employee relationship.  Unwanted (or even wanted) sexualized remarks play out the same dynamics as a boss making that type of remark to their employee.  

Nailed it. 

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9 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

I didn't presume anything. 

Nothing except the cameltoe and the fact that the guy was uncomfortable.  Those details were nowhere in the original posting. 

9 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

Since when are patrons not allowed to flirt with staff at restaurants/bars?  Since when are people allowed to police clumsy attempts at  hitting on people.

Gimme a break.  The exact same words, delivered in a different manner and with different body language can convey two totally different messages.  I complement people at work on their outfits or hair cuts all the time.  I simply say, "You look nice today" or "Your haircut looks great".  It's to people I know and am friendly with, and it's obviously nothing more than a complement.  I don't look a woman up and down and up again and smack my lips and say "Umm-umm-ummm, you look niiiiceee today.  Grrrrrr"

It's obvious from the poster's reaction that this was more than a throw away, polite compliment. 

It's also interesting that you chose to assign the "uncomfortable" emotion to the man from out of the blue, yet you ignored the poster's description of the hostess' "nervous laugh" 

9 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

I also haven't insinuated that you're brain dead simply because you can only read a situation one way.

Classy.

I know you play the role of the cranky curmudgeon in here a lot, but calling me brain dead* based on my reading of the situation is pretty ironic when fully 1/3 of your original post is presumption/assumption.  You trying to slam me with the opening line of "I didn't presume anything" is rich.  You fundamentally changed the story with your presumptive editorializing.

* Yes, I know you didn't actually call me brain dead, but the implication was clear.

Don - No worries.  I think I'm done with this!

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3 hours ago, Bart said:

I know you play the role of the cranky curmudgeon in here a lot

10 hours ago, Bart said:

You "don't know the context" but somehow presume there's a cameltoe involved?!?!?  and then you assume the guy was "uncomfortable" by a woman in tight pants?!?!  That's one reading of the situation I suppose, if you supply unmentioned and extraneous details. 

But if you objectively read the quote and if you've been alive anytime in the last 1000 years, I think a much more likely conclusion to make was a dirty old man was clumsily hitting on a much younger woman in tight pants.  And if you've been alive anytime in the last 50 years, you know that tight pants on women (and men) are hardly noteworthy sightings. 

[I think Bart is correct - nobody here is brain dead - that's for sure - but I do think there's been a bit of tone-deafness and puerile humor which missed the mark, and that the fuzzy line of personal insult was crossed. Maybe we can all agree to agree on this one, and let it die a quiet death?]

Peace,
Rocks

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6 hours ago, Bart said:

Nothing except the cameltoe and the fact that the guy was uncomfortable.  Those details were nowhere in the original posting. 

Gimme a break.  The exact same words, delivered in a different manner and with different body language can convey two totally different messages.  I complement people at work on their outfits or hair cuts all the time.  I simply say, "You look nice today" or "Your haircut looks great".  It's to people I know and am friendly with, and it's obviously nothing more than a complement.  I don't look a woman up and down and up again and smack my lips and say "Umm-umm-ummm, you look niiiiceee today.  Grrrrrr"

It's obvious from the poster's reaction that this was more than a throw away, polite compliment. 

It's also interesting that you chose to assign the "uncomfortable" emotion to the man from out of the blue, yet you ignored the poster's description of the hostess' "nervous laugh" 

Classy.

I know you play the role of the cranky curmudgeon in here a lot, but calling me brain dead* based on my reading of the situation is pretty ironic when fully 1/3 of your original post is presumption/assumption.  You trying to slam me with the opening line of "I didn't presume anything" is rich.  You fundamentally changed the story with your presumptive editorializing.

* Yes, I know you didn't actually call me brain dead, but the implication was clear.

Don - No worries.  I think I'm done with this!

I presumed nothing.  I posited a potential scenario given the scarcity of the description of the interaction.

I never stated it was a compliment.  You assumed the interaction can be nothing but an older man hitting on his server.  I merely suggest that he could be chiding someone for wearing something perhaps too revealing as a server.  If the latter case is correct, the server would also respond with a "nervous laugh."  Her client is calling her out, how else would she respond other than by nervous laugh.  Even if he was hitting on her, I"m not sure anyone chastising the man would accomplish anything other than create a scene that would disturb even more diners.  You're not the social police tasked with imposing your views of propriety on others.  

I didn't say you're brain dead.  You're the one who insinuated that I was brain dead or a zombie.  My point is, I can disagree with you without taking a cheap shot.  How is it you write something insulting yet you think I'm the one insulting you?

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