Saturday, February 11, 2006

Why Is It Assumed The Woman Drinks Diet Soda?

I've got something on my mind that I really need to get off my chest (so what else is new, right?!).

Whenever my lovely wife Christine and I decide to go out to eat at a restaurant, one of the first things that the waiter or waitress asks is what you would like to drink. Being the gentleman that I try to be, I generally place the order for both of us.

"She'll have a Coke and I'll have a Diet Coke, please."

Most of my readers know how much I LOVE my diet soda despite my dad's exclamation that it is "not good for you" and even this asinine study that claims it makes you more likely to be obese than REGULAR sugary soda! Nevertheless, I keep on buying my favorite diet soda and don't think anything about it.

But I digress from my story...

Invariably, when the drinks are delivered to the table, the server sets the regular soda in front of me and the diet soda in front of my petite wife. I would say this happens 9 out of 10 times we go to a restaurant although I think I make it pretty clear when I order which drink is mine and which one is my wife's.

Why is that? Why do servers automatically assume that the woman is the one who drinks diet soda?

I have a couple of thoughts about this stereotypical conundrum.

First, the image of a supermodel pops into my head (no, not THAT kind of image!). But think about what SHE would be drinking at a restaurant. Is it a regular or diet soda? Well, it's a DIET one, of course. Why? Because she wants to keep that thin figure for herself and avoid consuming sugar which could make her fat.

But now think about a male professional athlete sitting at a restaurant. What's he ordering to drink? Oh, it must be a beer or regular soda. Why? Because he's a "manly man" and doesn't need to consume a DIET anything.

Isn't that what society thinks?

Again, though, I have to ask...why?

Second, people who usually order a diet soda (again, from the stereotypical vantage point) are fat. They are overweight or obese and when they order a diet soda you KNOW it's for them. Sad, but true. But when someone who doesn't look like they need to lose weight orders a diet soda, it takes people by surprise. Why, what do you need to drink diet soda for?

I ran into this exact thing recently when I went to get a haircut. The older gentleman who was cutting my hair was asked by one of his perky, young co-workers if he wanted a Diet Coke.

When he declined, I quickly chimed in, "Then, I'll have his Diet Coke please!"

Of course, I was kidding, but it opened the door for him to ask me the question, "Why do YOU need to drink diet soda?"

My mind was saying "THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!"

Then I explained to him how I used to weigh 410 pounds and was able to lose nearly 200 pounds by giving up sugary sodas in favor of diet sodas. By the time I was finished telling my story, the slightly hefty barber asked me if I thought livin' la vida low-carb could work for him. I encouraged him to give it a try, but that drinking diet soda was a GREAT start!

What do YOU think about the question I have posed regarding diet soda? Can you think of any good reason why it is assumed the woman drinks diet soda and not the man? I REALLY would like to know the answer to that question. Anyone?


Blogger Science4u1959 said...

Personally, I think another factor is that women in general are more health- and especially weight-conscious than men, and most men hence automatically assume the lady is "calorie" (not necessarily health) conscious.

Of course, for a woman being overweight is often a far more serious matter than for men. A woman likes to look and feel good about herself (another thing that's being exploited by the cosmetics industry, after all) and is more focused on achieving that than most men.

I am not sure about the US, but everywhere else I have observed that most obese individuals are men, not women. But I do admit that in the US I saw a lot of overweight ladies as well. In the UK many teenage girls are overweight too.

Especially in Asian countries severe obesity is still relatively rare as diets are more traditional and rich in healthy fats and proteins, not carbs, as popular belief has it. Most obesity and diabetes I see is the "classic" adult-onset diabetes and the often resulting weight gain - but only among the poor and the very wealthy. The poor from overconsumption of cheap white rice and the wealthy from adopting "healthy" Western dietary habits, especially the low-fat fallacy.

2/11/2006 11:07 PM  
Blogger Newbirth said...

My Mom says she had a heck of a time before my sister and I were born ordering milk for herself. She is and always has been a huge milk drinker. Waitresses would forget the milk. Once sis and I were born they assumed the milk was for us and had no trouble remembering.

2/12/2006 10:48 PM  

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