Voice of the Restaurant Industry
Dinner among female friends can often play out like a game of Texas Hold 'em. One woman places an order — grilled chicken salad, dressing on the side. There is a pause. All eyes shift to the woman next to her, suspense building as she carefully weighs her next move. Will she see her? Will she raise her? Another grilled chicken salad it is! And so it goes around the rest of the table until it's clear they are four of a kind. A group of women ordering the same meal seems innocent enough — unremarkable, even — but there's often something far more complicated lurking beneath the surface. "Women are amazingly accurate at knowing how much other women around them eat," says Patricia Pliner, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto at Mississauga. "Whether their friends polish off their plates has a powerful effect on what they eat." This need to consume no less or no more than the next girl is almost visceral — and many who experience it would sooner admit to a cocaine habit than a competitive-eating one."Sad. Sad, but true. The article, co-published in Allure, and written in the typical self-hating style that women's magazines seem to prefer, brought to mind a scene from the 1990 mockumentary "Eating" starring Mary Crosby (remember her from "Tapeheads" and "Knots Landing?"). During a birthday party, a slice of cake is past around a circle of 30 or so women--not one of them daring to eat a piece with the exception of a bulimic woman who disappears to eat hers alone in an upstairs bathroom.