You know what I would absolutely be into if it actually lived up to its name? "Ladies' Night." A night? For ladies? Where Spanx-less gals can congregate and drink and gab and not worry about wandering fingers penetrating us on the dance floor because we were silly enough to leave the house with hair and legs on? Oh, wouldn't that be nice. I don't care much about drink specials and waived cover charges, but if you want to save me some bucks I won't be mad about it. Yay, Ladies Night! It's just like the Korean spa, but with more slow-motion-Butterflying to Ginuwine.
Unfortunately, "Ladies' Night" isn't real—it's actually a euphemism for "Here's a Bribe So You'll Enter Our Meat Market and Serve as Bait for Sweaty Creeps with Dry Boners, We Swear This Is Not a Rape Cave, See, Don't You Like Candles Night (No Fatties)." Sure, women don't have to pay to get in, but the implication is that we'll pay in other ways (vagina-bucks!!!). Fuck all of that.
So, no, I'm not super jazzed about the new trend of "female-friendly restaurants"—steakhouses and sports bars that "cater" to feminine tastes in an effort to stock the place with hot drunk chicks. In other words, a bait-and-switch. It's Ladies' Night as a permanent business model. It might be a smart business decision (I know that plenty of women outside of my magic progressive bubble do like shit like that), but that doesn't mean it's a healthy one. Via Jessica Sidman in Washington City Paper:
It's one thing to distance steakhouses and sports bars from the realm of old boys clubs and guys' nights out. But small plates and sexy décor? If this is what these restaurants believe women want, their target audience should be insulted. In their attempts to appeal to women, restaurants like STK end up condescending to them.
Then again, STK and its ilk aren't really about appealing to women, anyway. They're about using women to attract men. "We wanted to create an environment where girls can go and party," says Devon Mosley, marketing and PR director of The ONE Group, the hospitality company which owns STK. "Truly, our CEO's mentality is where the girls go to play, the men will follow." (No surprise: The CEO, Jonathan Segal, is a man.)
There's something deeply creepy about co-opting the idea of a safe space for women and turning it into a space where women are put on display for male consumption. Instead of tiptoeing outside their comfort zones, men can stay in the same old haunts—steak houses, sports bars—and have women imported under the guise of female empowerment. This isn't a safe space for women—it's a safe space for men. Because we all know how fragile the horny male ego can be. It's like fucking Hansel and Gretel—"Oh, here's this house made of cookies, come inside! PSYCH, IT'S A WITCH'S OVEN. YOU'RE FOOD NOW." It's like Sylvester and Tweety Bird. Wasn't Sylvester always disguising his mouth to look like a cozy bird livingroom? So Tweety would go in it and take a nap on the mouth-couch and then CHOMP.