Back when I lived in New York, I often walked by Los Pollitos restaurant in Brooklyn, near my apartment. But even though there were two different Los Pollitos locations within walking distance of my place, I never went to either of them in the entire six years I lived there. Now, I’m pretty sure that was a good move, because it has recently come to my attention that at least one location of the New York chain divides up their cocktail menu by gender. At Los Pollitos 3 in Clinton Hill, boozy beverages with extra alcohol in them like the “Tequila Cadilac” (sic) and “El Toro” are filed under a section headed “For Men”; meanwhile, drinks that are a little lighter on the alcohol, like simple glasses of wine or Kalhua and cream, are filed under “For Ladies.”
Not. Cool. So not cool. Not cool enough that I am having difficulty coming up with a metaphor that accurately describes how astonishingly not cool it is. Seriously. WTF, Los Pollitos?!
The menu headings are apparently relatively new — they’ve only been around for about two weeks — but it’s easy to see that no one bothered to think the whole thing through before instating them. Said manager Marcos Merino to DNAInfo, “The idea was to make people laugh. People get excited about the menu and have fun with it.” Added bartender Leo Vasquez, “A lot of times ladies don’t like to have the strong stuff so this menu is for them. The drinks for women are sweeter with less alcohol.” Vasquez noted that of course, “anyone can order anything,” but that’s not the point.
The issue I have is not with the idea of a restaurant having sections on their drinks menu specifying which drinks tend to be stronger and which ones are a little less booze-tastic. The issue is the fact that they’re categorizing those two types of drinks by gender. It underlines a very real problem regarding the boxes that men and women are still too frequently shoved into — boxes that we should have tossed out long ago. To make matters worse, one man said to DNAInfo about the whole thing that it “makes sense” to him because “it’s women who get so inebriated that they pass out and stumble around.” He added, “It’s safer for them to have drinks with less alcohol.”
Sorry, Leo Jackson. You are wrong. Many men throughout the ages have also gotten “so inebriated that they pass out and stumble around.” In fact, I’m fairly certain that it’s a regular occurrence. So please. Do not try to pass off blatant sexism as a “safety precaution.”
Some have also pointed out that there’s a “For Kids” drink menu, so hey, what’s the big deal? But here’s the thing: Differentiating kids from adults is not at all the same thing as differentiating men from women. Obviously there is going to be a drink menu specifically for kids because no one in their right mind gives a child a blended alcoholic cocktail (other than Applebee’s, that is, and last I checked, they were making an effort to stop incidents like that from happening again). Making the comparison of kids vs. adults and men vs. women is infantilizing to women and flattering to no one.
Why on earth did they need to be called “For Men” and “For Ladies?” Why not something like, “For the Heavyweights” and “For the Lightweights?” Granted, those aren’t the cleverest of titles, but those are just two that I pulled off the top of my head. I’m absolutely positive there are an almost endless number of possibilities out there that would get the necessary information across without causing undue offense to any particular group of people.
Okay. I’m stepping down off my soapbox now. But seriously, Los Pollitos 3 — you might want to reconsider your menu
For the curious, here’s the whole thing in all its awful glory: