Tuesday, September 16, 2008

No Justice, No Piece

The most important sexual equality movement of the 21st century got under way just over a week ago when a stay-at-home dad from Austin stepped into a pizza-and-play joint and noticed that Monday's special was "Moms Eat Free." At the cashier, his meal wasn't comped, so he casually mentioned that he thought it was "Parents Eat Free" night.

"No," the cashier replied, "that special is only for moms."

"So when do dads eat free?"

"We don't have that special. We're working on it."

He worked up enough outrage to get his kid's meal comped, and then reported the incident to his SAHD brethren. It was clear that the first salvo had been fired in a critical battle for social justice.

Next came a SAHD to a playdate at the same pizza-and-play joint. He was filling in for his wife with her Moms' Group, and was the only dad there. The Moms' had reserved a room. When he was charged, he asked about the Monday special and was also told, this time by the manager, that it was only for moms.

Half an hour later, sitting in the room with 20 moms and 27 kids, he tells his story. The manager who charged him happened to be in the corner of the room when he told his tale, and all eyes turned to him.

"Did you ask him?" one of the moms inquired.

"Yes," came the reply. "That's the guy who told me it was only for moms."

20 moms, 7 of them pregnant, bored their eyes into the manager's skull until he could do nothing but sheepishly mumble "I'm sorry, that's the way my boss told me..." and skitter away.

To exact some measure of justice from the situation, the dad ate as much pizza as he could. He was sick for a couple of days, but he was proud to take that hit for his fellow SAHDs.

From here, a course of action was discussed. Some suggested a polite email campaign. Some suggested a picket line, with the singing of "Cum Bay Yah" and "Alice's Restaurant." Some took the opportunity to go off-topic and complain again about people asking "Do you have babysitting duty today?" or "Giving Mom a break, huh?" The rancor increased. The bitterness flowed.

Within days, the email campaign netted results. The Vice President of Marketing, it was reported, wanted to reach out and was going to call one of the leaders of the pack group. A cheer of victory was heard across the internet!

In the end, of course, victory was not to be had. The VP explained the original intention of the promotion, and it was never meant to give free meals to walk-in customers; it was intended to encourage regularly scheduled outings of groups, like the Moms' Group playdate. In practice, it comes down to the interpretation of the policy by the person working the register, which regrettably leads to inequitable application. The VP was not in a position to change policy company-wide, and was not inclined to do so anyway. He was, however, willing to schedule outings with the Austin SAHDs and make them dads-eat-free.

Which of course means spending money, which was entirely against the spirit of the original movement. So the dream of free pizza was born into the minds of a Manly Group of Men, and then the dream was cruelly ended. But keep on fighting the good fight, men, and some day, some where, the Pepperoni Shall Be Freed!


Living In a Girl's World said...

Okay, I think you lost me at the end. They were willing to schedule a "dad's group" day for dad's to enjoy the benefit too.

Is your point that on "mom's day" if dad shows up they won't comp dad, and if on "dad's day" they won't comp moms?

I might be too tired to be reading this right. Help me understand!! :) I'm confused!!

The Other Lion said...

I don't get it. If you are part of a group where all of the other parents eat free, then who cares if you have ovaries or not? That pisses me off.

I, Rodius said...

Yeah, I think the dad who was there as part of the Moms' Group kinda got screwed, but as for the rest of it, I think the dads were mostly hoping to be able to go somewhere for lunch and only pay for their kids' meals. They weren't looking for their own Dads' Day, just to get the same treatment on the Moms-eat-free Mondays. But the Moms-eat-free Mondays weren't what they appeared to be, and faced with a reasonable, non-sexist explanation as to why that wasn't going to happen, the fervor done fizzled.

It cracks me up how many of these dads get worked up over the world not getting their alternative lifestyle choice. You choose to live in a way that by definition isn't part of the template through which a lot of people view the world, and then get upset when they don't immediately recognize what you're doing. You want to think I'm just filling in for the day, that's no skin off my nose.

But if you're a publicist who wants me to shill your junk, you might want to demonstrate that you've actually read my site. I think that's different, as far as complaining about not getting that I'm a dad, not a mom.

Living In a Girl's World said...

Thanks for clarifying!! I agree with the publicist thing. Number one thing to remember: Know your audience!

btw glad JR saved the day in the car!

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