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Is Tallywackers Really a Male Answer to Hooters? Not Exactly

Dallas-based Tallywackers: Did somebody order the tube steak?

Dallas-based Tallywackers: Did somebody order the tube steak?

Just as Hooters was never about the wings, nor about the big owl eyes staring out of the double OO logo, Tallywackers isn't about the banana splits plated with a whole banana and two scoops of ice cream, so you know, it looks like a dick.

Billed as the male answer to Hooters, Tallywackers is a Dallas-based restaurant trotting out beefcake boys as waitrons instead of buxom babes, allegedly to give women an opportunity to play the ogler, the way men have been objectifying women since forever. But I'm not buying it. See also: Tilted Kilt Breastaurant Chain Ogles Midwest, Wants to Open 6 Pubs in Minneapolis

Designed around lowest common denominator ideas of male urges: beer, burgers, and boobs, Hooters has enjoyed a long stay in American food culture, and whether you're an enthusiastic patron, a head-shaking quiet sufferer, or a fist-shaking opposer, the place feels as though it's here to stay. The red-blooded American male has an insatiable lust for all three, together if possible (and at Hooters it is), and it took one marketing genius indeed to serve them all up on a beverage tray.

Save for the occasional sloppy bachelorette party, women tend not to be end-users for scantily clad dudes, at least not in public settings. It's not that we don't like such things; we resoundingly do. It's just that we tend to like them in a more organic setting: sweaty jogger sans shirt, construction worker gripping hammer with sculpted arm, Javier Bardem doing whatever Javier Bardem is doing that day. Some silly boy dropping off mini corn dogs (they really serve these) in his skivvies? I'd probably toss him my napkin and tell him to cover his junk.

Sure, Tallywacker's is giggle-worthy, first because it's the stupidest word in the English language; I mean, why not just call it "Dinks?" But also because they're missing one important ingredient in this equation: testosterone.

Unless I'm ovulating, I'm not too interested in package gazing, and frankly, I'd prefer an extra layer of material between a bush of pubes and my wedge salad. Put your jeans back on, son.

I know I sound like a prude, and I assure you I'm not, but I prefer my sex in the bedroom and my food in the kitchen and the two never need intersect (no hot fudge sundaes on my boobies, please) unless it's dinner before a session.

Booty-shorted women serving greasy chicken wings to drooling, beer-gutted goobers in pitted-out T shirts has always had an air of the geisha to it, minus any inherent ritual or glamor. I've never understood why a woman would want to subject herself to such an endeavor, when two inches of orange nylon is the only thing separating her from the pole. Might as well go all the way and make the big money at a strip club rather than endure quarter tips, two-for-one wing night, and an overall air that goosing the waitress here is probably A-OK.

And why would she do it? There's kind of a long and creepy history to the idea that young women are "supposed" to be pretty, especially in the service industry, and the better you look, the tighter your shirt, and the shorter your dress, the more money you'll make, whether or not that is true. Hooters simply stripped back the veil on these truths that we hold self-evident. They're calling a set of tits a pair of owl eyes. Or something. But it doesn't make the institutionalized phenomena of waitress as sex object any less insidious.

But I do have a theory about Tallywackers, and that is that gay men will probably enthusiastically embrace it. Male strip clubs tend to be more heavily populated by other men, and with this model, we have our testosterone back in the mix. Want further proof? The evening entertainment at Tallywackers is a drag revue, the menu is decidedly dude food with hot dogs, burgers, and bacon-wrapped steaks, and most of the news footage featuring the place shows B roll of their customer base: package-gazing other dudes.

And in this context, it sounds like good enough clean fun to me (though male on male objectification is not without its own questionable insidiousness). If some sweet young thing wants to show off his bubble butt for a few extra bucks, that's fine by me, and if they make it to Minneapolis I just might swing by. For research purposes, of course.

But one banana split at Talllywackers is not equivalent to the long, exhausting culture of female objectification in service industry, no matter how strategically you squirt the whipped cream.

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