Monday, June 11, 2012

Is Gay Dinnertime Different than Straight Dinnertime?

Is gay dinnertime different than straight dinnertime? I know that might sound like a ridiculous question. But I'm going into details below to show why I'm asking.

I'm not sure when gay men in other parts of the country normally eat dinner, but I know what they do here, in NY and Philadelphia, and in places like South Beach, Key West, and Palm Springs. I know this is common in Boston and Maine and Provincetown as well.

What prompted this post was a status update I saw on facebook last week from a local friend of mine, a gay man. I have a lot of friends on social media, and many of them live right here in New Hope and have known me for a long time. And this particular friend I'm talking about is 27 years old, so I don't think age really matters with this topic. I have friends in their 70's who I know feel the same fact I find that they feel even stronger about this topic.

My friend posted something to the effect of this:

Having a late brunch and enjoying the peace and quiet.

This happened two Sundays ago, and it was at 5:30 pm. I clicked "like" and then told Tony these friends were having a late brunch. We never gave it a second thought because we've had late brunches like this ourselves many times.

But a few hours later I noticed a few people had commented on my friend's status update. One, a straight woman friend of his, said something to the effect of this:

lol...that sounds more like an early supper to me.

Others commented the same way and I started to see a pattern. I've seen this pattern before, too. Tony and I have straight friends and lesbian friends and whenever we go out to dinner with them we always expect to go early. We do it because we like them, but neither one of us is fond of eating dinner before 8:30 pm. And the dinner reservations with the straight friends and lesbian friends are almost always set for 6:30 and 7:00 pm. We're finished by nine and it's like WTF do we do now. It's too early to go out anywhere. It's too early to go home to bed. And it confuses the hell out of our poor dogs.

Again, I'm only talking about the places with which I'm familiar. It might be different in other parts of the country or world. But I know gay men/couples who dread going out with straight couples and lesbians for this early bird special reason. Tony and I aren't like that. We're more than willing to accommodate our frustrating as it can be sometimes. (I'm actually not hungry that early, so I sit and pick at my food and wind up either taking it home or they take it away...and then I'm hungry at 10 o'clock and Tony sends me a look.) And, once in a while it would be nice for one of our straight or lesbians friends to accommodate us for a change and make a dinner reservation at 9:00 instead of 6:30.

We never have this problem with the gay men we know. When we plan on getting together for dinner we just assume it will be after 8:00. Sometimes Tony and I don't eat dinner during the week until after 9:00. And I'm wondering if this is the pattern everywhere? And if all gay men are like this? I'm sure we can't be the only ones, because I know for a fact that a gay couple who live near us have flatly refused to go out with certain people anymore because they eat too early.


WritingInBako said...

I had never thought of this until you mentioned it. When Kate and I have dinner, either at home or out and about, food is in front of us by 6:30 at the latest. As for what to do after dinner, I like writing all fat and happy from a great meal and of course there is option of sex before bed and getting to sleep at a sane time. I am up every morning by 4:00 to 5:00 and in my office by 6:00 because that is how I can juggle a full-time job and be a full-time student. My father and Duke always eat later when Duke is in town, but my father makes his own work schedule so he can sleep in. I have lesbian friends but I do not hang out with them largely because I find it hard to relate to them in the first place. Yes, that is a personal bias. Saturday night the Darringer household had an impromptu sausage party. Kate was away for the weekend and my brother Kyle, his partner Jerrick and a couple of gay friends wanted to grill sausages and have an all-gay dinner. It is my house so I invited my dad and his partner Duke and they brought a couple of friends too. Before anyone screams "orgy" it was a barbecue with drinks and great fun and laughter among a dozen or so gay men. We ate at 10:00pm.

Matthew Darringer

Shelagh said...

Maybe it's different in the UK, but I'd always thought it was couples with kids that ate earlier. I know we used to eat 2-3 hours later before the kids came along; now, it tends to be between 18:00-19:00. If me and the hubby are eating out on our own, then we will always eat later.

ryan field said...

@Matt...It's interesting, because we had dinner with my sister and brother-in-law and she thought 7:00 was late, so we made it for 6:30. And I knew older gay guys, a couple, who even ate Thanksgiving dinner at 9:00. And that's usually a day all people tend to eat earlier.

@Shelagh...You're right about that. With kids people tend to eat earlier. But a lot of the gay men I know don't have kids. We see this a lot in novels...I write about it...but very few of my gay couple friends in the real world have kids.

Thommie said...

Hmmm, well here in Greece, dinner-time depends on your working hours. If you wake up early to go to work, say 4am, then one has all his meals early too. For my part though I've never seen someone have dinner at 6:30, exept my own father, and even couple with kids eat later. When I go out to have dinner with friends, we're always out of the door at 9:00 and we're done at about 11/11:30 followed by clubs or "bouzoukia" (greek enertainment centers. I'm not even sure that restaurants serve dinner here that early...

WritingInBako said...

I think the reason straight people eat early is as was said because of children. Kidless (sic) dating straight couples tend not to eat early, but kids are typically in bed early and they have to be fed so the parents tend to eat early too. It may just be a habit that is not unlearned when the kids grow up. I will guarantee as more gay men marry and have families, the late night dinners will fly out the window.

Matthew Darringer

ryan field said...

@ Matt..."I will guarantee as more gay men marry and have families, the late night dinners will fly out the window."

You're probably right about that. Tony and I used to have more gay friends. But a lot were older than us and they've retired and moved to places like Palm Springs or Wilton Manors. We now have about as many straight friends as gay friends and we do things differently than we did fifteen years ago.

@Thommie...Thanks for commenting. I was curious about how things were done in other countries.

Sara York said...

Kids make all the difference. Now that we've moved to the east coast everything is later though. We eat lunch late, dinner late go to bed later. Once we get into a house it may change, but who knows.

ryan field said...

I think different stages of life make a difference. And moving is one of them. On vacation Tony and I have different patterns...of course we haven't taken a vacation in five years...which needs to change soon.

Kathy H said...

I agree different stages in our life we have had our dinners at different times. Before we had children we ate when we felt hungry, so it would vary. Kris was in the Navy so when he was out to sea I fed the kids early so I was able to have quiet time to accomplish extra chores . When he would return from out to sea we would adjust our eating schedule to fit his work schedule. Now that are children are grown we eat much later. Last night we ate at 9pm. When we lived on the eat coast resturants closed later so we ate out later.

Honestly if I had friends that wanted to eat later I would be glad to accomodate them. I would just have a small snack in the later afternoon to tide me over till dinner. I don't think it too much too to make compromises for friends. I honestly don't care what time I eat if the company is good and we have a great time, I would rather have my friends tell me we just can't eat early rather than loose their company for dinner.

ryan field said...

I feel the same way about it. If I have friends that eat early, I'd rather spend the time with them. And, I just thought about this. When we play poker we usually eat earlier to get the food out of the way so we can play cards.

A.B.Gayle said...

Very interesting info which I will squirrel away for future reference. Thanks Ryan.

If you used the term brunch for late night supper, you'd confuse the hell out of an Aussie, as to us brunch is a 10 to 11.00am meal half breakfast, half lunch.

It's definitely a kid thing or for older people a "what time do I need to get up in the morning" thing.

My twenty five year old daughter who has a Chinese boyfriend, often eats with his family and friends and never leaves to join them before 8pm.

ryan field said...

"My twenty five year old daughter who has a Chinese boyfriend, often eats with his family and friends and never leaves to join them before 8pm."

That's interesting.