Adventures in Grocery Shopping

So we’re babysitting our friends’ six kids tonight, and in a rare fit of dessert-related laziness, I headed out to the store for frozen cookie dough. Touring the frozen section, I ran across, a propos of the previous post and its documentation of porn’s general mainstreaming…

Hooters Buffalo Shrimp.

See? Hooters is just another restaurant, another Fridays, another chain looking to break into the grocery-store market. Outside the ginormous Hooters in San Diego’s Mission Valley, there’s one of those carnival-style cutouts which you can poke your face through for a picture. The images that your face can adorn? A Hooters Girl and a little kid holding a balloon. See? It’s a family place! That’s why, in the Syracuse Carousel Mall, there’s a Hooters right next to the working, antique carousel that gives the mall its name. ‘Cause nothing says family like cleavage and hot pants!


  1. Matt, isn’t calling Hooters porn is a little bit of a stretch? I mean, compared to the rancid things available, Hooters i pretty much G. I don’t know the definition of porn, but I think it is more than a little cleavage and some tight-fitting shorts. Guys go in there, eat wings and drink beer. Attractive women serve them the beer and treat them well. The men leave happy. Isn’t that a pretty innocent fantasy?

  2. Matthew Lickona says

    I didn’t call Hooters porn. I said it contributed to the mainstreaming of porn. It contributes to the normalization of using women’s sexuality as an economic come-on. Sex has been used to sell stuff since forever, of course, but this is a particular treatment of women’s sexuality. A restaurant in Hollywood might be staffed by nothing but beautiful wannabe actresses. Is the gorgeous waitstaff part of the appeal? Sure. But it’s something else to put your waitstaff in tight t-shirts cut low to show off their breasts, and tight short shorts to show off their asses. Now you’ve descended into something cruder – using parts to sell. The place is called Hooters for a reason. And when you start reducing a woman to sexually appealing parts, you’re into a pornographic mentality. And when you have the waitress asking “Who wants head?” as she pours the beer – that’s from a story I read on the place – then you’re further into a pornographic mentality.

    Still, you’re right that Hooters isn’t porn. But when Dad takes the boys to Hooters for a family dinner, what’s he teaching them about the use and function of women? That’s what I mean.

  3. Matthew Lickona says

    Oh, heck, I hate to go on and on, but I want to be clear. Yes, Hooters is fairly tame as far as this sort of thing goes. But my point in the original post was that Hooters is trying to pass itself off as just another chain-style family restaurant – and not simply as a place where guys go to drink beer and ogle women. It’s not just another family-style restaurant. It’s a restaurant that uses real live T&A to sell its product. It shouldn’t be across from a mallspace devoted to children – a carousel. And when Mom or Dad brings home Hooters Buffalo Shrimp from the grocery store, that reinforces the “just another restaurant” image.

  4. Bravo Mr. Lickona!!

  5. andrew smillie says

    The popularity and mainstreaming of Hooters restaurants and their brands is a sad commentary on our hyper-sexual culture; a culture that spurns modesty and taste in favor of lewdness and indecency. Hooters paints an ignoble and tasteless picture of modern man’s desires.

    BTW…they wear shorts, not hot pants…

  6. Matthew Lickona says

    The wise man distinguishes… I stand corrected. Though I will protest that in the comments, at least, I referred to them as short shorts…

  7. The last time I went to a Schaumburg Flyers (very minor league baseball) game, it was “Family Night”. Which meant that between innings, they had 4-year old kids come onto the field to play ring-toss games for Hooters paraphenelia.

    I had to imagine that Saint Alexius, after whom the stadium was (indirectly) named, was not pleased.

  8. I will stay out of the debate on porn, but must comment that I am extremely disapointed in your purchase of frozen cookie dough. After reading your book I had hoped for more! I had closed the book with an image of you covered in flower with kids on the counter and you working on a baked alaska or something, with the wife nursing baby on the couch. Don’t you think that running to the store took more time than whipping up a batch of cookies from scratch? Oh well, the trip did provide blog fodder.
    In case your wondering “who the heck..?” (maybe bloggers don’t think that..) we did meet once, when I was maybe 15, in my pre-TAC days, and you climbed up a fire escape in La Jolla with me, my sister and a Croatian in order to get a better view of the ocean. So, I bought your book read it, loved it (so did my husband,) maybe because many of the images were so familiar (attended many a mass with Fr. Louis, was married at OLR by Fr. Neely.) And now, I live north of Cortland, not San Diego, and on occasion, when the kids are occupied, I find myself reading your blog, and think to myself “gee, I wonder if he remembers climbing onto that building..?”

  9. Matthew Lickona says

    Mama Teresa,

    I swear, I was all set to pound out my basic chocolate bundt cake, but I was voted down by the wife (who holds veto power). She wasn’t up for handling the ten kids (plus the one in her belly) while I puttered about in the kitchen. It was a rare slip – even Homer nods, as Mom used to say. Heck, most cookies around here are made by First Son! We’re baking fools!

    Of course I remember you, and your differences with your sister on the question of getting married. (“I’ll never get married” was her take on the matter, if memory serves.) That evening may have been my first experience of the La Valencia hotel – that was the building we climbed, no? I was taken by the place, so much so that it was also the site of my brief honeymoon with the wife – we had bungalow three, a standalone structure with a balcony that has since been remodeled out of existence. Thanks for stopping by, and so glad you liked the book!

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