HOOTING AT HOOTERS

It is hard to go through life being serious about everything, but I have had a go of it. The things that interest me tend to be serious. My time in the navy and as a frogman, my subsequent career as a semiconductor engineer, being the sole wage-earner, helping raise my two sons and a daughter, and keeping the wolf from the door, food in the pot, and a roof over our heads, were all serious matters. Not that I didn't have fun doing it, nor appreciate the humor of all we did, but I was determined and persistent in my approach to life.

When the kids were grown, I'd lost my job, and we owed nothing but a modest mortage on the house, it became time to let go. Nobody gave a hang what I did anymore, told me how to it, when to get it done, or paid me for it. Unfortunately, I was stuck with the habits of a working lifetime: now that I could look on things with amusement, I didn't know how.

Casting around for help, I found it in the newspapers, television, and magazines. It wasn't the comic section, TV comedies, or humor magazines that provided the lift. No, it was generally straight news items that were hilarious if taken with a whimsical sense of humor.

One such is a recent headline with the title, Hooters Settles Sex Discrimination Lawsuit. This article provides details of a $3.75M settlement, $2M of which went to the plaintiffs and $1.75M to the lawyers. The suit listed a complaint against Hooters for turning down men who aspired to waiting tables, and was filed under the grounds of sex discrimination. Seven men had filed suit, saying their inability to get jobs as Hooters waitresses violated federal law. After a four year investigation, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, EEOC, said it had more important cases to consider, though it did recommend the chain also hire men for the jobs. The recent award was an agreement that provided compensatory settlement for loss of wages suffered by men. It removed the matter from the dock.

Underlying the general mirth and ribald humor that relates to this suit, there is also an easily forgotten dismay that Hooters patrons won't find mustachioed, tatooed musclemen in sexy T-shirts and shorts taking their orders.

What is perhaps most significant about this monumentally lunatic affair is that it was not only taken seriously, but resulted in a payment of roughly $280,000 to each male taking party to the suit. I don't know the number of lawyers that participated in this preposterous lampoon and judicial hoax, nor the extent of their time and expenses, but would guess several of them received in excess of half a million dollars for their selfless dedication to gender equality and devotion to justice. Is there no-one besides myself who says, "Bah, Humbug!", derides the current politically correct viewpoint that all gender inequalities are redressable in court, and stops pretending the Emperor is fully clad?

The issue is nude, even if Hooter's waitresses are not. Thus far, we have not held wet T-shirt contests in America for men, and most likely shouldn't for anyone, but they are probably legal and harmless under our constitution. The worst that may be said of them is that they are of unquestionably poor taste, are eyed appreciatively by males of all persuasions, and show how basically idiotic men are about attractively developed females. None of that breaks the law. Looked at objectively, Hooters stages a permanent dry T-shirt contest in the form of enticingly clad waitresses. The franchise restaurant chain does a good business with them as a draw. Individual owners, who care more for making a buck than pioneering social trends, insist the male form, so dressed, just hasn't the same appeal. In this unjust world in which we dwell, they are probably right.

Why did it take my government four years to officially label all this hokum as the nonsense it is? After all, much of real importance can be accomplished in four years.

World War II, which began for America on December 7th, 1941, and ended in August, 1945 with the surrender of Japan, took less than four years. Really. And though I was a boy of ten when it started, I can guarantee such frivolous carping, had it been permitted at all during those serious and purposeful times, would have been handled rapidly.

People who feel our nation's willingness to dignify and ponder such silliness is progress do themselves and us a disservice. Long ago, the question of how many angels could rest on the head of a pin was debated at length by pious men who might better have spent their time. The group of them would have laughed aloud at the Hooters sex discrimination case, which their judicial and bureaucratic brethren handled centuries later with the same unjustifiable gravity.

How can any man remain serious when society feeds him so much unintentional hilarity?.


Sam Orr sorr@metrolink.net
World Traveler
and Philanthrope
(Location Unknown)