|"Give us your small, snack-sized livestock or I will smite thee!"|
The thing about Romans, Vikings and British kings is that they ultimately became role models for would-be gladiators and monarchs everywhere. In other words, me. I would have been an excellent Viking, and I'm sure I could have a rocking beard if I gave it half a chance. For a long time, I definitely ate like a Viking, the approving nods of my buddies.
Then I discovered Weight Watchers. Now I turn up my nose when faced with the meat buffet. I rarely eat a sandwich, and I like salad an awful lot. Clearly a sissy of epic proportions! Real men eat sides of beef all at once, and they surely don't eat quiche. Actually, I don't eat quiche either because it has way too much butter in the crust and is full of hidden calories. Gracious me. Am I so far on the unmanly eating scale that I'm to the left of the quiche eater? That is troubling indeed.
Think I'm making this manly eating stuff up? Witness yet another fascinating experiment by that clever Wansink over at the Cornell school of test subject deception. He and his colleagues have done a number of experiments in which they observe people eating popcorn in movie theaters. In one experiment they found that when women paid attention to how much popcorn they were eating, they ate less. Makes sense, right? Apparently, not for us super-smart men. When guys indicated that they were paying attention to how much popcorn they were eating, they ate more. Seriously.
However, his second experiment was even more telling. They did an ingenious experiment in which they wrote a script/story of a guy on a date. They randomly assigned people to read one of two versions that were different from each other in only one seemingly minor way. In one version, the guy in the story ate a couple of handfuls of popcorn. In the other, he ate almost all of his popcorn. They conducted the survey with 140 college men and 140 college women. Here were the results:
- College men: the guy in the version of the story that ate almost all of his popcorn was consistently rated as stronger, more aggressive and more masculine than the two handfuls guy. In fact, when asked how much they thought he could bench press, the full popcorn guy could bench an average of 21 pounds more. Holy Toledo. The popcorn was not even a central point of the story, which was a fairly detailed account about a guy on a date. The seemingly subtle difference on how much popcorn he ate was enough to give him a 20lb bench advantage. I am doing a chest workout tomorrow morning, and I'm seeing a movie with my kids today. I just might have to check this out.
- College women: They didn't rate either version of the guy as either stronger or more masculine. In other words, the notion that women care about how much we guys eat seems over-rated, at least in this experiment.