Give a Hoot, Pass the Wings

By Paul Caputo and Jeffrey Carl

Ersatz Restaurant Reviewers



Hi. We are Jeff and Paul. Some folks say we’re the “Pongo Twistleton of the ‘90s!”

            If you have never heard the expression, “A city is made by its food,” it’s because that’s a rotten expression and no one would ever use it. However, it remains true that one must look at a city’s restaurants before one can really understand a city, and authoritatively say, for example, “This city sucks.” It is for this reason that we, Jeff and Paul, visited each of Richmond’s finest restaurants last week just to run up our lavish Richmond State expense account.

            Well, actually, that’s a lie. The Richmond State couldn’t afford Jeff’s bar tab.  But we did drive past a lot of restaurants on our way to “Hooters.”

            Writing about our visit to Hooters is risky, not only because of its controversial nature, but also because of the possiblity that our girlfriends might read this column. It wasn’t easy to write, because, let’s face it, it’s just hard to think when you’re waist-deep in cleavage.

            But since the mayoral election idea was deep-sixed, we needed something important and thought-provoking to write about besides David Hasselhoff.  In a bizarre coincidence, we just happened to decide to write about something that had a large quotient of scantily-clad girls with large breasts.  Pure coincidence, really.

            Before we go on, we should mention that many people — most of them do-gooder-liberals and other derelicts — do not like Hooters restaurants. The Real Truth is that every word the restaurant chain’s critics have ever uttered has been absolutely 100 percent true.

            The wings really are not that good.

            Furthermore, in a blatant case of false advertising, owls were nowhere to be found on the menu.  So why do people go there?  We had to investigate.

            We arrived late one night at the restaurant on Broad Street (which we’ve heard was named after Hooters).  As we opened the door, a strong gust of cold air blew in on the scantily-clad greeter. 

            It was a sight that every 15-year-old boy on earth figures Heaven looks like.

            The greeter, who we are sure is a wonderful person and a sensitive intellectual, was, through no fault of her own, EXTREMELY attractive. She was wearing an outfit that could only be properly described by males through a series of guttural sounds and mildly obscene hand gestures.

            We, of course, deplore this nonsense.

            We paused a moment and deplored from a couple of different angles, then followed the extremely attractive hostess (Making sure to deplore some more along the way!) to our table.  As we looked around the dining room, we noticed that Hooters was filled with celebrities and other important people. In a booth to the left, we saw Associate Supreme Court Justice David Souter. Then, on the right, we saw hick superstar comedian Jeff Foxworthy, and several other people who were also Jeff Foxworthy.  Also, unsurprisingly, Elvis was there.

            The actual building reflected the spirit of the restaurant. The architecture was sort of Post-Colonial Lincoln Logs, designed by Fisher-Price and decorated by Beavis and Butthead, but without the AC-DC posters. On the walls, which were lined with large multi-colored Christmas lights, there was a series of humorous but obviously fake signs: “Caution: Blondes Thinking,” “Look Out!  There are Many Large Breasts Here!” and “NewsChannel 6 — Coverage You Can Count On.”

             As we sat down, we noticed that one of the waitresses was using the intercom system (a megaphone inside an enormous tin can)  had organized a trivia game for the customers, which they were all actively engaged in ignoring.  An actual quotation follows:


            SCANTILY CLAD HOSTESS: Who discovered the electric light?

            PEOPLE EATING: .....

            (five minute pause)

            PEOPLE EATING: ......

            SCANTILY CLAD HOSTESS: Um, okay, that was, uh, Miles Standish.  Next question!


            We would have preferred an informal version of “The $20,000 Pyramid.” involving her and several of the restaurant’s patrons. The exchange would go something like this:


            “Umm ... these are things on your chest ...”

            “Things which are minty?”

            “You put them in a bra...”

            “Uhhh ... toilet paper?”

            “No ... they have nipples ...”

            “Newt Gingrich?”

            “No ... OK ... ‘Everybody has seen Madonna’s ...”

            “The TV show Sheriff Lobo?”

            “No, no, uh ... PASS!”


            At any rate, when the food eventually came, it was kinda okay.

            So whither the Hooters Controversy?  Recently, the ACLU vowed to fight for men’s rights to work as waitresses at Hooters. The controversy culminated in a Washington D.C. rally that featured many (“eight”) Hooters waitresses chanting catchy slogans (“Hey, ho! Having men as waiters would suck because guys go there to look at our enormous breasts and since guys don’t have enormous breasts — most of them, anyway — we think they should not be waitresses at Hooters!” ... um, OK, maybe the slogans weren’t that catchy) outside the White House until Al Gore had the Secret Service bring them in for “questioning.”

            As semi-responsible journalists, we took a moment to interview our waitress about the male waitress controversy.

            Paul: So, have you had any men come in here to apply for jobs?

            Waitress: You want a job here?

            Paul: No no no. We’re doing an interview for The Richmond State.

            Waitress: The what? You can’t work here, you know.

            Jeff: Will you go out with me?

            During the course of the interview, we discovered some disturbing facts. First, it was revealed that a Hooters waitress earns an hourly wage of $2.13, plus tips, which consist of roughly pocket change and half a pack of chiclets per night.

            The second, even more disturbing fact revealed during the interview was that we had been ogling somebody’s mom.  In fact, our waitress talked about her child at length.  This really brought it home, because Paul and Jeff, oddly enough, both have moms – neither of whom we could imagine working at Hooters. 

            In reality, it’s very difficult to look at the whole Hooters Male Waitresses Controversy and see the restaurant and its current female (very female, we might add) waitresses as the villains.  At least the restaurant is upfront about its purposes: it is designed for guys – who obviously need girlfriends – to come there and feel cool, staring at the surroundings (or, as Paul remarked at one point, nearly spitting out his Ultra Mild Menthol Chicken wing, “There’s ... there’s just ass everywhere!”)  Male waitresses simply don’t fit in.  Every job should be open to both sexes as long as both sexes are qualified.  The qualifications for being a Hooters waitress/waiter are something like this:

            Y   N   1. I have large, floppy breasts.

            Y   N   2. I can fit into really tight shorts that were OBVIOUSLY not designed with the male anatomy in mind.

            Y   N   3. I am suitable to be stared at by guys who aren’t “getting any” but need to prove their manhood while eating chicken wings.

            We’re guessing that most guys would have to answer “no.”  And we don’t want to meet the guys who answered “yes.”