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It’s not just about the chicken

| Monday, November 9, 2015

After a long day of accomplishing less than I intended, I like to drown my feelings of inadequacy in a warm hodgepodge of chicken poppers, mashed potatoes and vegetables submerged in a pool of gravy.

My wildest dreams came true last Saturday night. I stood in the popper bowl line behind a male student about 6-feet tall of medium build and watched the lady make his bowl. I saw her bury his plate with the goods along with six pieces of the best part of the meal: the chicken poppers. My eyes lit up as I witnessed what I thought was the standard popper bowl.

To my dismay, when I stepped up to receive my popper bowl, I found a single scoop of mashed potatoes and a mountain of peas and corn masking only four chicken poppers. I was disappointed at my measly serving and at the fact that this lady (very wrongly) assumed I could only eat two-thirds of the serving of chicken poppers the man before me received.

I thought maybe I was being irrational until I turned to look at the popper bowl of the male student who was in line behind me. He opted for both types of chicken: grilled and popper. I, once again, mistakenly assumed he would receive less of one type since he asked for both types of chicken. North Dining Hall continued to prove me wrong as the lady gifted him six pieces of chicken on top of the pile of grilled chicken already on his plate.

As I dealt with my annoyance at the fact that this man housed an entire farm on his plate while I tended to a garden of canned vegetables on mine, my friend came up to me with the same complaint. Her popper bowl consisted of only four pieces as well.

We laughed about it for a while and realized next time we would have to just ask for extra chicken in order to receive the male standard of six poppers. However, this seemed ridiculous.

Adopting this worker’s mentality that a woman eats a third less food than a man does on average, should my meal plan cost approximately 66 percent of a male student’s? Wouldn’t it be easier to enforce a default number of poppers across the board, indiscriminate of personal assumptions of how much chicken someone can eat? Is it too radical of an idea to ask someone how much chicken they would like?

Maybe this was an isolated experience and maybe it was just this one worker. Or maybe I’ve been stressing about this Inside Column for so long that I used it as an excuse to magnify any sort of conflict in my life. Maybe I’m hangry from the two chicken poppers I missed out on. Whatever the reason, I will say this:

It’s not just about the chicken, you guys.

Selena Ponio is a news writer. She can be reached at sponio@nd.edu 

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Selena Ponio

Selena Ponio is from Dallas, Texas and is currently a senior at the University of Notre Dame. She is the Associate News Editor for The Observer. Selena lives in Breen-Phillips hall and is majoring in International Economics with a concentration in Spanish and is minoring in Journalism, Ethics & Democracy.

Contact Selena