I will to cop to harboring a trait or two of Peter Pan syndrome
Speaking of Happy Meals and their ilk, I should be honest and admit that for a brief second or two, I do feel a little self conscious ordering kid's meals - especially when they put them in the little box. After all, the idea behind them is that a child's appetite is smaller than an adult's and therefore they only need a small drink, small fries, and a single patty burger with minimal fixings. But being the consummate iconoclast, I always quickly recover from my initial trepidation and proudly walk to my seat or my car with my "lunch box" eagerly awaiting my meal as well as the toy that awaits me.
To level with you, the real reason I order kids' meals is two-fold. Well, I can be cheap - at least with some things. Sure, I might not hesitate to drop six bills on a new phone, but I see no reason in spending more than I have to on something as trivial as fast food. In fact, I make it an effort to order kids' meals at a number of places. Sometimes I am intimidated - such as when I go to a place like CPK and their menu will say explicitly "12 and under." But really, it's not always about the money. I don't necessarily mind paying a full-size price, and I actually do enjoy a large burger every now and then. However, I really do appreciate the smaller portions that can be had with kids' meals. I don't need all that extra food, and frankly, I don't see why anyone else does either.
Think about this: when McDonald's first went national back in the mid-1950s, what we consider a "Happy Meal" was the only meal most people ordered - what we feed our little tykes today is what grown folks were ordering with regularity 50 years ago (I say little tykes, because chains such as McDonald's actually have intermediate sized kids' meals for the prepubescent members of the family).
So where did we all go wrong?
Forty years of Big-Macs certainly haven't helped. But more recently I have begun to notice an upsurge in commercials driving the idea of masculinity - especially when it comes to food. One commercial in particular that stands out to me is one for Burger King's bacon Double Whopper sporting the tag line "I am Man." In the commercial a bunch of dudes walk all around New York City proudly displaying their manhood in the form of these oversived sandwiches, while singing the song "I am Man," to the tune of Helen Reddy's 1973 feminist anthem "I am Woman." (I know the essence of the commercial has the tongue planted firmly in the cheek, but frankly, I am a bit surprised that Ms. Reddy - or whomever wrote the song - gave permission for its use).
I know it's only commercial, but if you are measuring your masculinity by the size of your burger, then I am assuming your therapist is on retainer.
One of the biggest ironies of this commercial is that almost all of the actors in it are slim (and they're even walking). Yes, I know it's a commercial and their trying to stress the idea that real men eat large, meaty, burgers. Yet truth be told, I would not be surprised if half the gents in the commercial were probably grossed out by the very thought of even biting into the sandwich in the first place.
And that's the meat of the matter.
Well, I gotta scoot.