Last night going through the drive thru at Taco Bell I ordered a common order for me: 3 tacos. But for some reason the automatic follow-up question caught my attention in a different way than ever before.
“Would you like those tacos soft or hard shell?”
I paused for a few seconds wondering, “What does it say about a person who chooses “soft” over “hard” shell? Or vice versa?
Maybe “soft” taco types tend to be liberal and soft –almost effeminate. And maybe “hard” shell taco types are more conservative politically, like to stick with tradition and the status quo and more manly sounding food options.
And then I thought, Besides, that seems like a very personal question anyway.”
I was interrupted in deep thought, “Sir, soft or hard shell?”
I was relieved I got a sir and not a “ma’am” which happens more than I’d like to admit.
So, I dug deep for my lowest, slowest, manliest hard shell taco voice, and played it safe, “Hard shell” I said, Almost as if it was an insult to be asked. And to emphasize the kind of gringo they were dealing with, I added, “And make that a regular, not diet coke.”
I was relieved I hadn’t put an Obama bumper sticker on my car yet, which could have undermined the entire subliminal impact of my dinner order.
Sometimes men just have to get in touch with that primitive part of their masculinity—of what makes us men.
It’s a nature thing that modern social customs can limit but not remove. And last night I embraced it.
And if anyone in the Taco Bell kitchen overheard my order and my voice–and the “regular coke” exclamation point I added, it was unmistakeable that, yeah, that’s right, there was one bad alpha male about to pull up at the drive thru window.