A small news item in today's local paper caught my eye. In these hard economic times, a coffee shop in Maine has won the battle with the local city council to employ topless wait persons to boost sales. (The G-rated video here)
VASSALBORO, Maine — Cup size has more than one meaning at a new central Maine coffeehouse.
Servers are topless at the Grand View Topless Coffee Shop, which opened its doors Monday on a busy road in Vassalboro. A sign outside says, “Over 18 only.” Another says, “No cameras, no touching, cash only.”
On Tuesday, two men sipped coffee at a booth while three topless waitresses and a bare-chested waiter stood nearby. Topless waitress Susie Wiley said men, women and couples have stopped by.
The coffee shop raised the ire of dozens of residents when it went before the town planning board last month. Town officials said the coffee shop met the letter of the law.
Capitalizing on the female anatomy to sell consumer items from cars to cruises is not remarkable. Topless women serving food and beverages to attract hungry men are not uncommon either. What drew my attention to this little story is the presence of the bare chested male waiter. Is that a selling point too? Does the sight of well sculpted manly pectorals act as an appetite enhancer - for women and gay men, for example? Or is the man shirtless only to prove gender equality so that the cafe is not accused of exploiting female sexuality? It looks like the latter to me. If the man were also a sexual selling point on an equal footing with the women, why does the sanitized video show the female employee covered up for the cameras while the young man at the coffee machine is blithely bare?