In April 2020, Kirsty Fan was scouring the web for great places to visit on an upcoming trip to Spain, when she came across a restaurant that sold pancakes in the shape of a rod.
“Oh my God,” she said, yelling at her boyfriend. “This is so much fun. We absolutely should have this in Toronto.”
The rest, she says, is history.
Since its successful, albeit brief, pop-up in the summer, her members-only company Waffle House has been spinning heads — and maybe a belly or two — as posts about chocolate-covered “members”, as Fan calls them, providing meaning for the phrase “dick pic”. “.
Social media has been running wild with shots of waffles. Thick, round, erect and with bumps and bulges in all the anatomically correct places, they look remarkably like the real things. Especially when it is sprinkled with a bit of melted white chocolate. Pun intended, they made some pretty confusing pictures, gifs, and videos as millennials sort and lick them. Repeatedly.
“Can’t believe I’m saying this, but these look good as hell,” one user posted on Twitter.
“It looks delicious,” one commented, “but I think I’ll enjoy the privacy of my home.”
“Concentrated syrup???” “A real adult human chicken,” says one user who treated him on Twitter.
Another user adds: “Very exhausting to find out abt where my penis is today, who asked for it and why I had to see it and when we’re going to leave I feel like I’ve been here long enough.”
While Van may only be the first local retailer to bring edible bars from the sex shop into the mainstream food scene, it is unclear whether it is part of an emerging food porn trend (not necessarily to be confused with food pornography), or About to set one. Or whether this pose in the form of phallic food is just a gimmick that never fails to age.
In 2017, a Bangkok food stall was selling a dish called Pho Hai Mai, which happened to be a Thai phrase apparently meaning “I got it from my father,” and was a rod-shaped cake, according to a public article in HuffPost. In 2019, the Spanish, English-language newspaper The Local revealed a “new food frenzy” when a restaurant called La Polleria caused a stir – and long lines of customers wanting to sample one of their sticky and bland “waffles”.
It’s not clear if this mixture-led phenomenon has deeper socio-culinary roots, if pancakes are easy to turn into body parts or if someone somewhere is trying to sell the female version of this treat.
Lauren Bialystok, associate professor of ethics and education at the University of Toronto, hopes that’s not the case.
She said, “I’d be a little upset if there was a vagina on a stick, even if it was an invitation to encourage and educate people about cunnilingus.”
Reducing men to penis-shaped candy does not dehumanize them as it does to women, who were reduced to parts of their bodies long ago, simply because men are not as oppressed as women, Bialystok said. But she said these penis-shaped sweets are still immature, worrisome, and regressive.
On the other hand, Bialystok said she didn’t want to worry about a waffle. And she doesn’t think this is a cause for panic or scandal or any reason for these members to hide away from all of our “innocent guys”, who she added are not as innocent as we think.
On the other hand, it has not been influenced by what it calls “the oldest feminist view”: the penis is the culmination of power and pleasure. Photographing the penis in this way, she said, is just another reminder that “we still live in a centrist culture.”
“Haven’t we made enough progress to stop joking in the locker room?”
Joking aside, as a business, this product also “completely rejects the real dangers of looking at body parts and looking at sexual activity that way,” Bialystok said.
This penis shape reinforces the same tired narrative of “having the penis to enter the vagina to release sperm,” said Judith Taylor, professor of sociology, gender, and women’s studies. If she’s on her way, she said, members-only Waffle House will have different molds in different shapes, as well as “anal waffles, breast pies, and vulva pies.”
Part of the emerging feminist narrative right now, Taylor said, “is enjoying a penis, being sexually aroused, and playing with having one yourself.” In this way, these pancakes can be part of a new frontier of desire thinking. She said the penis has long been used as an instrument of domination, war, and fear, as well as to incite shame against men with questions like “How big is your penis?”
Having a waffle in the public domain, she said, removes the air from all that stress. “It deflates. The idea of a separate anther that you can eat and wear in syrup or other types of garnish is actually quite feminist and funny.”
David Superman, professor of marketing at the Rotman School of Management, does not argue that there is a certain portion of the population that will gravitate toward these particular rewards. But he does not see rewards as a constant force. Or make a path for other food entrepreneurs to do the same and deliberately mold other types of food into sexual organs.
“As an edible product, the waffles you eat regularly in the morning, they are unique,” he said. This shock value may last for a certain period of time. But the appeal of a product like this is likely to fade.”
He noted that it may be somewhat offensive to many residents.
“Is that something you would bring to where a group of people are?” He said. not thought so.
“There will probably be many more people who will want to see it and be photographed with it, rather than eat it,” he said.
Fan said she has had a positive response so far to the waffle poles and is amazed at all the support. Really, she said, all she did was get an idea and put it out there — “plant a seed.” But she didn’t think much of the feminist side of her business.
At the time of her pregnancy – Hardy Hare – she was looking, casually, for something entrepreneurial to mine. Fan, who also works in the fashion industry, took a few courses, including digital marketing, but nothing came together until she saw waffles on the rod. “I imagined that if my daughters and I went to a place like this, we would totally take pictures and laugh so hard,” she said.
When COVID-19 forced her and her boyfriend to cancel their trip to Spain, she decided to give it a try. Now, after the toll of the virus, and the isolation and segregation of people, you think these funny things are a good way to cheer up a shattered society and help rebuild it. “What better way to bring people together than by enjoying this strange moment.”
That’s exactly what you see in her shop: couples laughing as they share weird looks. Families take pictures, even with their children. Of course, if the kids are too young for the experience, she said, only members always have cookies — free, she said — so no one is left empty-handed.
Open four days a week now at 252 Queen St. W., near John Street – Thursday through Sunday 3pm to 10pm – fans hope people will stop by for dessert or eat on the way home from work. Members only offer two items, both $11 each: Founding Member, a homemade Belgian waffle dipped in semi-sweet Belgian chocolate and covered in white chocolate, and VIP, which are the same pancakes, but customized. Customers can choose from a variety of colorful melting chocolates, including caramel and ‘sapphire pink’. They could also add sprinkles “just on the edge, Van said,” or “all the way around.” The possibilities are endless.”
If people are offended, she said she welcomes comments, noting that she has long known that it is impossible to please everyone. She said her main concern at the moment is to make sure to create a great customer experience. “I want to focus on leaving a smile on everyone’s faces.”
Correction – January 12, 2022: David Superman is Professor of Marketing at the Rotman School of Management. An earlier version of this article mentioned the Rotman School of Business.
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