As I walked into the Starbucks and set down my stuff, I questioned whether this would be a good place to start my field notes assignment. It was the least crowded Starbucks I have ever seen. It’s the same shop Rochelle and I interviewed at – I thought this would be appropriate because she gave me some observations about this specific location.
There is an older man sitting with his laptop and no earphones in. He has grayish-brownish hair and a brown and green plaid suit jacket on. He looks very focused, like he had been there for a while. There are two women sitting together, one on her phone and the other on her laptop. The woman on her phone is wearing a black dress and is talking to the woman on the laptop and also the person on the other line. There is one mother and son sitting together at another table. The boy looks about four and his is wearing a green sweater, dark jeans, and green — maybe the hulk — sneakers that light up as he hits his feet against the legs of the chair. His mom looks like she could be in her late twenties and is also wearing dark jeans with a black blazer and tan sandals. They are huddled together as the boy eats his pound cake. His mom is talking to him close to his ear and stealing a piece of cake. They are both laughing.
The two women begin to talk louder. The one woman is off the phone and they seem to be discussing the conversation they had on it. Phone-woman says, “He said the marker wasn’t in the right spot”. The other woman responds, “What?” urgently. I have no idea what this conversation could possibly mean.
A very tall, bald man with glasses walks in. He orders a non-fat latte, stands to the side and waits. A woman walks in a few seconds later, wearing a yellow shirt, white pants, and heels. She orders a vanilla frappuccino. The non-fat latte is ready and the man leaves. The woman sits down while waiting and takes out her phone. The mom and the son are still laughing. She is tickling him; it is a really cute scene. The frappe was called and the yellow-shirted woman leaves.
A woman with braids, a long skirt, and clogs walks in urgently. She looks somewhat frazzled but this could be her normal demeanor. Her long sweater is flying behind her. She orders a chai with coconut milk. They are out and she substitutes it for soy milk. She stands waiting, not on her phone, watching the barista prepare her drink. The little boy has now finished his cake and his mom gives him her phone as she goes back up to order another drink. She gets a black iced tea, sweetened. Long skirt gets her chai and walks to the door quickly.
A man walks in and she looks down and motions for him to come in first. I immediately wonder if this was a polite, generous action or if it was an action society has trained her to commit. The man smiles at her as he walks in and walks to the counter. He orders three shots of espresso and stands to wait for a few minutes. Another man walks in in a very nice, navy suit. He goes to the counter and orders an Americano. Espresso-man gets his drink and goes to walk out. The two women who were speaking to someone on the phone get up to leave as well. Navy suit gets his Americano and walks out behind the woman. He, without shame and very obviously, intensely stared at her behind as they walked out the door.
A girl who looks to be about my age walks in a few minutes later. She orders a strawberry refresher and stands to wait for it while looking at her phone. She looks very timid. The barista is talking to the cashier and does not get started on her drink. A group of three men, looking to be in their late twenties, walk in. They are all nice dressed but seem somewhat “fratboyish”. The girl looks to see where the noise is coming from, which the men are making a lot of, looks down, and starts to bite her nails. She moves so she is farther away from them.
The men order one americana, one black coffee, and one black coffee with espresso. They are laughing and speaking very loudly. The girl does not look at them. The barista begins making drinks, finally starting the girl’s refresher. The girl gets her drink and goes to get a straw. The men receive their drinks very quickly after that. The group walks out before the girl, who is keeping her head down.
A man and a woman walk in a few minutes later. They are chatting and laughing quietly. The seem like close work friends – I assume because they are both dressed professionally and although they are laughing, they keep a reasonable distance between themselves. The man lets the woman order first. She orders a green tea. He then orders an iced coffee. The woman pays for the drinks. They chat while waiting. As they are walking out, the man begins to walk slower to allow the woman to go through the door first.
What I have realized by making these observations is that many men and women conform to gender stereotypes. The men seemed to order “manly” drinks while the women stuck to more traditionally feminine beverages. The women who came in contact with men seem more submissive and less assertive. The men in this scene, in general, come across as more confident than the women. These are all forms of unconscious inequality. Men and women are expected to act a certain way, solely as well as when interacting with one another.