Inside Toronto Penis Waffle Moment

In April 2020, Kirsty Fan was searching the web for cool places to visit on an upcoming trip to Spain, when she came across a restaurant selling penis-shaped waffles.

“Oh my God,” she said, yelling at her boyfriend. “This is so much fun. We should have this in Toronto.”

The rest, as she says, is history.

Since a successful, albeit brief, pop-up over the summer, his Members Only Waffle House company has garnered attention — and maybe a belly or two — as posts about his chocolate-covered “members,” as Fan calls them. , give new meaning to the phrase “photo of dick”.

Kirsty Fan is the owner of the Members Only Waffle House on Queen Street West.  The store has become an Instagram favorite.

Social media has gone wild with shots of penis waffles. Thick, round, upright, and with ridges and bumps in all the anatomically correct places, they look very much like the real thing. Especially when drizzled with a sloppy dollop of melted white chocolate. With puns, they’ve made some baffling photos, gifs, and videos while being grabbed and licked by millennials. Repeatedly.

“I can’t believe I’m saying this,” posts one user on Twitter, “but they look great.”

“They look delicious,” someone comments, “but I think I should enjoy them in the privacy of my own home.”

“SYRUP???” says a user whose Twitter handle is “a real adult human chicken.”

Another user adds: “Very stressed about finding out about the penis sperm waffle place today, who ordered this and why did I have to see it and when can we get the hell out of here, I feel like I’ve been here long enough.” . ”

While Fan may be the first local retailer to bring edible phalluses out of the sex shop and onto the mainstream food scene, it’s unclear if she’s part of an emerging trend of porn food (not necessarily to be confused with food porn), or about to put one on. Or if this situation in the form of phallic food is simply a trick that never stops getting old.

Since a successful, albeit brief, pop-up in the summer, the Members Only Waffle House has turned heads.

In 2017, a food stall in Bangkok was selling a dish called Pho Hai Mai, which turned out to be a Thai phrase apparently meaning “I got it from my dad” and was a penis-shaped waffle, according to a that year’s HuffPost article. In 2019, Spain’s The Local, an English-language newspaper, anointed a “new food fad” when a restaurant called La Polleria caused a stir and hours-long queues of customers wanting to try one of its sticky, sweet “waffle willies.”

It’s unclear if this mass-driven phenomenon has deeper socio-culinary roots, if waffles are easy to turn into body parts, or if someone, somewhere is trying to sell the female version of this delicacy.

Lauren Bialystok, an associate professor of ethics and education at the University of Toronto, hopes that isn’t the case.

“I would be a little upset if there were vaginas on a stick,” he said, “even if it’s an invitation to encourage and educate people about cunnilingus.”

Reducing men to a penis-shaped dessert isn’t as dehumanizing as it is for women, who have long been reduced to parts of their bodies, Bialystok said, simply because men aren’t as oppressed as women. But, he said, these penis-shaped desserts are still immature, worrisome and regressive.

For one thing, Bialystok said, he doesn’t want to get alarmist about a waffle. And he doesn’t think this is a cause for panic, scandal or any reason to ask that these members be hidden from all “our innocent young people”, who, he added, are not as innocent as we think.

On the other hand, she is unimpressed by what she calls the “older feminist perspective”: the phallus as the pinnacle of power and pleasure. Depicting the penis in this way, he said, is just another reminder that “we still live in a phallocentric culture.”

“Haven’t we made enough progress to stop joking around in the locker room?”

Jokes aside, as a commercial enterprise, Bialystok said, this product also “pretty disregards what’s really at stake in looking at body parts and sexual activity in this way.”

Judith Taylor, a professor of sociology, gender and women’s studies, said this particular shape of the penis reinforces the same tired narrative that “the penis exists to enter the vagina and release sperm.” If he had his way, he said, the Members Only Waffle House would have different pans in different shapes, as well as “anus waffles, breast waffles and vulva waffles.”

Part of the emerging feminist narrative right now, Taylor said, “is having fun with the phallus, eroticizing it, playing with having one.” In that way, he said, these waffles could be part of a new frontier of thinking about desire. The penis has long been used as a tool of domination, war and fear, he said, as well as to incite shame against men with questions like “how big is your penis?”

Having the penis waffle in the public domain takes the air out of all that pressure, he said. “It deflates it. The idea of ​​the dissociated penis that you can eat and dress with syrup or other types of icing is actually a bit feminist and fun.”

David Soberman, professor of marketing at the Rotman School of Business, doesn’t dispute that there is a certain part of the population that will gravitate toward these special gifts. But he doesn’t see the treats as having staying power. Or paving the way for other enterprising foodies to do the same and deliberately transform other types of food into sexual organs.

“As an edible product, the waffles you eat regularly in the morning are quite unique,” he said. “And that shock value can last for a certain amount of time. But the appeal of a product like that is likely to wear off.”

He noted that it can also be somewhat offensive to many in the population.

“Is this something you will bring to a group of people?” he said. He doesn’t think so.

“There are probably a lot more people who will want to see it and take a picture with it,” he said, “instead of eating it.”

So far, Fan said, she’s had a positive response to waffle sticks and is amazed at all the support. Really, he said, all he did was come up with an idea and put it out there: “plant a seed.” But she didn’t think too much about the feminist aspect of her business.

At the time of conception, very hard, she had been looking, casually, for something entrepreneurial to delve into. Fan, who also works in the fashion industry, had taken a few courses, including in digital marketing, but nothing went right until she saw the penis waffles. “I figured if my daughters and I went to a place like this, we would take photos and laugh a lot,” 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, alienating and disconnecting people, she believes these fun treats are a good way to bring joy to a fractured community and help rebuild it. “What better way to bring people together than to have this weird moment.”

That’s exactly what he sees in his store: couples laughing as they share awkward looks. Families taking photos, even with their children. Of course, she said, if the kids are too young for the experience, Members Only always has cookies, free of charge, she said, so no one walks away empty-handed.

Open four days a week right now at 252 Queen St. W., near John Street, Thursday through Sunday from 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Fan hopes people will come for dessert or a treat. way home from work. Members Only serves two items, both $11 each: The Founding Member, a homemade Belgian waffle dipped in semisweet Belgian chocolate and drizzled with white chocolate, and The VIP, which is the same waffle, but personalized. Customers can choose from a variety of colored melted chocolates, including caramel and “ruby pink.” They can also add sprinkles “just at the tip,” Fan said, or “all the way.” The possibilities are endless.”

If people are offended, he said he appreciates the feedback, noting he’s known for a long time that it’s impossible to please everyone. For now, he said, his main concern is making sure he creates a great customer experience. “I want to focus on putting a smile on everyone’s face.”

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