Everyone knows that Real Men don't eat quiche.
So why did Phyllis Schlafly's army deliver about 50 of the little cheese pies to the U.S. Senate yesterday?
Attached to each quiche box was Schlafly's warning: "Real Men Do Not Draft Women."
What's a Real Man to do?
The question buzzing around Capitol Hill yesterday was whether the Real Men of the Senate are really Real Men.
Phyllis Schlafly wants to know.
Yesterday, the Eagle Forum, the national "pro-life," anti-Equal Rights Amendment organization headed by Schlafly, distributed the quiches to senators cosponsoring reintroduction of the ERA. The original measure, which died last summer, is expected to be revived in the Senate today.
The Forum was not discriminatory. Some senators got quiche lorraine, others got seafood, mushroom or spinach. Seniority was not a factor.
Pity poor Sen. Dennis DeConcini (D-Ariz.). He's been an ERA supporter forever. AND HE DIDN'T GET HIS QUICHE.
"We're very upset," said Bob Maynes, a spokesman for the senator. "Mr. DeConcini always has been and always will be a supporter of ERA. We think we should even have our choice of what kind [of quiche]. Maybe they knew he was giving a speech in Florida today. But that's no excuse to slight him. He's a bonafide supporter."
Noreen Barr, national legislative director of the Eagle Forum, wouldn't comment on whether Real Men don't eat quiche, as the title of the best-selling book implies. She just knows that they do not draft women.
In fact, Barr hopes the senators eat their quiches. She said the Forum would have liked to have them all be homemade (that womanly touch?) but time didn't allow.
And she apologized to those ERA supporters who didn't get their quiches yet. They are invited to call and specify what kind they would like when the rest, DeConcini's included, are delivered today.
"The message was just what it said: 'Real Men Do Not Draft Women,' " Barr said. "There are certain things that don't change. Men will never be able to get pregnant, and women will never be able to fight in combat as men can."
Sen. Howard Metzenbaum (D-Ohio) got a quiche lorraine. Don Riegle (D-Mich.) was treated to a spinach one. Joe Biden (D-Del.) received a seafood quiche.
"Well, I don't happen to like quiche, so there is some inconsistency here," said Sen. Paul Tsongas (D-Mass.), who will introduce the ERA measure. He got spinach. "I guess according to Phyllis Schlafly I should develop a taste. I didn't realize that quiche was such a test . . . I guess I'll have to go back and reassess my self-image. I was just thinking, if she sent these to 200 million people around the country it would have more impact then sending them to the 54 cosponsors."
"Of course, I'm a Real Man . . . and I like quiche," said Sen. Bob Packwood (R-Ore.). He got a mushroom one. "Should women go into combat? That's not even an issue we have to face right now. I'm going to take my quiche home and eat it . . . It only makes me more determined to support ERA."
"Real Men Don't Eat Quiche," the book, doesn't specify how real men feel about the ERA.
However, if Schlafly had read the sequel, "Real Men Don't Cook Quiche," she'd know.
It says: "ERA: Real Men are not frightened to deal with anyone as equal."