Customer went to restaurant.

Bartender : What d'you want, baby?

Customer: Give me a basket, please.

Bartender: Sides?

Customer: l don't know yet. Still thinking about it. Trying to watch my figure.

What is the meaning of sides in this conversation?

  • Is this the complete joke? If not, it's likely that the joke will be based on the double meaning of sides as "side dishes" and "sides of a basket". – Chris Petheram Jun 13 '17 at 16:15
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    For reference, the conversation was quoted from the movie Precious (2009), if it can add more context to the question. – Andrew T. Jun 13 '17 at 16:40
  • There isn't any joke of the "so a guy walks into a bar" variety. The scene takes place at a fried chicken restaurant, not a bar. If there's a joke, it's self-deprecating, as Precious is a large girl (and pregnant, though I'm not sure how far along). – 1006a Jun 13 '17 at 17:43
  • en.wiktionary.org/wiki/side#Noun sense 13 – James K Jun 13 '17 at 21:26

Sides are "side dishes"--servings of food which accompany the main dish, typically vegetables and potatoes.

In this case the customer has ordered a 'basket', which is probably a complete meal consisting of a main dish such as chicken or a sandwich with a choice of two or three sides. She hasn't yet made up her mind which sides she wants; since she is "watching her figure", the calorie content of different sides is an important factor.

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  • 3
    Do you get the joke? I don't. It just sounds like a normal conversation. – Kevin Jun 13 '17 at 16:12
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    @Kevin I don't see a joke - I don't think there is one. When I answered this the question title read "...in this conversation." – StoneyB on hiatus Jun 13 '17 at 16:13
  • Ok, glad I'm not the only one – Kevin Jun 13 '17 at 16:38
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    The "joke" is that Precious is a large woman, and in older usage women that are "watching their figures" are already skinny. Sides in a diner are probably not foods that would contribute to a skinny figure. – Kenneth K. Jun 13 '17 at 18:06
  • The joke is that sides are insignificant when compared to the original order of a basket. This is an equivalent joke to the staple joke of a person ordering a huge list of items and a diet coke since they are watching their figure. – Ceiling Gecko Jun 14 '17 at 9:55

Side dishes, in restaurant lingo, are small portions served alongside a main dish. In many restaurants, if you order a meat entree, it comes with one or two optional "sides", which might include soup, salad, fried potatoes, or something else that traditionally accompanies the main dish.

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There's a double meaning here - sides can refer to extras that accompany the main part of the entrée, and also to her sides, the first of which can contribute to the second. The conversation leverages the double-meaning in an attempt at some humor. But...it's not side-splitting.

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