Are you 35 and still checking single on your taxes? Do you walk into your local bar, look around, and think meh, I’ve already made-out with every single dude in here? Maybe you’re just really, really bored…? Well, if you’re a server, I have some good news! It turns out there is a sea of dudes you could be philandering with right at the tip of your fingers.
And this, fellow internet surfers, is a door that I just realized I could open.
Waitrons all over the country are constantly offered invites back to condos, out to bars, romantic hip grinds on the dance floor, weekend getaways to beach houses, rendezvous in public restrooms, ass slaps, shots of tequila, jubilant affairs behind wives’ backs, and advice on every aspect of our adult lives, all backed by a modest 15% tip, wink, finger gun, and a table full of dirty dishes. (Side note: this could be pertinent to many other professions as well. For example, a veterinarian may very well be asked to bump and grind to R. Kelly after the conclusion of shoving a thermometer up some dog’s ass. Although not certain, I can only imagine it being true.)
I’ve been working as a waitress now for something close to a decade, and the amount of invites I’ve gotten to hang out with people after my shift ended is upwards to hundreds- a whirling dervish of compliments developed to directly woo my pants off onto the back booth in a haze of drunken, sweaty loins. I seldom have. Be it a hot guy, funny chick, or crazy drunk, I have never really fraternized with a patron in any way outside of bringing them another Coors Light or answering questions like “are you originally from Vermont?”
For the most part, people stop being people and turn into a head count. I don’t even recognize most of the people that I wait on over and over, because my brain involuntarily chooses to ignore their faces. Not because their faces are not very memorable, some of them are quite lovely, but because honestly, in the scheme of real-world life outside of the dining room– remembering them probably isn’t going to change my life at all.
(Fraternizing tip #1: When asked to hang out, always say you will– even if you have no intention of it. Seldom will the customer linger until you are finally finished and can do this said “hang out” and it saves you the hassle of having to explain to them every single time you go to a table why you actually have no interest whatsoever in hanging out with them, because they will beg. Patron: Please hang out later. We’d have a lot of fun, I swear! Me: Well, you see, a) you’re wearing a fur-lined coat, sir and you smell like a barrel of Old Spice, b) I just met your mom -because you were eating dinner with her- and I’m not interested in dealing with that… ever, and c) I’m much more inclined to fall for poor boys that scrape the leftovers off the plates in the back of that kitchen, because it turns out poor boys know how to unclog toilets. So thanks, but no thanks. Patron: But… but… but!)
And this is how I have carried out most of my serv(ant)ing life- counting heads, not taking names, and surrounded by an air of indifference.
However, I changed that this past season and ended up meeting with a table I’ve been waiting on for a year now. That, of course, was not my original intent when I first stumbled up to their table at the beginning of the season and thought in my mind let’s tango, punks. Like most tables before and after I assumed as soon as their bill was paid, they would flit from my mind and I would go about cleaning up the mess they left in their wake and carry out the rest of the season just the same.
Cut to opening weekend 2012/2013– I was standing in the server station adding up someone’s check and all of the sudden this kid comes up all excited saying “Becki, hey, hi, what’s up? We need a table for eight in your section. How ya doing? What’s the wait look like?”
First instinct? Punch this guy in the face; I lost my place with the calculator. I shoved that thought to the dark place in the brain that all servers shove those general inclinations to harm mankind and slowly turned my head up from the basic addition I was trying to perform. I began accessing the gentleman standing next to me: cute, young, not from Vermont, he’s wearing a winter hat which is good because it’s winter, probably a punk, wonder how big his penis is, no effing clue who he is.
“Uh, hey. I’m good. I don’t have anything in my section right now. Check with the host” I said dismissing him as I would any other customer, but utterly perplexed by who he could possibly be. So I did what any server would…
I went into the kitchen and conferred with the poor boys scraping leftovers from my plates.
Me: There’s a dude out there who knows my name and shit. I have no clue who he is.
Mark: (as he tonged the last of an order of pork dumplings into a dish while shaking his head and laughing) Story of your life, princess Becki. By the way these are your pork dumplings, and they’ve been sitting here for exactly 2 and a 1/2 seconds now.
Fuckin’ Munson: Tell him to go eat somewhere else! Yeah. I know this place right down the road that serves pizza. (As he stretched his leg from the dish station to the freezer) Today, some kid told me that the howler monkey was the greatest animal ever and I was like “no way! The howler doesn’t have anything on the Baboon, dude.”
Mark: (staring blankly at Munson before turning his head back to me) I’m going to bet you were drunk when you met him and that’s why you don’t remember.
Fuckin’ Munson: I’m going to bet you made out with him. Ooh la la.
I could have been drunk, I concluded in my mind as I made my way back out to the front of the house which was absolute chaos; people standing in crowds waiting to sit down creating a sea we had to wade through, five of us all trying to use a teeny tiny section to fill out appetizer dupes and swipe credit cards, trying to keep a mental tally of everything that I needed to remember in order to be efficient: heat up soup on table L5, I have to pee, bring another vodka soda to table L3, table L7 needs 3 sets of kid’s chopsticks, ketchup, and a shirley temple, I’m so hungry I could eat my arm off, SHIT! L1 asked for another order of chicken tenders 2 and a 1/2 minutes ago, party of 8 just sat at table L6, whoa! super hot guy at the bar, don’t stare, yes, stare, food’s up for table L7, L6 wants waters for the table, bastards!, no one will drink them, is it 9:30 yet?!, mother of God, I need a drink. Crap, so does table L3…
I definitely didn’t make out with him, but I definitely could have been out drunk. For some reason, people have this weird habit of seeing me somewhere aside from the restaurant I work at and being astonished that they recognize me. “Holy shit! You were our waitress. Hey! We’re going to buy you shots! Let’s do 173 shots!” And I have no choice but to stare at them suspiciously and say “Yes, it is true. I was indeed the person that brought you 3 PBRs and extra wasabi in a timely manner. Okay, let’s do 173 shots on your tab.”
(Fraternizing tip #2: Always accept these odd insists from the tourists to get “their” waitress drunk– no matter who you’re out with, be it a date, your girlfriends, or your boss. It’s one of the only perks of the profession– strangers feel like you are already buddies and want to get you hammered. They feel like they have some secret “in” with the local crowd. Great. Just make sure to be facing the opposite direction from them when you roll your eyes because they just said “you’re so different from all the girls back home,” for the hundredth time and try not to respond “yeah, you’re right and the reason you and I will never permeate into anything more than you feeding me compliments is because you are exactly like every dude back from your home. I’ll take a shot of Jamesons. Thanks a bunch, Vinnie Bobarino.” Oh, and try to refrain from making fun of their outfit. But, hey, you shouldn’t be turning down free booze ever anyway.)
I eventually waited on the excited kid who I barely remembered and his friends (party of 8 just sat at table L6) and their faces started to construct a memory somewhere in my head. The table itself would have ended like it had every time before, except for one slight ad lib.
The excited kid who I barely remembered forgot his credit card.
This little nugget of the story would be totally insignifigant and boring were it not for the fact that a few weeks later he walked in and I recognized him as the excited kid I barely remembered that forgot his credit card.
I’ve never in my waitressing life remembered a person who left their credit card– especially after a few weeks. Not once.
Whatever, I thought, and I scooped up menus and led them to a table for the umpteenth time, went and got his credit card, and returned it to him.
(Fraternizing tip #3: If ever you’re standing there with a credit card in your hand that has been carelessly forgotten, resist the urge to pocket it and go home and immediately begin online shopping for lingerie– it’s going to be awkward when he gets the call that they figured out who the culprit running a train on his plastic is and you’re standing there in a teddy and feathery heels, donning a whip, all of which he unknowingly funded. I know -it’s a genuine shame- but when pictures begin surfacing on Instagram of you throwing up imaginary gang signs while holding his card emblazoned with the hashtags #baller and #igotyougoodjoey, it’s going to be hard explaining that to your potential future mother-in-law on your wedding night. Remember that time when I took your son’s credit card for a spin and bought four pairs of boots, six corsets, handcuffs, a sweatshirt with a wolf on it, a case of spray paint, and one of those things that dices onions like magic?! Oh. You still don’t think that’s funny? Huh.)
So anyway, I ended up talking to these peeps, you know, like actually hanging out at the table, and got to the point of comfort that I could sweep and mop around them- as if they were part of the crew, caught a little buzz with them afterwards, parted ways, and I proceeded to go to the seedy basement bar a bit down the way and celebrate my three year anniversary with my then-boyfriend by spending 89.43% of the rest of the night on a stripper pole. (If you thought that I wasn’t romantic – I just squashed that, I know.)
A few weeks later, the excited kid who I barely remembered came in again. At this point, I had broken up with my boyfriend, was trying to find a place to live other than with my ex-boyfriend, had to find a new car because mine had shit the bed, was in the throws of Christmas week, and he walked in -alone- and I thought wait a minute, I just got excited he walked in. Holy shit, I have a crush on this Joey. My god, this is the worst thing that has ever happened to me! Do NOT picture him naked, Becki! Okay, do it. Picture him naked.
As he was putting his clothes back on in my mind, I walked into the kitchen where Alex, the bartender, stood eating a chicken tender.
Me: I have a crush on that guy sitting at the bar.
Alex: You totally do. (She then closed her eyes and nodded ever-so-slightly to indicate ‘it’s okay,’) How many days you think before you make-out with him?
Me: No more than a week.
Alex: Totes. Probably only like 48 hours.
Low and behold, I did in fact make-out with him that week – on his birthday, no less- but then I had the daunting task of trying to figure out what the hell I was doing. I didn’t know a god damn thing about this excited kid I barely remembered and now I was making out with him like I hadn’t freshly broken up from a long-term relationship and wasn’t in the middle of revamping my whole entire life and wasn’t sitting at home watching Dirty Dancing with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s bawling my eyes out at all the happy, sad, and -well- the whole movie as I drank wine straight from the bottle, singing Bruno Mars songs at the top of my lungs. HOW DID HE INFILTRATE MY MOUTH?! Who was this man? Mother of God! I’m doomed.
(Fraternizing tip #4: Be weary, always question, and don’t settle. For some reason, many of the tourist boys think you are some morally-extinct exotic creature that was more or less waiting on them because you were hoping they would hit on you and that you have absolutely no interest in talking until the sun rises and candlelit dinners and typical shit that almost all girls crave. Remember, you know nothing of this dude, his life, his personality, his anything. You could find out later that every single thing he told you was a lie- like he doesn’t have a dog, he has a cat and he doesn’t live in New York, he lives in Jersey and you learn all this after you google his full name and find his Twitter account. Or the next time he comes in with some chick you may have to emotionally handle him being like “Becki, hey, hi, I’d like you to meet my fiance. We’d like to sit in your section.” And there he is standing next to this fancy little thang wearing an outfit -you’d probably wear better- that’s only dating him because he has a personal shopper at Barney’s and a car that cost a hundred thousand dollars that he only drives twice a year and a housekeeper that doesn’t speak English and she doesn’t even know that just last weekend, he was jamming his tongue so far down your throat, he tasted the eggs benny you had for breakfast in your stomach. Your mouth may drop from being duped. Your eyes may narrow and your nostrils may flare from utter rage, but fear not! … The host just put a party of twelve at table L1 of hunky potential boyfriends from Long Island/Jersey with backwards baseball caps chanting sake bombs! sake bombs! that will inevitably hit on you, too and probably have bigger…ahem…uh, hearts?)
Regardless of the circumstance that shrouds your situation, I have yet to find out that this beefcake Joey tourist dude has a secret girlfriend or has constructed a life of lies for me or is a bad-hearted person in general. So far, so good. Will it last for all eternity? I don’t know. As I’ve said over and over in previous blogs– this is the chance you take. He could turn out to be a secret jewel thief that is in cahoots with a spider monkey trained to pick locks. Or a dude that has a different girlfriend in every state he goes to because he’s sad inside and his mother used to give all of her affection to the men she brought home from the bar down the street. Or he could just be an excited kid I barely remember who forgot his credit card. Who knows?
One thing’s for certain– if the tourist you eventually break the rules for turns out to not be everything you ever wanted in a man… there’s always a poor boy in the kitchen who’s been waiting for his chance to fraternize with you in the walk-in freezer.
And if nothing else and he turns out to be an a-hole, you can do what I do… and Taylor Swift a blog about the douche.