Thursday, March 3, 2011

Personality Whores

This classic is dedicate to The Bitchy Waiter.
Reading about Steven Slater’s (JetBlue Flight Steward) recent dramatic resignation from his illustrious 28 year career I couldn’t help but giggle and secretly admire his bravery. Not many queens would have the courage to throw their tiaras, dildo’s and KY out of their baskets, deploy the airplanes inflatable emergency chute, grab their luggage and two beers before dramatically exiting bidding adieu to almost 3 decades of rude and difficult passengers. Having been in the service industry myself once, I can honestly say I understand why “Mrs” Slater flipped her lid and this made me reflect back on my days as a personality whore.
Many moons ago I too worked as a waiter. I was serving mediocre food in a main stream steak and grill mostly frequented by straight folk. It didn’t take long before it dawned on me that I wasn’t a very good waiter. One day, after being thrown with a handful of french-fries by a two year old the thought “Maybe I’m not meant to serve, I am destined to be served” crossed my mind. However, it would be many years before that reality would realize.
During my stint at the straight meat dispensary I had to deal with many difficult, rude and generally bad tipping customers. The one I recall most vividly ordered a rump steak extra rare. As I was placing his almost still alive and bleeding piece of meat in front him he had the audacity to tell me it was over cooked. After I politely tried to explain to him the difference between a restaurant and a butchery he ordered me (yes ordered me!) to bring him a correctly cooked steak. It having been at the end of a particularly trying and poorly paying shift, I did the only thing I could think off. I took the bastard’s plate, went to the grill asked for a 500g piece of raw rump steak, placed it on his plate and took it back to him and said “Extra rare, just like you asked for sweetie”. Needless to say the man had a hissy fit and got my ass fired!
Having had it confirmed that I was a truly bad waiter I did the only thing I gay guy could do. I looked for a gig at a gay bar or restaurant. You see at gay bars/restaurants you expect to get bad service but that’s OK only if the waiter or bartender is hot, cute or funny. You see at gay bars/restaurants it’s all about the looks and personality and less about the actual service, food and watered down drink. Believing that I could fit the bill I decided to become a personality whore and promptly got a job at relatively upmarket gay restaurant/bar.
The place was called The Lounge and it was run by two lesbians who ran their business like Nazi Concentration Camp Sergeants. We were a small compliment of staff: Two kitchen staff, a GI Jane lesbian and 5 femme fags. We were an eccentric bunch who always made work fun and there were never a dull moment. On my first day at work I arrived at the venue 20 minutes before opening time. As I got dressed in my “uniform”, a very tight fitting T-shirt branded with their logo and even tighter leather pants (later aptly dubbed the money maker), I was called aside by the sergeants.
In a very serious and rather abrasive voice one said “Before we let you lose in this queer zoo, let us explain the rules”. I knew all places had “rules”, but wasn’t quite prepared for the ones that would be laid on me. “You are to flirt with every customer no matter what they look like, you are to learn every regular’s name, you are allowed to accept shooters from customers and drink it only if they ordered one for themselves too! Sitting on customers laps are allowed, kissing, grabbing and exposing yourself is not!“ With the rules thoroughly explained I affirmed I understood. Sergeant 2 then added “If the Lesbos start a fight let them finish it, if there are broken glass or bottles involved call GI Jane , and never, ever look a drunk angry lesbian in the eyes, just back away slowly!
As my first evening was coming to an end the drunken lesbian rule was tested. A very butch and very inebriated lesbian staggered towards me. “You’re new here aren’t you?” Avoiding all eye contact, as I was told, I stared at her biker boots and responded with a quivering voice “Yes, I started today”. She responded “You’re cute” and with that she pushed me against the wall and stuck her rum tasting tongue down my oesophagus. At the verge of suffocating GI Jane intervened, grabbed her by the shoulders peeled her off me and screamed “He’s a fucking femme fag not a femme dyke you dumb drunken clit!” Relieved that I wasn’t going to get raped with a strap-on dildo I escaped to the safety of the kitchen. With sore feet, the taste of lesbian in my mouth and clothes smelling of beer, tequila, vodka, nachos and smoke, my first evening as I personality whore drew to a close, and I kind of liked it!
Working at the gay bar was loads of fun, most of the time; however it also had its drawbacks. Apart from being employed by two cold hearted bitches who worked us like Taipei red-light district whores, I also had many not so pleasant experiences with patrons. You see having to flirt with every customer has many annoying disadvantages. Firstly, many believe that they have a chance to have sex with you and as they become drunk their advances becomes less subtle and more inappropriate.

Secondly, as the word spread about the cute and friendly boy waiters at the bar, all the weirdos, creeps and freaks pitched up. A colleague and I was once offered $2000 each if a guy in his 80’s could watch us have sex, I was offered several roles in gay porn, offered money to have a threesome with a couple (bisexual man and woman) and also offered a Rolex for sex – needless to say I declined all! During my 6 month stint as a personality whore I also received the strangest tips. I was tipped with ecstasy tablets, cocaine, a lottery ticket, monopoly money, a poky man, clothing vouchers, many telephone numbers with sexy messages and once a guy even tried to slip me a roofie in a shooter all of which I declined with a polite smile simply stating “I’d actually prefer cash”.

Many evenings after we closed the bar we had laughs about the tips, the customers and the bizarre propositions we received. We often times spent chatting until the early hours of the morning laughing until our stomachs hurt. The 6 months I worked as a personality whore was both the best and the worst time I ever had in any part-time employment during my student days. I even coined the phrase “Do you want head with that?” for anybody that ordered a beer (referring to the froth off course). A phrase that would most likely get you fired in most straight bars and is the most suitable epitaph for my career as a waiter.
Working in the service industry can be challenging. Most of the time it’s a thankless job and with your worth being determined by the clients’ tips. I struggle to imagine how people can be in such an industry for decades and remain sane, I suspect there are many people like Steven Slater out there, but only a few that would have the guts to do what he did. I only lasted 6 months and due to my experience I am always nice to waiters, always tip generously as I know what they are going through. I take my hat off to all the waiters, bartenders and flight crew out there. Thanks for serving us and not spitting in our drinks!

Till next time.

Hedda Lettuce - lady gaga "Bad Romance" Parody

9 comments:

Kimberly said...

This has got to be the best blog in my long list of blogs that I'm following. I'm at work right now, trying not to laugh out loud and call attention to myself. Love love love it.

The flight attendant is my hero. I would LOVE to go out with a bang like that; not at work, just with people who are working my last nerve. When me and a friend read his story, we sighed dreamily.

Pierre said...

Kimberly, I think we all secretly wished we could make a grand exit like Steven. Unfortunately most of us must be content with the fantasies in our head. I'm glad I could make you laugh!

Jewel said...

Love every minute of this week's post, Pierre.

Pierre said...

Jewel, I'm glad you liked it!

martwriter said...

Great Post Pierre - well written, too (that's another thing I like about your blog. So I voted for you).

Keep em coming, man!

Pierre said...

martwriter, thanks I appreciate it!!!

The Bitchy Waiter said...

Love it! Thanks so much. Great story and I too love your writing.

I was awestruck by the Jet Blue guy myself when he went down that slide. Of course I blogged about that hissy fit: http://thebitchywaiter.blogspot.com/2010/08/waitress-of-sky-loses-it-becomes-god.html

Jason Shaw said...

What an amazing read, loved every second of it.

Its horrible to have to face the onslaugh of the general public when they are at their worst - pissed up and thinking they are god.

I sure could tell you some tales from my past, all odd and crazy, but it might not be as funny as this.

Well done

Johannthecabbie said...

"and never, ever look a drunk angry lesbian in the eyes, just back away slowly!”

I wish somebody told me that before I made the mistake. Also, once you err, do not try to calm the situation by saying, "Hey, Lady, relax." Things will only get worse.

Related Posts with Thumbnails