Tag Archives: bartending

Tip #17 on Being a Good Bar Customer

24 Jun

Alright, once again with the tips. But first, a little background information for you. In case you didn’t know this about me, I really don’t like money. Or, well, I guess that isn’t fair. To be more accurate: I really don’t like what money does to people. So many of the problems that we have in this world can be traced back to money and what it does to people. Here are some examples:

  • The looting of the Amazon and other natural wonders
  • The fact that we cannot seem to get our heads out of our fucking asses and enact actual, reasonable gun reform
  • The Detroit water crisis
  • The lack of actual, sustained help for New Orleans and all its residents regardless of race or economic status in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
  • The fact that Hurricane Katrina did the damage that it did in the first place
  • War
  • That athletes, musicians, politicians and basically every other male in power (and many of those not in power) get away with sexual assault and rape
  • Global warming
  • Donald Trump

You get the picture. All that being said, I do understand that money is a thing that is necessary for survival in this world and so, in order to make survival possible, I work. And when I work, I want to make as much money as I can. And that, friends, is a team effort. My ability to make money really depends on you coming into the place that I work, ordering the things that you want from me, and then tipping me appropriately. My livelihood depends on you. That’s right. You. (I am pointing at you right now. Is it making you feel weird? It should.) But that’s not all! It also depends on you understanding that the seats at my bar and tables are like real estate. You rent a space for your ass by buying things and tipping me on them. And when you stop buying things, and stop tipping on them, you abandon your rented space and make room for the next guy. This isn’t to say that the second you take your last sip I expect you to walk away from whatever conversation you’re having, game you’re watching, or Tweet you’re Tweeting, but it is to say that you should be aware and respectful of my need to pay my rent and buy food for my two adorable little kitties. Stories!

During the World Cup last year I was at work and my bar was packed. But there, at the bar, was an empty stool. How odd! Upon closer inspection I came to realize that two people sitting at the bar were saving the stool for someone who had yet to arrive. Now on a normal day when there is plenty of space, I wouldn’t mind that. Save away! There’s nothing better than getting to a bar to meet your friends after a long day of work and finding that they have saved a seat, just for you! But on a day when the bar is jam packed with people wanting to pay money for things (and tip on those things) saving a seat is sort of cutting into my business. People notice there is no space and move on to another spot. Or, because they are behind a wall of people, they are not able to buy drinks with the regularity that they, and I, might like. And so I looked at the people saving the seat and I said

Excuse me, but do you think you could move your bag so someone could sit in that seat?

And the lady of the pair said

No, I’m actually saving this seat for someone.

So I smiled and said

Yeah, that’s great, except that certain someone isn’t here yet and we are well into the first half of the game and there are other people who are actually here now and would like to sit.

She stared at me. I stared at her. She moved her bag. Therefore I won. I almost always win staring contests. Her friend, by the way, didn’t arrive for over an hour. So this lady and her companion were actually going to sit at the bar as person after person asked if they could sit and they would respond

Nah, my friend is coming.

Only their friend was not really coming. Not right then, anyway. And the two people sitting at the bar only had one drink each. And then they drank seltzer! And didn’t tip on it. (Which, if I’m being honest, might have had something to do with the fact that I had told her she couldn’t save a seat for her incredibly tardy friend.) So that’s another thing. Don’t occupy a seat at the bar for like 4 hours and only drink seltzer! I mean, whatever, occupy the seat, but do like my friend Cherie does when she drinks seltzer and tip on your soda! Don’t be that guy at the coffee shop who occupies a table for like 5 hours and drinks one cup of coffee. No one likes that guy. That guy is a dick.

And here’s another thing. No one likes to be all packed in like sardines at a bar. I understand that. That is why I don’t hang out in busy bars. I work in them; I do not hang out in them. Busy bars are awful when you don’t have a giant slab of wood protecting you from the masses. And even when you do have that lab of wood they sometimes suck. And so I understand the desire that some people have to make a space around them by saving a seat with their backpack for no reason whatsoever other than to keep someone else from elbowing them. But the thing is, that’s rude. It is rude to other people who are stuck standing so your backpack can take a load off, and it’s rude to me who wants to make money off the seat your backpack is occupying. So unless you want to pay rent on two stools by tipping me double on every drink you have, put your bag on the floor or on one of the hooks conveniently located under the bar for just such an occasion. Or! Be one of those people who travels with their own hook! I always admire the foresight of those people.

So yeah, I don’t know, guys. I guess it all comes down to respect. Respect the fact that the bar only exists if people buy things, and your missing friend and your backpack do not buy things. Respect the fact that under the current system I can only survive if you tip me and, again, your missing friend and your backpack don’t tip me. And respect the fact that you are not, in fact, the only person in the universe. There are other people here, too. People who aren’t missing or an inanimate object that you use as a means of conveyance. Other people who want to go out, have fun, drink drinks, watch games and, yes, even sit down on a bar stool. So please, let them sit.

One Day…

27 May

A few weeks ago, over some post-run sushi in the park, my lunch companion asked me what my dream job was. I thought about it for a moment.

You mean like, for real for real? Like if I could have any job in the world what would it be?

Yeah.

He said it so nonchalant. Should I admit that I had spent the better part of my adult life agonizing over this very question and felt no closer to an answer? Probably not. Lucky for me, and for him I supposed because an angsty Rebekah is not the best Rebekah, I had recently come up with something that seemed like a thing I would like to do. Without going into the long, drawn-out backstory that involves my Master’s thesis I told him about how I had always been interested in post-disaster reconstruction work. I feel somehow drawn to being one of those people who goes to places after horrible things happen and then sticks around long after many of the first responders leave. I want to be there to help communities rebuild, after the international aid ends and our global conscience moves on to the next thing because there is always a next thing. I want to be there to shame the disaster tourists. Of course I have absolutely no medical knowledge and, truth be told, get queasy rather easily. Recently at work I had to take a 5 minute sit-down because a piece of glass protruding from my thumb made me so nauseous I turned green.

Back to the drawing board, perhaps.

But, of course, my thinking about it didn’t end there. It never does. The hamster that occupies the wheel in my brain has a never-ending supply of energy, that little bastard. And in the time I spent thinking I realized that, sure, I have all sorts of lofty goals. I would like to have something I write published somewhere that people have actually heard of and be paid for it; I would like to be on the Ellen Show (don’t ask); I would like to perform at The Moth and maybe one day, one wonderful day, be featured on The Moth Radio Hour on NPR that plays on Saturdays from 7-8pm and hear myself on the radio and just be in the car all alone and be like, wow, there I am and just smile to myself; I would like to travel so much that I need new pages for my passport; I would like to be part of a group of women (and some men) who make feminism an inclusive part of the conversation rather than something talked about as its own issue. It effects us all. All those things, though, sort of exist on this other plane separate from where I am right now and so let’s bring it back down to reality, back to the present. And so now I will ask myself:

Rebekah, what is your dream job?

And here is my answer, in list form.

  • I want a job where I am respected.
  • I want a job where people aren’t constantly telling me what I am doing wrong and how to do it better even though they have never done what I do a day in their lives.
  • I want a job where people don’t throw objects or insults at me on a regular basis.
  • I want a job where people don’t whistle at me, clap at me, hiss at me, snap at me or flash their cellphone flashlights at me to get my attention.
  • I want a job where no one ever calls me “ma” or “beautiful” or “sweetie” or “baby.”
  • I want a job where I can go to the bathroom and there isn’t piss all over the seats that I have to clean up because people are animals.
  • I want a job where people don’t ask me, while I am working at my job, what else I do because I can’t possibly just be a bartender.
  • I want a job where photographs of me taken without my consent do not end up on Yelp. Or better yet…
  • I want a job where people don’t take photographs of me without my consent. At all. Ever. End of story.
  • I want a job where people don’t hit on me or ask me out and then refuse to tip me when I say no.
  • I want a job where my awesome male coworker doesn’t have to step in and deal with people who treat me like garbage because I am a woman.
  • I want a job where I am not treated like garbage.
  • I want a job where I don’t have to keep my relationship status secret, when there is a status to keep secret, because it will likely effect the amount of money I make.
  • I want a job where I am respected. Wait, did I say that already?

Here’s the thing: my job could be all those things if people would just learn how to act because, if you noticed, nothing on that list had anything to do with my job, really. There was nothing about the weird schedule and late nights (though that isn’t my favorite), nothing about being on my feet for hours and eating the majority of meals standing up, nothing about looking up and seeing eyes upon eyes upon eyes on me all needing and wanting something when I only have two hands, nothing about coming home smelling of the liquor that I didn’t drink but has saturated my clothes and my skin over the course of a busy night. Those are all parts of the job and they are okay. They are how it is. And there are a lot of really cool things. I have met some amazing people, both customers and coworkers; I have learned a lot about myself and others; I think I have become a better, more understanding person. I think that my job, although it isn’t responding to a disaster and helping those having the absolute worst days of their lives, has some amount of value and, to be honest, I think I am pretty good at it. I don’t know. It’s all relative I guess. And maybe the job I want, the job described in that list above, doesn’t actually exist. Maybe it isn’t out there. Maybe my realistic dreams are just as lofty as one day being on the Ellen Show or normalizing feminism. Maybe this is another project my hamster needs to spin her wheel about. And so, until then….

Hi, what can I get for you?

I really, really hate Yelp

14 May

I know that I have already blogged about Yelp on here and that maybe one blog about Yelp is enough but whatever. Fuck that. I am angry at Yelp. In fact, I despise Yelp. If I was really good at computers and could hack into Yelp and just make the entire thing fold in on itself I totally would. And if Yelp were a person, He (and Yelp is for sure a he because he makes space for entitled fucktards to air their oftentimes bullshit grievances without any fear of retribution) would be my arch nemesis.

Anyway so you know how people say you shouldn’t read the comments? Well as it turns out that rule also applies to reading Yelp reviews about the place you bartend at. Friends, I have amassed quite a number of negative Yelp reviews. And generally speaking I would say that maybe, given that knowledge, I should look inward and analyze my behavior and think to myself,

Self, perhaps you are in the wrong business. Perhaps all of these negative Yelp reviews are actually realistic and this entire time when you thought you were good at your job and nice to people and a positive influence in the world you were actually a horrible, horrible asshole who deserves to move into a cave and die there, cold and alone.

Ordinarily I would think that. But the thing about it is that the Yelp reviews about me are so asinine and so not even true that it’s like,

No! I should not die in a cave cold and alone! Unless that cave is the only place in the world without Yelp in which case, where do I sign up?

Okay so let’s get down to this. Is it true that I am starting to think that perhaps I should move on to another career that is not so unkind to my body, not so shitty for my sleep schedule and social life, and not so full of Liar McLiar faces? Yes. But moving into a cave? Absolutely off the table. For now. (Unless, as aforementioned, there is no Yelp.) So what has gotten me all in a tizzy on this beautiful Saturday morning? Well, I will tell you.

Last weekend before going to meet with friends I thought that I should just scoot around The Internet for a little and for some reason that scooting involved me looking at Yelp reviews of a bar I work at on the weekends. Stupid, I know. It’s like walking around in a dog park blindfolded and wondering why you stepped in shit. Anyway so obviously I came across a bad Yelp review about myself because people just loooooooooove to write bad Yelp reviews about me apparently. And what made this Yelp review different from all other Yelp reviews? The fact that along with the review there was a picture of me, from behind. And why did she take a picture of me? Was it because I was rude? No. Was it because I had ignored her? No. Was it because she didn’t like her drink? No. Was it because I was so super nice and also she really liked my outfit and wanted everyone to know? Also no. It was because I was changing the beers listed on our chalkboard and in order to do so I had to stand on the back bar. There were two alternatives to me doing that.

  1. Bring a rickety-ass ladder behind the bar at like 11pm on a Friday night and somehow not kill myself while my coworker tried to squeeze around the ladder in order to serve drinks and in the meantime someone would take a photo of me doing that and post it on Yelp.
  2. Not change the beer board which would have meant that my entire evening would have consisted of every single person at the bar ordering the only beer we no longer had and me having to explain that no, we don’t have that beer any more but we have this one instead and I just couldn’t change the beer board because changing the beer board could result in a picture of my ass ending up on Yelp

I wasn’t into either of those alternatives. (Truth be told my ass ending up on Yelp never would have occurred to me prior to this incident but now I will worry about it all the time. Thank you, Christina T.) So I changed the beer board. I got up on the back bar, I erased the writing on the board, I rewrote something else, and then I got down off the back bar and went back to doing the other parts of my job. And all the meanwhile someone, in her infinite wisdom and because her life is so hard and her observations so massively important, took a photo of me and then took time out of her night to go on The Internet and post it. Along with a review asking why I was standing on the back bar. And I want to be like

Bitch, I have chalk in my hand. I was clearly in the act of actually writing when you took that photo. Are you so daft that you cannot use your powers of deductive fucking reasoning to figure out that I was clearly changing the beer board you stupid, stupid asshole?!

But I couldn’t say those things. Nope. Because on Yelp customers get to go online and post bullshit about us in hopes of, what?, getting us fired? and we have essentially no recourse. All we can do is ignore Yelp, go about our business, and hope that people don’t write reviews of us doing such horrible things as putting a lime on a glass with our bare hands (ugh! ew!), or asking them to present ID with their credit cards (what a fucking cunt!), or cutting them off when they become aggressive or look like maybe they might vomit on themselves or someone else (what is she,allergic to fun?!). We have to go to our jobs fully aware that we might wake up to text messages from our bosses asking what happened with the dude who has taken to The Internet to claim that we stole his change when it is clearly shown on video that his change was returned, and with a smile no less. And we have to then read long diatribes by that “wronged” person calling us unprofessional and rude and racist for something that didn’t even happen. And it’s like, fuck! You guys! Seriously!

So in summation, I hate Yelp. I think Yelp is a horrible website and the people who write drunken bullshit on there are dicks who should have their Internet privileges revoked. Maybe they should be the ones to go spend some time in a cave, cold and lonely. I’m not saying that I am perfect. But don’t you have something better to do than feel a certain way about an experience and then make up flat out lies about a person you don’t even know who did nothing other than pour you a beer, charge you for it and then return your change? And also, please don’t post photos of me online. That’s rude. Oh, and also, don’t bring your own booze into my bar and then write a bad review about me when I kick you out. This isn’t self serve! Stay home! I hate you!

Yelp. I am coming for you. And when I find you it will not be pretty.

 

Smiley Face, Smiley Face, Kiss-y Face

12 Apr

Okay so just as a disclaimer, I am not someone who goes on dates and then totally talks shit about the person I went out with on the internet. For example, I went on this really awful date years ago after some guy essentially stalked me on Facebook and then spent an entire dinner staring at my chest and also thought it was funny that he went home with some girl who spelled her name the same way as me who was so plastered that she could hardly walk and I didn’t write about that. Could have but didn’t. Mostly because that guy scared me. But still. This one is funny though because it involves too many emojis and some good, old fashioned in person body-shaming. Every date needs a good dose of body-shaming, right? Wrong.

Anyway, I went on a date. That’s right. I did it. And it wasn’t even really my idea. I blame Jessy. (I don’t blame you Jessy, I swear! I love you!) So here’s the thing. I do not give my number out at work. Work for me is a professional place and not a place to get a date. Okay fine, fine, that’s not entirely accurate. So in the interest of full disclosure let me tell you this: my last boyfriend was a customer turned friend turned boyfriend and my boyfriend before him was my bartender. But he asked me out and I wasn’t working so I feel like maybe that one doesn’t even count. Right? Right. Anyway so now I have decided that work is a professional place and not a place to get a date. So now that we have that all sorted, it’s story time.

So there I was, at work. As an aside, I feel like I am basically always at work. In fact I am just getting dressed right now and my bra smells like the bar. Not like booze, but like whatever the bar is cleaned with and so now I am sitting at home at my desk smelling bar. So not only do I feel like I am always at work but now I take work home with me! It is in my clothes! Shit is insidious. As I was saying, there I was, at work. It was busy. I was running around, mixing things, giving people drinks and food, making the occasional wise crack. There were two dudes sitting at the end of the bar. One of them had been there drinking for hours. His friend had come only recently but that means nothing – unless someone tells me otherwise I generally figure they are coming from somewhere else. Hard and fast rule: never assume sobriety. Time passed and then as the two dudes were getting ready to leave the newer one – who oddly looked like the Hispanic version of an ex-boyfriend of mine from below the eyes and also had very well-kempt eyebrows which is a total red flag for me because my hair maintenance is, shall we say, lacking – looked over at me

Eyebrows: Can I have your number?
Me: I don’t give out my number at work.
Eyebrows: Well, what if I come back on your shift in two weeks and ask you again?
Me: I will tell you that I don’t give my number out at work.

I then smiled and walked away. Okay so here is the thing every once in a while I make the mistake of giving my number to someone when I am at work and it always ends up being a stupid decision. Seriously, no one has my number. I mean, some people do obviously but only people who need to have it. I don’t like having my number out there in the hands of The Public. Plus the dudes that ask for the bartender’s number are dudes I generally want nothing to do with. I made the mistake of giving my number to some guy in the fall because he was polite and sort of shocked me into it and I regretted it immediately. We went out one time. He tried to get me to take him home with me an hour into our date. I mean he was cute but not that cute and, obviously, was seriously lacking in charm. I not-so-nicely declined. (Sort of wrote about it here but only sort of. Shameless plug.)

When I came back to their area to check and see if they needed anything he had written his name, his number and a little smiley face (the first sign of things to come!) on a napkin and told me I should call. I shoved it into my pocket and forgot about it until the next day when I was sitting at my desk and felt this weird balled up thing poking me in the ass. I pulled it out. Phone number. I was chatting with my girl Jessy at the time and told her about it. She said something along the lines of

Text him! You need to get out there. Seriously. Stop being a hermit.

I don’t think she actually called me a hermit. I called myself a hermit. I told her I would think about it. And I did for long enough to put it somewhere where I wouldn’t throw it away and where my cats wouldn’t turn it into their newest toy. That somewhere was in the pocket of my backpack where I keep my favorite rock.

Fast forward a few eventful and not-so-sleep-filled nights. I worked a Friday night shift, woke up early the next morning to drive to Connecticut for a Bachelorette party, woke up the following morning for the bridal shower and a drive to Boston where I met my sister to give her my car, Jose, and then took a Lyft to Logan Airport for my flight to Iceland. I was sitting at the airport bar, drinking an overpriced glass of red wine and eating a veggie burger. It was not delicious. I went through my backpack in search of my journal and my rock. I came out with the phone number and decided that 25 minutes before boarding an international flight was the perfect time to send a text message to some dude I don’t know. We texted. It was stupid. I got on my plane.

ICELAND WAS AWESOME! We saw horses…I mean ponies…I mean horses; we walked behind one waterfall and climbed above another; we took a photo with a rainbow; we almost got washed to sea by an incredibly aggressive wave; we got caught in all the rain ever; we almost burned someone’s house down.Then we left.

I arrived back in Boston and was staying with my friend Emily. I decided that unless I heard from dude I was just going to let sleeping dogs lie. (I am not entirely sure that is the idiom that I was going for but whatever, I’m committing.) No sooner did I make this decision then I received the following text from Eyebrows:

Smiley face, smiley face, kiss-y face.

Obviously these were emojis and not words but I find it funnier to dictate them. So let’s just recap: I don’t know anything about this dude, we have never hung out and pretty much never really spoken, I wouldn’t have been able to pick him out in a line up if he hadn’t sent me a weird headshot and yet he sent me

Smiley face, smiley face, kiss-y face.

I didn’t know how to respond to that so I sent a question mark. Words are a thing I like. Words, the pile of poop emoji and that random salsa dancing lady. The occasional smiley face is okay but not until you know someone or if you say something you think might sound sort of dick and you feel the need to be clear about that fact that it wasn’t dick, it was actually smiley. Then you send a smiley. That way everyone is on the same page. Anyway this went on for a few days. Him sending me things I didn’t really understand, me asking him to elaborate, him thinking I was being funny, me being very frustrated and confused. My favorite part of it all was this following interaction (keep in mind that I know I was being an asshole and I felt really bad about it until I actually went on the date and then I didn’t feel bad at all so please hold on and you’ll understand):

Eyebrows (this said completely randomly): The sun is nice
Me: I’ve been in the car all day.
Me (upon realizing that I was probably being a dick for no reason at all): But it’s strong, that’s for sure
Eyebrows: Like me (strong arm emoji thing)

I just….yeah. I mean, he is a personal trainer so I had already used my powers of deductive reasoning to assume that he was strong before he sent me the strong arm emoji. But, you know, I guess some people don’t like to leave things to chance. Instead, they leave things to emojis. That is their prerogative. I decided right then and there that I was done. There were far too many emojis! But I am a pushover and a girl and am incapable of saying no to people and so when, like a week later, he texted to say he was going to be in my neighborhood and would I like to meet for a drink I said fine. I picked a spot I never go to that was in walking distance of my house. I walked over there, got a beer and sat down to read my magazine while I waited. He eventually showed up. And this is when shit got awesome.

Eyebrows: You know, sometimes when girls go out with personal trainers they think that they need to get in shape. (Meaningful eye contact.) But, you know, that’s not necessary. I mean, if you want to that’s cool but whatever. I don’t mind.

So keep in mind I had come from work. I was wearing disgustingly dirty shoes, a pair of jeans that are in a long, drawn-out process of disintegration and a sweatshirt. I could have had the most slamming body ever under my sweatshirt. I mean, I don’t, but I could. But he couldn’t know that. Unless he has x-ray vision which is unlikely but now the thought of it is making me rethink the entire interaction. I stared at him blankly. Basically the in-person look of what I had been doing over text message for the better part of the last week or so. But he wasn’t done! No! He had more!

Eyebrows: I want to get married. Do you want to get married?
Me: I mean, that’s kind of a weighty question but, I don’t know. It’s not really a priority of mine but I guess if it makes itself necessary I’m not opposed to it. Or if it is important to the person I end up with. So I guess I’m really neither here nor there on it.
Eyebrows: No, you want to get married. I can read you. I know your type.

Okay, so I have been told over and over again for my entire life that I am hard to read. I have also been told that I am in my head a lot. Both of these things are true. I over think everything. E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. So obviously I have given all kinds of deep thought about marriage, what it means, what it represents, how it can empower and disempower, and how a lot of times getting married is more about fitting within a socially accepted construct than anything else. That sometimes we don’t actually think through the things that we do because they are just the things that we do. We were raised to think they fit within a definition of success. No, the definition of success. Marriage represents the success of a relationship. No questions asked. That isn’t to say there is anything wrong with getting married. I am so excited for my friends who do it! Some of them are doing it in a few weeks and I get to officiate it and I cannot wait! The point is just that when I answer a question like that it isn’t just like some bullshit answer because I am in my 30s and not married so obviously I have to trick myself into not feeling like a failure at life in general by pretending it is a personal choice. I don’t have to pretend anything. I feel weird and complicated things about myself + marriage. But apparently he knew my type. I laughed. He asked what I was laughing about. I wanted to send him a pile of shit emoji with my eyes but I haven’t mastered that skill quite yet so instead I said

It’s just that you seem to know a lot about me for someone who doesn’t know me. And who claims to be listening but hasn’t heard a word I said.

More or less pleasant conversation followed. And then! Before we left he asked me to open my YouTube and search for this video he made. I felt nervous and was hoping it wasn’t porn-y but I obliged and looked for the video. It was an ab workout video.

Eyebrows: You should try out that video. (Looks me up and down.) I think it will really help you.
Me: Wow, dude! You know how to make a girl feel gooooooooood!

And I laughed and laughed and laughed my entire walk home. And then I cried myself to sleep. No just kidding I didn’t. I actually laughed. And felt really good that I have a positive body image (most of the time). And it’s true, I don’t have the best abs but whatever. You know what doesn’t make me want to hang out with a person again? Him telling me that he knows my type, can read me like a book, and PS has x-ray vision and therefore can totally tell I haven’t been doing my planks and is going to point it out rather than be cool and realize that having x-ray vision, even fake x-ray vision, is a thing only characters in comic books should have. I thought I had seen the last of him but then, the next morning:

Smiley face, smiley face, kiss-y face.

I didn’t respond.

The end.

When Persistence is Rude

4 Apr

I heard a scuffle and realized there was a fight. Again. It’s almost as if a weekend night cannot pass by without some sort of absurd and unnecessary shake-up. The warm weather only makes it worse. That reality causes my life to be sort of at odds with itself. I’m a summer baby so I spend pretty much all my time either being appreciative of the heat or counting down the days until it returns. You’ll almost never hear me complain about being too hot. But when a spring or summer weekend rolls around, my love for the heat morphs into an acute sense of foreboding. Hot days lead to hot tempers. Mix those tempers with close quarters and lots of alcohol and you’ve got yourself a party.

It was about 1:30, maybe 2 in the morning. Apparently some guy tried to go into the bathroom with his girlfriend because he “didn’t want anyone seeing her in there.” I’m not entirely certain what that even means, to be honest. I don’t know whether he has some sort of disbelief in these things we call locks or he thinks people somehow develop laser vision when they get within two feet of a bathroom when his girlfriend is inside. Whatever the reason it turned into a whole big fiasco. (By the way, I am fully aware that he wanted to go into the bathroom with his girl for some sexy time, but I refuse to truly engage with that thought because the bathrooms at my bar, especially late on a warm weekend night, are straight out of a horror film. I have to pee in there on the regular and it has changed me. No joke.)

Upon hearing all the noise I obviously made the poor choice to walk out from behind the bar to go investigate. I did this under the guise of trying to usher those not involved in the fight to safety. You never know when an elbow, or a glass, might go flying. So I gathered intel while I let a few dudes out through a second exit. As I turned to go back behind the bar some guy grabbed my hand and got in my space. If you know me at all you know that I hardly like to be touched by people I love, let alone some asshole at the bar I work in. At first I thought he was going to say something about how I should stay behind the bar where it’s safe and not get too close to all the yelling, especially considering that just moments before the guy who was trying to join his girl in the bathroom violently grabbed her by the neck for “running her mouth.” (Have I mentioned recently how much I hate everything?) Dude probably would have been right but I still would have been miffed about some guy essentially scolding me for not staying behind the bar. But no. He didn’t say anything about my safety or the fight or share in my horror about the way a man so casually grabbed a woman by the neck in a public place, under the watch of cameras, without any pause or remorse whatsoever. Made me nervous about how he behaves in private. Instead, while holding onto my left hand, he whispered in my ear

Why you gotta be like that with me?

Anger shot through my entire body. Why was this person touching me? Why was he in my space? Why the fuck was he whispering in my ear? And where the fuck did he get the idea that he was at all entitled to my time or an explanation as to why I wouldn’t give him any of it? I’d love to say that this was the first time such a question had been hurled at me but that would be a lie. People regularly ask me why I am “like that,” whatever “that” means. From what I can gather, they think I am pretty but I don’t flirt with them. Because guess what, I don’t flirt. Not my jam. Not that there is anything wrong with being a flirty bartender, it totally works for some people. But I hate when people ask me for my phone number at work and I hate how some people get possessive over a girl who they think is interested, even if all that girl is interested in at that moment is an inflated tip. My dream is to be the efficient half of a bartending team. Making drinks and putting them over the bar quickly, the conversation limited to an economic transaction. Let my partner be the personality. I’ll be support staff. But I couldn’t respond with all that so instead I said,

Be like what? You come in here for beer. I sell it to you. That is my job.

He held my hand a little tighter. I shook it free.

I told you before I liked your vibes.

I wanted to scream. I wanted to be like

Oh! You like my vibes?! Well why didn’t you say so??? Please! Grab my hand again! Please! Whisper into my ear like a total fucking creep! Because now that I know you like my vibes I am totally down for whatever you’re down for. I hear they have some really clean bathrooms up in this joint. With locks that work, even.

But I didn’t say any of those things. Instead I turned and looked him in the face and said

Don’t you ever put your hand on me again.

My night continued. But then the next morning I got to thinking, once again, about entitlement. About how men feel entitled to touch women and how we as women are not even entitled to autonomy over our own physical presence. I cannot walk through a space, even a space I work in, with the assumption that I will not be touched in either a sexual or aggressive manner. And, when that happens – not if but when – there is virtually nothing I can do. Sure, I can make a smart remark, assuming I feel safe doing so, but there is nothing intimidating about me. I cannot, by sheer force of size or movement, make someone back off. I can shoot them down, but that does not necessarily result in a change of behavior. This is something like the 4th time this same guy has tried to, I don’t even know, get me to pay him more attention than pouring him a Smuttynose and taking his money. It’s as if he thinks persistence is key and let me tell you something, I find his persistence insulting. His persistence completely ignores a very important part of the equation: my interest, or lack thereof.

To me, when someone isn’t interested, they aren’t interested. Back the fuck off. Life isn’t like the movies where the guy likes the girl and she isn’t interested but by his sheer will to get what he wants, what he deserves, he is able to convince her to be his. He is able to, for lack of a better term, break her. This dude can tell me every single fucking day for the rest of time that he “likes my vibes” and I will still tell him to go take a walk in the ocean. Because the thing is, he isn’t listening to me because what I say, and what I feel, does not matter to him. In his journey to get what he wants, I am incidental. What I want is incidental. My feelings are incidental. What matters is him, what he wants. And he doesn’t think there is anything wrong with his persistence. Maybe he thinks I should be flattered. More than likely, he doesn’t think about how I should feel, or do feel, at all. That can be overcome. I can be broken.

Being female can be a real mind fuck.

 

Tip #16 on Being a Good Bar Customer

2 Mar

Alright, kids, I’m back with the tips. And I think this one might be exceptionally snarky although honestly, at this point, my snark gage is all off and I can’t even tell anymore. After doing some (admittedly non-exhaustive) research on the topic, I am not going to link to my other tips here because pretty much no one ever clicks on those links. If you want to read more tips, I think there is a search tool somewhere around here. Or you could look at the “A Bartending Life” archives for all your bartending related content. If you disagree with the outcome of my study, feel free to comment below. Or don’t. Either way. So without further ado, your next tip.

If any of you have read one of the multitude of stupid Buzzfeed articles entitled “Ways to Get Your Bartender to Hate you” or “Ways to Behave in a Bar” or “This Man Orders a Drink. You Won’t Believe What Happens Next!”* which are basically always written by people who (a) seemingly have never bartended before and (b) cannot really write, this next tip will not come as a surprise to you. For those of you who have somehow managed to avoid all that clickbait: well done, you are my idol.

So last night some dude came in on the earlier side of my shift, sat down at the bar and looked confusedly around the room. His eyes, eventually, landed on the whisky selection. I would classify our whisky selection as pretty standard New York. We have a fair bit, but it’s all the usual suspects. Basil Hayden, Bulleit, Buffalo Trace.** You get it. If I had made a bet right then and there, I would have put money on him ordering a Bulleit Bourbon on the rocks. I was wrong. Not so wrong, as you will come to see, but wrong enough. I feel like betting is sort of an all-or-nothing proposition which is why I don’t like to do it. Shades of grey are totally my sweet spot. Anywho, instead of going the predictable route, he looked at me and said,

“Do you know how to make a Clint Eastwood?”

Ugh.

I replied that no, I did not, in such a way as to try to dissuade him from digging out his phone, Googling a ‘Clint Eastwood’ and then handing the phone over to me. I failed. He immediately reached into his pocket and started tap, tap, tapping away at the screen. Moments later he handed the phone to me with a meaningful look.

Why do people do this? First of all, the drinks that people want either contain something that most bars don’t have like velvet falernum or a raw egg or they are something made up by a bartender at some place like Little Branch as a result of some dude walking up to the bar and saying “I want something with gin that tastes like cloudberries and cotton candy but comes in a manly glass.” Second of all, whenever this scenario happens (not the cloudberries but the recipe googling) and I ask people what is in the drink, generally so that when they say Batavia-Arrack I can tell them I don’t have that and we can move on, they have absolutely no idea. And not just no idea like,

“well, it has gin, lime and the tears of a baby narwhal, I’m just not sure the proportions.”

No. They have no idea like,

“Oh, I have no idea.”

I begrudgingly took the phone while he looked at me, waiting for the moment when I would excitedly take out my shakers and my jiggers (kindly remove mind from gutter) and maybe bust out the suspenders that I have left hanging from my pants, eagerly awaiting the opportunity to suit up and get down to business. (He totally wasn’t expecting any of those things. I am just being a dick because the image I conjured made me giggle.) I looked at the screen and here is what I saw:

INGREDIENTS
1½ oz. Bulleit bourbon
¾ oz. Vya sweet vermouth
2 dashes Regan’s orange bitters
1 Amarena cherry, for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS
Combine bourbon, vermouth, and bitters in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass; garnish with cherry.

I want us all to just take a moment and look at this recipe. Really just take it all in. Think about what it might be similar to. Something that maybe you have had before? Because I don’t know but this looks to me like a variation on a Manhattan. Granted this one calls for different bitters – Ragan’s orange as opposed to the more common Angostura -and there is of course call liquor here and different proportions but that’s what makes it a variation. Also you’re supposed to shake this? Who shakes a Manhattan? It comes out all cloudy and weird when you shake it. (And this is where my inner snob comes out. I firmly believe, and this is my own personal thing so whatever I won’t impose it on those around me, that Manhattans and Martinis should be stirred. Always all the time. And that James Bond was an asshole. Although now I have done a little bit of research and apparently in Ian Fleming’s books Bond actually ordered his Martini “stirred not shaken.” Can anyone verify that for me? And can we count this as another example of a film adaptation being a lesser version of the book it is based on?)

Anyway, while in my head I was hearing Sean Connery say “shaken not stirred” on constant repeat, I broke the news to my customer that I didn’t have Ragan’s bitters or vya sweet vermouth but I could do the next best thing: seeing as how the “Clint Eastwood” was surprisingly similar to a Manhattan, and it just so happens that I make a pretty mean Manhattan, I offered to make him one of those instead. He seemed dejected and asked if he could see my selection of bitters. I placed the bottle of Angostura directly in front of him. And then it all seemed to click. He looked around the room and noticed the television, the lack of cocktail paraphernalia, the weird photo collages on the wall, the Christmas lights that are, for no real reason, still attached to the mirror, a mirror that is not intentionally aged to make it look all vintage. He was not in a cocktail bar. He begrudgingly agreed to have a Bulleit Manhattan but requested it be on the rocks.

*By and large these are my least favorite articles. The second I see something titled “Man tries to hug a wild lion, you won’t believe what happens next!” I become angry and storm away from the computer. Chances are I will believe what happens. And, as a direct result of that stupid title, I will not care.

**Unintentional alliteration!

I Thought We Were Friends

2 Feb

Sometime in the late spring, early summer of 2010 I rode the B63 bus down Atlantic Avenue from my bartending job towards home. I was drunk. I was drunk a lot that summer. I was heartbroken and in complete free fall. I sat staring out the window, tears silently streaming down my cheeks as they often did, wondering what I had done wrong, how I could fix it and when the pain – so emotionally present that it turned into physical hurt – would stop. I was pretty sure it never would, that the pain was my new normal. The bus stopped and a man, probably around my age, appeared in front of me. He smiled and gave me a hand-written note before he walked off the bus and into the night.

You’re beautiful when you cry. Call me.

The tears stopped. I held the note in my right hand between by thumb and fore finger and stared blankly out the window. I took it with me as I exited the bus and looked at it as I made my way home. At the first trashcan I found I spit violently on the small slip of paper – imagining it was the man’s face – crumpled it up and threw it into the garbage. Being mad at him and all the other strangers who seemed to smell my vulnerability that summer was so easy. It felt as though men – anonymous men, not the men I knew – were all dogs.

The pain eventually dulled. I fell in love again.

***

Going on two years ago my most recent relationship ended. We were together for almost four years. What do they say in all those articles about break-ups, that it takes half the length of the relationship to get over it? Maybe there is something to that because I am just now about back to normal and by normal I mean that the idea of being involved in the dating scene makes me want to scream. This guy at work last night asked me how I meet people to date and my honest response was that I don’t. I just don’t.

I could chalk it up to my work schedule. That being almost entirely unavailable on weekends makes it near impossible to meet someone. I could blame modern dating and the rise of internet dating sites. As someone who works in a social setting with already precarious power dynamics, the idea of some guy seeing me on the Internet and then walking into my bar and thinking he has some kind of leverage terrifies me. I could blame my most recent dating experiences and the assumption men seem to have that if a date is going halfway decently it’s their cue to try and come home with me. Good fucking luck. But the reality is that I blame my friends. Or, more accurately, people I thought were my friends. I blame the people that made me feel like my only value is in my body and what it can offer them.

Let me quote an article from Salon that finally gave me the strength to write this post, this post that I have been writing over and over again in my head but never wanted to actually put to paper, so to speak, for fear of hurting the feelings of people who never had any consideration for mine.

When the bad things that happen are normal, you become tough. It’s devastating how tough I am.

So, as a 30-year-old woman who has been through a range of horribly exploitative sexual and emotional experiences—you know, just like pretty much every woman you know—I really don’t want to know anymore if a stranger finds me attractive. Not right out of the gate. Hell no. There are so many more interesting things about me than my body… This is why I cherish my friendships with straight dudes who would never try to fuck me even if we are trashed, and is probably part of why I hang out with a lot of queer people. 

This is why I’ve gone home in tears after someone I respect says they think I’m smart and funny and interesting and they’d like to have a drink and rap about the world, and then just tries to fuck me after I patiently dodge their advances all night. Were they not even paying attention? … I am still, as a grown woman, trying not to mentally respond to that situation by thinking: “Well, that person just wanted to fuck you. Maybe you are not really that smart or interesting.” That precise feeling is one that I don’t really think straight dudes can fully relate to: You are invisible, but they still want to fuck you. They do not see you or hear you. They still might rape you. This is why somebody putting their eyes all over me or immediately telling me they like the way I look is no longer flattering. Because it makes me feel fucking invisible.

The woman who wrote this article is a bartender in her 30s, like me. And she, too, is fucking exhausted by how much she is sexualized at work. This past week, I have been given 2 phone numbers, been told by a customer that he has wet dreams about me, had a coworker hit on me by alluding to the version of 50 Shades of Grey that we could make together, and had to tell someone that my tits could not pour him his beer so if he would please look at my face when requesting service it would be appreciated. Sometimes I leave work feeling like a pair of boobs and a hole to fuck, with arms conveniently attached to provide liquid courage. The thing I make my money off of is the same one that empowers men to disempower me and managing that disempowerment, that power dynamic, is tricky. It is intertwined with my ability to earn a living. And it is exhausting.

When I leave work at 4am, I try to leave all of that behind me. I try to reenter a world where I am valued for more than my body and my ability to pour liquid into a cup. Of course, I want people to find me attractive but I want that to be attached to the fact that I am smart and funny and interesting. Those are the things I value about myself. So when I read this line — This is why I have gone home in tears after someone I respect says they think I’m smart and funny and interesting and they’d like to have a drink and rap about the world, and then just tries to fuck me after I patiently dodge their advances all night. Were they not even paying attention? — I was like, finally, someone else said it. Because I, too, have gone home in tears. I have spent the better part of the last two years thinking my taste in (male) friends sucks because one after another after another after another of my straight male friends have tried to fuck me. I barely have any left. To those who have been my friend all this time I value you more than I can really say.

Somewhat recently I met up with an old friend for a drink. We hadn’t hung out in awhile because life took us in different directions but I was happy to catch up. It took him about 2 hours to try and fuck me. I told him about my life, what I’ve been up to, what I’ve been thinking about. He told me how he always thought I was so hot. He thought he was flattering me. I have never felt so cheap, so misled, so socially inept. How did I not know? How did I ever think this drink was about us catching up as friends? How did I not see this coming? How stupid can a person be?

I, like the well-trained woman that I am, blamed myself. Over and over again.

My ex-boyfriends all knew that the best way into my pants was through loving my brain, not lusting after my body. But of course, they were listening. There was more in it for them. I was visible. Me. I was more than just  a conquest, or the fulfillment of a long curiosity. I was a human being with unique value. And I am done feeling as though I did something wrong to mislead people about what I was looking for. I have always been clear. So be my friend or don’t be. But if you’re just looking to fuck, move along. I’m not interested. Stop wasting my time. Stop making me feel like garbage. Because after all these years it takes me more and more time to rebuild myself after work. If you’re really my friend, you should be supporting me. So stop tearing me down.

The Dreaded Question

24 Jan

Why are you so angry?!

 

I get asked this question a lot. Infrequently when I am actually angry. A few weeks ago my coworker and I had a little bit of a rush. Nothing serious, but enough for me to put on my “make all the drinks as fast as you can” face. That face is blank. That face is not making jokes, it is not having pleasant conversation, it is making you your tequila and pineapple (ew, gross) while taking an order and checking an ID. That face is efficient. In the midst of taking an order and alerting someone that I would be with them in a minute, this dude who is a friend of my coworker tried to hand me his cell phone attached to the charger for me to plug in for him. I looked at him and, quite politely I thought and while wearing my can’t you tell I am working?! face I said to him,

Sure. Just as soon as I finish all of the tasks that make me money.

He looked stunned. I walked over to the register and said to my coworker

I think I might have scared your friend.

We looked down at the bar and there he was, sitting there holding his cell phone with the charger still attached looking forlornly at the place where I was previously standing. I have to admit I felt a little bad. Not badly enough to go talk to him about it because (a) I was busy, (b) you all should know better than to ask a busy bartender to plug in your phone because none of us actually give a fuck as to whether or not you can receive text messages and we also are not your secretary and (c) don’t they sell those little external chargers and don’t they cost roughly the same as the bar tab you just ran up? My coworker and I had a little chuckle and when it calmed down a bit I figured I would smooth things out with his friend. I cleaned the area around him and made a few smart and witty observations about some idiot wearing a pocket protector as part of his Saturday night get-up. He seemed more or less amused. I got a smile out of him, anyway. I skipped back to my coworker to tell him about how I had made everything great again at which point he giggled and said

Yo he was like, why is she so angry?!

UGH! So here’s the thing. It wasn’t like, why was she so angry that time when I acted as though I was the only person in the bar and requested she do me a favor that I wouldn’t pay her for when she had like 15 orders in her head and was, in fact, at the very moment that I asked her in the midst of actually taking one of those orders? Because I wasn’t actually angry in that moment, if we’re being accurate. I was ever-so-slightly irritated (it takes a lot more than that to register on the anger meter these days). But I can see why he would perhaps perceive it that way. What he was asking was why is she so angry. Like, as a person, all the time. And it made me think back to all of the other times people, read: men, have asked me why I am so angry when I was simply telling them no. Here are a few times when I have been called angry when I have, in fact, not been angry:

That time I said no to an invitation to go out to dinner. I am simply not interested and besides, you asked me out after your 5th whisky neat and I am at work, sober and I am thinking about being in my bed, alone (okay, fine, my cats will be curled up at the bottom of it but whatever).

This one time I refused to serve this smarmy asshole a drink. I was angry the last time he came in when I was standing at the bar in my running clothes talking to my friend and, without recognizing me, decided to sit practically on top of me and drape his arms all over me. That was not the first time that happened, either. And if we’re being honest I was actually quite happy to ask him to leave. I’m pretty sure I was smiling.

And while we’re on the subject, all the times I am not smiling. I like smiling. I do not, however, smile all the time. First of all, I am fairly certain my face actually would freeze like that and how awkward would that be if someone told me something horrible had happened and I was staring at them with a stupid grin on my face? And secondly, no one smiles all the time. People smile when they are laughing and having fun. They do not smile when they are doing things like taking out the trash, walking to the gym, or serving the never-ending wall of people in constant need of beverage refills. And just because a person is not smiling does not mean that person is angry. They could be feeling all sorts of other things: sadness, non-smiling happiness, contentedness, nothing at all. They could be thinking. They could just not give a shit about you one way or the other. And please, while we are here, never say the following thing:

Smile, sweetie, it’s not that bad.

Maybe it wasn’t that bad before but it is now.

Here’s another important thing, though. Sometimes I am angry and that is okay, too. There are a lot of things to be angry about. But the way that men ask that question

Why are you so angry??

Reads the same as

Why are you so emotional??

Or better yet,

Why are you so irrational??

It is disempowering and makes it feel as though our lived experience is somehow less important, less real, or as if we are less capable of engaging with our own lives. What we are angry about is petty. It is a woman’s problem, not a real one. (It goes without saying that any extreme response to something means we are on our period and therefore can not be taken seriously.) I was actually one time put in real, actual danger involving a man with a gun and then, weeks later when recapping fallout from the experience was asked why I am so angry. Why?! Why am I angry?! Because I could have been shot! With a gun! And died! Fuck yeah I am angry! I am angry about that experience and why it happened and what happened after but that does not make me angry as a human being all the time and it also is a completely and totally rational response to a really scary experience that is in the past and is therefore not something to be actively afraid of. I mean, what? Am I supposed to be all

Nah, it’s all good, bro. No worries.

Now that is what I call irrational. Because it is decidedly not all good and there are worries.

So let’s just recap: Just because I am not smiling does not mean I am angry. I might just be busy, or thinking, or whatever. When I tell you no, it does not mean I am angry. It simply means no. Let’s move on. And when I am angry, there is good reason for it. And you shouldn’t have to ask why I am angry because I will tell you in no uncertain terms exactly why. It will be very clear. And it will be just as justified, or unjustified, and rational, or irrational, as when a man is angry. Crazy, right?

This Just In: Girls Only Write About Shopping

26 Dec

“What are you reading?”

It was 2am on a Friday night. Christmas, it so happens, and I had managed to get out of work incredibly early. Apparently a dance party wasn’t on many people’s agendas for the evening. Especially considering we were without DJ.

“Nothing. Just some brain popcorn.”

That’s a phrase I picked up from an ex-boyfriend of mine and it perfectly defines what I was reading. It’s a totally unchallenging mental vacation. Nothing to write home about. Nothing to organize a book club around. Something perfect for a late night when you’re too wired to sleep but too tired to think critically.

“Brain popcorn, huh? Well who’s it by?”

I am always sort of confused about what it is about a girl at a bar immersed in a book that screams please talk to me but whatever. I will just file that under Mysteries of the Universe.

“It’s really nothing. A Stephanie Plum novel.”

This was not my attempt to be coy or to disparage my reading choice. This was me trying to respectfully hint that I did not come to this bar to talk to anyone other than the person working behind it who is a friend of mine. He was busy so I was using my book <first> as a way to occupy myself until he could grab a few minutes to catch up and <second> as a way to communicate that I was not looking to make friends. Clearly the second part of that was not coming across.

“Oh, well, can I read a paragraph of it? Just whatever page you’re on. Just let me read one paragraph so I can get an idea of what it’s like.”

I practiced some deep breathing exercises and pushed my book towards him, avoiding looking over at him as I did it. I am very practiced at coming across politely disinterested and moderately dismissive. It’s a professional necessity. He picked the book up and went about reading. About a minute later he handed the book back with a chuckle.

“Funny. I just read a paragraph of a book written by a woman and it’s all about shopping. So classic!”

More deep breathing exercises. Someone else’s shift on Christmas is not the time for a feminist take down.

“Well, actually, Stephanie Plum is the character in the book and right now she is taking a man grocery shopping because his apartment got firebombed and he doesn’t have a car. And that is an absurd thing for you to have said. Let me guess…you’re single?”

He turned towards me and cocked his head to the side like a confused puppy. I wasn’t sure whether it was in response to the part about the apartment being firebombed or my incredible ability to accurately guess the state of his love life after only having sat next to him at a bar for 10 minutes. He turned back to his friend, I turned back to Stephanie. A few short moments of blessed reading time followed.

“What’s your favorite quote from literature?”

I sighed. I knew this line. Clearly this dude had some quote memorized that he figured would impress upon me his intelligence and vast knowledge of literature, both classic and obscure. I thought about him, sitting alone in his bedroom with flashcards, memorizing quote after quote to foist upon unsuspecting victims at cocktail parties, job interviews and bars on Christmas at 2am. I should have looked down at my book and recited the following lines:

The door flew open and Carol stood in the doorway, holding a bag of Cheez Doodles. Her hair was smudged with orange doodle dust and stood out from her scalp like an explosion had gone off inside her head. Her mascara was smudged, her lipstick eaten off, replaced with orange doodle stain. She was dressed in a nightgown, sneakers, and a warm-up jacket. Doodle crumbs stuck to the jacket and sparkled in the morning sunlight.

That probably would have handled the problem. Instead I politely declined to answer his question at which point he rattled off a few lines from something or other. To be honest with you I wasn’t paying any attention. I was mostly focusing on keeping my left eyebrow in place and my eyes from turning steely.

“That’s from Moby Dick by Herman Melville. Have you heard of it? You probably haven’t read it. It’s really long.”

At this point I lost control of my eyebrow and shifted focus to holding my temper. I decided the best course of action was to just say nothing at all. Maybe he would get the hint and stop talking. No such luck.

“I took this English class in college with this professor who was a feminist” — he spat this last word — “and she made us read all this stuff. And she talked about how women never got their due and were sometimes overlooked or completely forgotten just for being female. Well, I raised my hand and explained to her how Herman Melville wasn’t appreciated in his time, either. She couldn’t argue with fact. He didn’t make any money off of his book or get any notice or anything. I mean, come on.”

I sat there imagining this dude as a student in the back of class, carefully and demeaningly explaining to his university professor all about this unknown and underappreciated author Herman Melville. And then I thought about how, because every now and again white men aren’t celebrated for their contributions to society during their lifetime, clearly that means that any claim that other groups are systematically omitted from history is absurd and can be debunked. Nothing like one example to disprove racism and sexism, you know?

“Wow. That must have really changed everything for her.”

Sarcasm. It’s totally my thing. I love it.

“Pretty much, yea.”

Except for when people completely miss it. I shook my head in disbelief. Clearly a lost cause. I went back to reading my lady book that was clearly  all about shopping, entertaining my simple lady brain with pretty, sparkly images of credit cards and shoes. Whales? What are those? He went back to making thinly veiled sexist commentary about the world in general, quoting outdated, offensive stand-up skits from the late 80s. Sometimes I just don’t have it in me. Sometimes I just want to be a girl at a bar, reading a book, without feeling the need to educate every neanderthal I come in contact with about the patriarchy. The stupidity is just too much sometimes. It’s exhausting.

 

Tip #15 on Being a Good Bar Customer

21 Nov

Hello friends and happy Saturday to you! And here we are, back to some helpful tips from your friendly* neighborhood bartender on how not to make me and my fellow bartenders hate you. Feeling a little rusty in bar etiquette? Well, feel free to freshen up with some past tips. Tip #1, tip #2, tip #3, tip #4, tip #5, tip#6, tip #7, tip#8, tip #9, tip #10, tip #11, tip #12, tip #13 and tip #14. And don’t forget about this non tip which is one of my favorites. Alright. Let’s go.

Where to begin? I guess by saying that if you look at this story in a certain way, it can maybe be a little bit sad. But don’t look at it that way, okay? Because there is so much sadness happening in the world and sometimes it’s nice to just forget about it for a minute. And, of course, to feel fortunate that we have the luxury to do so. So last night at about 8:45, give or take, an older woman walked into my bar and ordered a double gin and tonic. She was very clearly a woman suffering from a very long fight with alcoholism. I could see it in her face. I had a moment where I thought maybe I shouldn’t serve her, but she wasn’t misbehaving at that point and I had to remind myself once again that it is not my job to save people from themselves as long as they aren’t an immediate danger to themselves or others. It’s something I have to remind myself of time and time again and, honestly, I never feel less shitty about it. Moving on. I made the drink and she reached into her wallet and handed me a credit card. I said to her, as I say to everyone who tries to pay by card at this particular bar,

“I just need to see an ID with your card.”

I am routinely met by four different reactions when I request ID:

  1. People simply don’t give a fuck and hand me the ID (love them)
  2. People are happy because
    1. they think I doubt they are of legal age to drink and in their heads they begin celebrating their chosen skin care technique; clearly it’s been working!
    2. they realize I am verifying that they are the rightful owner of the credit card they are presenting and are pleased that we are taking precautions to safe guard their identity
  3. People feel inconvenienced or miffed for some reason and reach into their wallets to pay cash, which is actually better for me
  4. People are mad because they were IDed at the door and pulling out the ID again is really hard even though it usually lives in their wallets, right near where the credit card lives

This lady fell squarely into category four. First she got irritated and said that she had been drinking in the other bar (there are two bars at this particular spot) and that she hadn’t been IDed which I called bullshit on. And, upon speaking with my coworker, I found out he had cut her off which was why she came to me. Second, she tried the old “I don’t have my ID” routine which quickly fell apart when her ID made itself clearly visible when she opened her wallet. Third, she got mad and called me stupid. That’s right, folks. After taking the time to explain to her that it is bar policy that I cannot run a card unless I check ID she decided the most expedient way to get the drink she wanted was to call the person in control of said drink stupid. Bad move.

This is actually a two-part tip. The first part of the tip is don’t call your bartender stupid. I mean, let’s be honest. Calling people stupid is rude and also we’re all adults with imaginations here. We can totally come up with something better. Calling someone stupid is so recess.

So I did what anyone would do and told her that she couldn’t have the drink. She started shoving her ID and credit card at me and saying

You want ID? Here’s ID!

To which I responded,

Yea, that’s great, but actually that’s no longer the issue. You called me stupid. You could present me your birth certificate and social security card and I still wouldn’t give you this drink. Have a nice night.

I walked away and dealt with the other customers at my bar at which point she left and went back into the other bar. Then I got security and told him to escort the woman out because seriously, who needs to be called stupid at the beginning of their night, or at any part of their night really? No one, that’s who. I then watched from behind the bar as she puffed up her 5’4″ frame and kicked a few chairs as she walked next to the security guard, Gino, who’s about 3 times her size and like 50 times nicer. I could tell that she was yelling some nonsense at him and I imagined it had everything to do with me and how stupid I am. I couldn’t wait to find out what it was. As soon as the coast was clear and my customers were sufficiently beveraged, I hustled to the front gate to get the lowdown. Apparently she was very upset that I had kicked her out and said that she has connections to the mob and that she was going to have those connections come back to the bar and blow it up and that, and this is a direct quote,

“when this bar blows up it will all be because of that girl in the little bar! It will be her fault!”

I said to Gino that if the bar blows up they can put that on my tomb stone. RIP Rebekah. It was all her fault.

So here’s the second part of the tip. Don’t threaten to have your mob connections, real or imagined, blow up the bar. Especially not now, when people are on high alert about things being blown up. It’s totally fucked up. Admittedly, it’s more creative than calling someone stupid, but puts you at risk of being reported to the police for making a threat of violence. And all because you didn’t want to show ID.

So yea, just show your ID. Keep your feelings about my intelligence to yourself and don’t threaten to blow up my place of employment.

The end.

*Friendliness is in the eye of the beholder. Just remember that.