Tag Archives: waitress

The Dysfunctional Diners

18 May

Sometimes at work, I like to wait on dysfunctional families. And when I say “I like to wait on dysfunctional families” what I mean is “I really hate waiting on dysfunctional families in most circumstances, but when it is literally SO SLOW that I’m lucky to make 35 dollars, I like waiting on dysfunctional families because it gives me a source of entertainment.” Yesterday was one such day.

Outside of the bar area of the steakhouse, there is this little antique phone hanging on the wall above two chairs and a small cocktail table. Most people walk by the phone and don’t even acknowledge its existence. Sometimes people will say “Oh what a cute little phone!” and that’s the end of it. And then sometimes, but ONLY sometimes, will a family of four walk into the bar, only to have the younger of the two sons break away and say, “LOOK AT THAT PHONE MOM! ITS ANCIENT!” and the mom will screech and get out her iPad to take a photo of the kid climbing onto the chairs and putting his shoes on the table just to reach the phone, yank it off of the wall, and take a picture.

Already I knew… this was it. This family was going to be my source of entertainment for the night.

Now in order to fully let you understand what I was dealing with, I need to describe these people.

Over-Worked Father: Dressed in an Ohio State T-shirt with a receding hairline and a forehead that looked like it was made of turtle skin. (Tight, yet very wrinkly and malleable.) He looked like he had been forced to listen to the My Little Pony theme song (the 80’s version, not today’s version) on repeat for six years prior to entering this upscale steakhouse. He looked angry. He looked aggressive. He looked defeated.
Enabling Mother: Wearing a t-shirt covered by what I could only imagine was a jacket made from llama shavings. She had puffy blonde hair, but her inch-and-a-half roots were black and growing out. She was not excited to be in the steakhouse. She reminded me of the mom on American Beauty…. smiling, trying desperately to keep everyone together when everyone would much rather be three states apart in each direction. Seeing her smile actually made me sad.
Satan: Satan is the older of the two brothers. Wearing swim trunks and a gray t shirt, Satan literally did not smile ONCE in the two hours he was seated at this steakhouse. Literally, Not. Once.
Sid: I have named the younger of the brothers Sid because he literally was Sid from Toy Story.

Sid-toy-story

Literally. This face. That voice.

So after Sid climbs onto the cocktail table to violently claim the antique phone, and after Enabling Mother takes the picture, the four of them sit down at a table. Already I can hear the muffled anger coming from their direction. Satan throwing his arms into the air and violently sighing, pushing so much air out of his lungs that Enabling Mother’s fluffy hair actually billows a bit from sitting across from him.

My coworker Lucas looks at the table, then looks at me.

Lucas: Have fun.
Me: Jesus take the wheel.

I grab four beverage napkins, and approach the table. I start to give myself a pep talk… I am smiling! I am happy! Maybe I can help this family stop fighting and make their meal really awesome, so they’ll leave happier than when they came in! I am an amazing employee and I can do this! There is a reason our company calls their employees “Stars!” AND I AM THAT REASON!!!

I inhale to greet them, and-
Enabling Mother: Will you two just SIT DOWN?
Satan: (Speak-yelling at Over-Worked Father in such a disrespectful tone I was surprised that no one physically assaulted him) YOU TOLD ME I COULDN’T BRING MY HEADPHONES TO DINNER AND NOW HE HAS HIS! (motions to Sid)
Sid: (Headphones in, playing a game on his smartphone that is larger and more high tech than my own phone. He is 8. He is not only completely unaware of this conversation, but also of me standing there beside him, beaming.)
Over-Worked Father: What were you going to use them for, anyway? Hm?
Satan: I ALREADY TOLD YOU. I was gonna watch YOUTUBE VIDEOS.
Over-Worked Father: And you? (looks at Sid) Hey!
Sid:
Over-Worked Father: HEY!
Sid:
Over-Worked Father: (gestures) SID!
Sid: (Looks up only because Over-Worked Father waved his arms)
Over-Worked Father: SID WHAT ARE YOU USING THE HEADPHONES FOR!?
Sid: (Takes out one, ONE, of the ear buds. He sighs.) I’m playing a game. DOY!
(Heightened silence while Over-Worked Father seems to be deciding which sound he hates more. Game VS YouTube. Finally he looks at Sid with eyebrows raised.)
Over-Worked Father: Sid? (As if to say… C’mon, Give your brother the headphones.)
Sid: (Already has the earbud back in and is playing his game. He is unaware of everything.)

Keep in mind I am STILL standing at the table, smiling, just watching all of this. Beaming. Smiling like this is the sweetest conversation I have ever heard in my entire life, as if this earbud saga is the most heartwarming tale of selfless love to ever touch my little cocktail waitress heart.

Enabling Mother: (Looks up at me with a huge smile.) Well… We aren’t spoiled, ARE WE? Ha ha ha HAHA! …Ha… um.

Silence. I am still standing there smiling, waiting to see if there will be ay other protests or interruptions before I speak. There are none.

Me: SO! How IS everyone today? Just wonderful? Fantastic! My name is Carolyn and I’ll be serving you today!
Family: Blank stares from everyone except for Sid, who is playing his game and not looking at anyone. Satan is giving me a look of pure evil and hatred.
Satan: FINE! Well I’M JUST GOING TO WATCH YOUTUBE AND YOU ARE JUST GOING TO HAVE TO LISTEN TO IT!!!!!!!
Enabling mother puts her hands over her eyes. Over-Worked Father stares at a crumb on the floor.
Me: GREAT! May I start you all off with something to drink? Maybe some beer? (I shoot this at Over-Worked Father. He looks at me like I am his only key to salvation.)
Over-Worked Father: I’ll take a Sam Adams.
Enabling Mother: I need wine. A nice, dry red wine.
Me: But of course. And for you sir? (Talking to Satan)
Satan still has his arms crossed and is giving me the look of poison.
Me: MAYBE A KIDDIE COCKTAIL!!!
Satan: (Jaw drops to reveal uneven bottom teeth.)
Enabling Mother: Just a round of waters for them.
Me: Of course! I’ll be right back!

I can’t handle this. I can’t do it. I have never wanted to punch a child so much in my entire life. If I go back over to that table and Satan is still giving me that look, I will be FORCED to asked if there is ANYTHING I can do to make his dining experience more to his liking… I will ask him why he is so angry, and I WILL do it with a smile, and I WILL do everything in my power to make him stop looking like such a miserable little garbage can.

I deliver the waters, making sure to smile at Satan the entire time.
Me: So, does anyone have any questions about the menu?
Silence. Dead, still, silence. For a moment I wonder if I’m invisible. I wonder if I actually asked the question out loud, or if I just thought I did… Maybe I’M the awkward one here, just showing up to their table not saying anything at all…
Over-Worked Father: (To Satan) NO, actually I am POSITIVE that a potato is a vegetable.
Satan: NO IT ISN’T. A POTATO IS NOT A VEGETABLE.
Over-Worked Father: Yes. It is.
Satan: NO. It ISN’T.
Enabling Mother: It’s a starch.
Satan: SEE DAD? SEE DAD I TOLD YOU A POTATO IS NOT A VEGETABLE.
(Over-Worked Father looks at his wife as if she is literally the dumbest person in the world. In just one look, I can tell that he is so disgusted at how his life has played out- that he has actually CHOSEN this woman to be his life partner, that he CHOSE to procreate with her above literally EVERYONE ELSE in the whole world, that his next words erupt from his mouth with such resentment and hatred I’m afraid the next topic of conversation will be custody rights. Custody Rights where both parents fight about who HAS to keep them.)
Over-Worked Father: Just because it is a starch doesn’t mean it isn’t a vegetable.
Me: (Beaming!)
Enabling Mother: Whatever. Either way, you need to eat healthier.
Over-Worked Father: I am on vacation, I will eat however I please.
Enabling Mother: (Finishing a gulp of wine) Oh, you’re on vacation? You’re at a work function. Please.

I actually witness Over-Worked Father picking and choosing his battles. He looks at the menu. And I am still standing there, waiting for someone to answer my question.

Over-Worked Father: Satan? What do you want to eat?
Satan: I already TOLD YOU, I want WINGS.
Over-Worked Father: (Death stare. I suddenly realize where Satan has learned his facial expressions.) They don’t have those here. Get the kids fillet. It’ll be the best thing you ever eat.
Satan: I don’t WANT IT.
Enabling Mother: Okay, you know what? They don’t have wings! Okay, fine, nothing. He will have nothing. I am going to have the french onion soup and the wedge salad.
Me: Very good!
Enabling Mother: Sid?
Sid: (Playing his game)
Me: (Beaming at Sid)
Enabling Mother: (Punches him on the arm.) HEY! Mac n’ cheese?
Sid: (Barely responds. I think I may have heard him say “Mm.”)
Enabling Mother: Mac N’ Cheese for him.
Over-Worked Father: I am going to have the Salmon. GOD I’m at a steakhouse and I’m getting SALMON.
Me: Actually our salmon is phenomenal. You won’t be disappointed.
Enabling Mother: (Ignoring me) Make sure you ask for the lentils on the side. I won’t eat those.
Over-Worked Father: Whatever, they’re big. I’ll move them away, it’s not a big deal.
Me: (Thinking “Our lentils are actually tiny, but I’m not going to say that for fear of getting stabbed.”)
Enabling Mother: (suddenly sweeter than ever) Satan? Honey, are you’re sure you don’t want anything?
Satan: (Stares at her. Pouting. Mutters-) …Ids Illay.
Enabling Mother: What was that!?
Satan: (Yelling) KIDS FILLET.
Me: (Looking directly at Satan himself) And how would you like that prepared, young sir?!?!
Satan: (Pure evil. Poison is leaking from his eyes.)
Enabling Mother: Medium well.
Me: Fantastic! I’ll get that right in for you, and I’ll also bring some fresh bread and butter for the table.
SID: YUUUUUUMMMMMMM!!!!!
Me: (Wanting desperately to say “Wait- you can hear me! You can SEE me!?” I walk away.)

When I bring the bread to the table, Sid hulks out. He RIPS the earbuds out of his head and lunges for the bread, as if he hasn’t eaten in six weeks. With every inhale it sounds like he’s slurping something- which is quite a miraculous feat because he is ingesting BREAD, and with every exhale there is an audible vocalization of “Mmmm.” It’s a rather disturbing cycle, but no one addresses it. Meanwhile, Satan is sitting in his chair like a frog. The bottoms of his shoes are actually on the seat of the chair, and any time he wants to drink his water, he literally springs up, puts his hands on the table, and bends over to put his mouth on the straw… instead of just picking up the glass and bringing it to his mouth like any other normal person on the planet. No one addresses this either.

When their food finally does come, I watch intently to see what happens. I watch to see if Satan does, indeed, like his KIDS FILLET. He does. Obviously, you’re gonna like the kids fillet, you ungrateful, unwanted, rat-faced collection of disappointments and broken dreams. You’re at one of the best steakhouses in Orlando and you’re eating a 5 oz fillet! And even if it IS prepared medium well, thanks to your insane to the membrane mother, it’s going to be the best thing you eat all week.

So, that’s basically the end of the story. Once the food came everyone kind of shut up and ate, and the only thing that was semi-amusing about them at this point was when Sid grabbed the black dish that held their side item, and screamed, in the EXACT voice of Sid from Toy Story, “IS THIS MADE OUT OF IRON????” Over-Worked Father tipped 20 percent and they all decided to GTFO. I think he was appreciative that I didn’t announce that we had dessert options… instead, I discreetly handed him the dessert menu out of view of his spawn and said, quietly, “In case you’re interested…”

It’s sad, but I’ve come to realize the importance of alcohol mixed with some good food when it comes to dysfunctional families. Usually by the end of the meal I can have people laughing and actually interacting with each other without arguing anymore. And yet, with this family, I was just happy that no one got slapped… by me. I hope the rest of their business trip/vacation(???) fared better than that atrocious meal, but I won’t hold my breath. I bet Sid is still sitting somewhere right now playing his game and slurp-breathing, and Satan is watching YouTube with that disgusted look on his face, Enabling Mother is looking through a magazine at the body and life she’ll never have, and Over-Worked Father is answering emails and wondering where his life went wrong. It’s really sad to think about these families like this once they’re gone, so I try not to. I just bring them their check, and hope for the best. I have to pay my bills, you know.

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True Life: I Let A Man Pay Me 100 Dollars To See My Foot

23 Sep

I was paid 100 dollars to show my foot to a stranger.

There. I said it. Finally. And I actually feel an intensely confusing sense of pride and shame from finally typing that sentence and releasing it into the interweb. But it’s true. Some dude paid me 100 dollars. For my foot. I wish I could just tell you the story starting from the point where the guy said, “How much would I have to pay you to show me your foot?” But I want you to get the full effect of the story. So, I have to make like Julie Andrews and “Start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.”

The day I was paid 100 dollars to show my foot to a stranger started like any other day. Which is to say I woke up to my half-naked sister dancing in my room blasting Will Smith’s “Welcome To Miami.”

You see, we were going to make the four hour trip to Miami the next day, and she wanted me to get up early before work and go shopping with her. I didn’t really need anything, but work had been uncharacteristically lucrative recently, and I wanted to get a new swimsuit. I agreed to go with her.

We stopped at American Apparel first in hopes of finding a baby shirt for Sister to wear. I was flipping through the articles of clothing, scoffing at the ridiculous prices and wondering who on this planet would pay 40 dollars for a piece of cloth that could barely cover a newborn baby, when suddenly I saw them: Thigh high black socks.

I work at a pub, where I am required to wear a kilt and black socks. I had been searching for thigh high black socks for ages, and was finally convinced that they didn’t exist, until this pivotal moment. Now when I say thigh-high black socks, I mean thigh high black SOCKS. Not panty hose. Not fish nets. I don’t want to look like a Scottish street walker while delivering Belhaven Beer Cheese. I just want to look stylish and have warm legs in the coming colder months.

Needless to say, I purchased said socks immediately… in three different colors… and was feeling pretty accomplished. I couldn’t wait to let the socks make their debut that evening at work!

Work started slowly enough, with me getting about 3 tables an hour. (For a waitress, this is EXTREMELY slow.) I hoped the dinner rush would prove to be a bit more exciting. Despite the slow business, I was still feeling pretty good. After all, I was sporting my brand new black thigh-high socks, and they were saying up on my legs without me pulling at them every four minutes. Success.

The dinner rush did prove to be a bit more exciting. As it started to die down, three middle-aged white men approached the rail. I could immediately tell three things about them:

1. They were going to drink a lot of beer.
2. They were going to have a large bill, and quite possibly tip me very well.
3. They were going to make sexual jokes and be generally inappropriate all night, and if I wanted the large tip, I would have to not only endure this embarrassment, but also hold my own.

What I didn’t know, was that one of them had a foot fetish and would, in time, offer to pay me 100 dollars to see my foot. I also did not know that I would find it in myself to agree to this absurd proposition.

They introduced themselves. As a waitress, when a group of men actually take the time to introduce themselves to you, you immediately know that these humans wish to get to know you on a more personal level. Usually, as long as I deliver the alcohol in a timely manner, people don’t care if my name is Carolyn, Coco Chanel, or Captain America. They just don’t. And I can respect that.

I’m ashamed to admit that I don’t remember their names. I’m horrible with names, and if I knew they were going to pay me 100 dollars, I probably would have made more of an effort to remember them. BUT! For the sake of the story, I’m going to rename them.

Don was a large man. Don was also a drunk man. He struck me as the tag-along friend, the one that is never the center of attention, but tags along anyway to see what he can get from the trickle down effect of his more out spoken and better looking friends. He was very handsy, meaning he liked to experience the world through touch. He liked touching my arm, he liked touching his beer glass, he liked touching his own thigh. And as he drank more beer, he realized he very much liked touching my waist. I tried to keep three feet between Don and myself at all times.

Pete was the most normal of the three males. He also seemed to be the most sober. Pete was polite, generous, and generally well behaved. Unlike Don, he never attempted to touch any part of my body at any point in time. He was an averagely built gentleman, with a full head of hair and those little wrinkles around his eyes when he smiled. He was probably in his forties.

Last, but not least, was the Big Spender himself. He was a built gentleman, with big arms and dark spikey hair. He was the type who would look into your eyes when you were speaking to him directly, but then would let his eyes wonder to other parts of you the moment you looked at one of his friends. He seemed to be harmless enough, despite his sexual joking and louder-than-a-gorilla’s-mating-call laughter.

Me: Hey guys! My name’s Carolyn, I’ll be taking care of you today.
Big Spender: Oh WILL you, now?
Don: We want beer!
Pete: (Sheepish look as if to say, “I’m so sorry for what you’re about to experience.”)
Me: (Looking back at Pete as if to say, “Don’t worry, dude. I’ve got this.”) I certainly will be.
Big Spender: (Holding out his hand) I’m Big Spender.
Don: AND I’M DON.
Pete: Pete.
Me: Nice to meet you guys. You look pretty thirsty.
Big Spender: Carolyn! What a beautiful name. Why YES Carolyn, we ARE very thirsty. Are you going to bring us something to wet the whistle?
Me: (Mentally picturing myself stepping in front of a bus, rather than waiting on these people) That is why they pay me the big bucks.
MALE HUMANS: Hahaha!
Me: So what can I get you gentleman?
Don: WE WANT BEER.
Big Spender: Carolyn, come’ere a sec.
Me: What?
Big Spender: Come here.
(I step a tiny, miniscule, less-than-an-inch closer.)
Big Spender: (Lowering his voice as if he’s revealing an issue of national security.) I hear… that you guys have… beer samplers.
Me: Why, yes we do! It’s actually a great deal.
Big Spender: Explain that to me a little bit, would you?
Me: Well… you get four five ounce samples of beer for a little bit more than five bucks. It’s a good deal because you’re basically getting a pint of beer, but you get to try different kinds.
Big Spender: So… you get five beers?
Me: Uh… no-
Don: YOU GET FOUR PINTS.
Me: Oh, no, you just get four five-ounce samples.
Big Spender: So you don’t get a big pint.
Pete: No. She just said you get four little samples on a sampler.
Don: We want beer. Bring us beer.
Me: We have a lot of beer. What kinds do you guys want?
Big Spender: We want to do the beer sampler.
Me: (Already dreading this because entering in beer samplers into the computer system is HORRIFYING and makes my bartender’s lives difficult and annoying) Okay. You want to do one beer sampler?
Don: NO. We want three of them!
Me: Okay. What kind of beer do you guys want?
Pete: Just surprise us.
Me: Do you guys like lagers? Ales? Stouts?
Don: I like beer.
Big Spender: I like Blue Moon.
Pete: I like stouts. I want to try your Young’s Double Chocolate Stout.
Me: (Mentally thanking Pete for his direct and specific request, mentally shooting Don for being a troll.) Okay! I’ll just surprise you.

I walked away from the three of them feeling like I had just been kicked a few times by a stranger; I felt ashamed and confused and a little angry. But I would prevail! After all, I could tell that they were going to have a pretty large tab, and would probably tip me well, if I could stomach their crap.

I brought them three beer samplers, separated by type. A lager sampler, an IPA sampler, and a stout sampler. They seemed excited and impressed with my knowledge of the different beers.

Me: So! There you go. Do you guys need food menus?
Pete: Why don’t you just come back in a few minutes and we’ll let you know how we’re feeling.
Me: Okay! Sounds great. Thanks!

They continued to drink, order more samplers, and get a few appetizers. Every time they ordered something new, Big Spender would ask me to come closer so he could murmur a question about a desired item, and get my opinion.  I wondered if he actually thought quiet conversations about spring rolls and goat cheese turned me on.

I tried to keep my distance, but check on them enough to make them feel like I cherished their presence. It’s a delicate balance, a precarious walk on a social tight rope, if you will. It’s sometimes important to make men feel like they complete you, especially when those men are the ones paying your utility bills.

After they had finished their beers and appetizers, I decided to check on them again.

Me: You guys still okay?
Don: We want more beer!
Me: Okay, well-
Big Spender: Carolyn! Carolyn. Com’ere.
Me: (Stepping a centimeter closer.) Yes, Big Spender? What is it this time?
Big Spender: I have to ask you something, but I’m afraid of your reaction.
Me: (Thinking: For the love of all things alcoholic, how much longer do I have to put up with this bull shit?) Well, I won’t bite. I can assure you of that.
MALE HUMANS: BAA HAHAHA!
Big Spender: And you know, I believe in just saying it. You know? Just coming out and saying it!
(At this point, Pete and Don are dying laughing, so I know something ridiculous is going to follow.)
Me: Hit me.
Big Spender: Okay. Well. I…
Me: You…
Big Spender: I have a foot fetish.
Me:
Big Spender:
Don: HAH!
Pete: Bluhrderhaha…
Me:
Big Spender:
Me:
Big Spender:
Me: … Seriously?
Big Spender: Yes.
Me: Haha. Like, an actual fetish? With women’s feet?
Big Spender: Exactly.
Me: (Trying to make my voice sound as accepting as possible.) Okay! Cool.
Big Spender: And we’ve been talking, and we all have voted, and we all agree that you’d probably have really, REALLY nice feet.
Me: Heh heh heh… Oh really!?  (Thinking: What the hell?)
Big Spender: I noticed you have really pretty nails.
Me: Oh, yeah, I just did them, actually. You see I’m going to Miami with my sister and our best friend tomorrow.
Big Spender: You ARE!?
Me: Yeah. I actually just painted my toes too, heh heh…
Big Spender:
Me: Um.. yeah. So. Eerm…
Big Spender: So I was wondering… how much money would I have to pay you to have you let me see your feet?
Me: Haha! … What.
Big Spender: How much would it cost to let me see your feet?

At this point, Don and Pete are laughing so hard I can’t really tell if Big Spender is being serious or not. This could all be a joke, this could be them setting me up, trying to play a joke on me. I feel, for a second, that Ashton Kutcher and the film crew are going to come sprinting out from behind the bar saying “GOTCHA!”

Me: Are you serious?
Big Spender: (Completely serious face) I’m serious.
Pete: He’s actually not lying. It’s been a joke for years that he has this thing with feet.
Me: But… why? Feet are so weird!
Big Spender: I don’t know! It’s just the way God made them, I guess. I just LOVE feet.
Me: Okay…
Big Spender: So how much?
Me: How much is it to see my foot?
Big Spender: Yeah.
Me: Just to see it?
Big Spender: Yeah. Would 40 bucks do?

Now, at this point, I was positively thrilled because I probably would have shown him my foot for five dollars, lesbihonest. But he offered me FORTY dollars. I couldn’t even handle it.

Me: You’re telling me you’re going to pay me forty dollars just to SHOW you my foot?
Big Spender: Yep. See? Here’s the money right here.
(He shows me two twenties, and I suddenly feel like I’m involved in a drug deal… but the drug is the promise of a foot sighting.)
Big Spender: I’ll even pay you right now so you know I’m serious.
Me: You’re really not joking about any of this, are you?
Big Spender: Not at all.
Me: (Already knowing I’m going to show this man my foot.) Okay, well, I have a few other tables to check on. Let me go check on them and I’ll come back, okay?

I check on my other tables, all the while a little voice in my head is saying, “Are you seriously going to let this man pay you to see your foot?” As I’m heading back to the kitchen to drop off some dirty dishes, I run into Don who is coming out of the bathroom. He blunders over to me and throws his arm around my shoulders.

Don: Lishten. Cawolin, lishten.
Me: Woah Don!
Don: If he ashks to tuhch yah faht, ashk to dubble aht.
Me: Double it?
Don: Dubble tha prysh. Ashk fa eighty.
Me: Eighty dollars to touch my foot?
Don: HAHA! Yah!!

I disentangled myself from Don’s clutches and continued on my way to the kitchen, laughing at him like he was crazy. Would Big Spender actually ask to touch my foot? What the heck? If he did, would I have the guts to double the price? Was I actually sitting here, contemplating bartering the price of my friggin’ foot with a patron of my place of employment?

I returned to their table, and Big Spender did indeed ask about the price to touch my foot. Let me reiterate this again: A man that I was serving asked me about the price of my FOOT. I laughed at him like he was crazy, but behind his back Don was waving like a moron mouthing: “DUBBLE AHT!” Just for kicks, I said, “Well, if you wanted to touch my foot I would have to double the price.”

Big Spender: Eighty dollars to touch your foot? Done.
Me: WHAT!? You cannot be serious!
Big Spender: Absolutely serious.
Me: You haven’t even SEEN my foot yet! What if you think it’s gross?
Big Spender: I seriously doubt your foot is gross. So do we have a deal?
Me: (Pretending to be considering this) Uh… look, this is crazy! Haha, I gotta check on my other tables again. I’ll be back, okay?
Big Spender: Okay! I’m serious. Eighty big ones.

I walked away from them, and inside a moral battle was raging. One side of me was screaming “NO! THIS CREEP WITH A FETISH WANTS TO ACTUALLY TOUCH YOUR FOOT FOR MONEY!” The other side of me was saying, “I like money. All of the money.”

Do I seriously let this man pay me eighty dollars to TOUCH my foot? Is this gross? Yes. Is this weird? Yes. Am I a horrible person for even considering this? Probably, yes. How many other people would actually even consider this? No idea. Does this qualify as prostitution? Debatable. Will I be a foot prostitute if I go through with this? Also debatable.

Good Carolyn: I don’t want to be a foot prostitute!
Bad Carolyn: It’s not prostitution! He’s just looking at your FOOT. If you were wearing sandals he’d look at it for free.
Good Carolyn: YEAH, but he’s asking to PAY to touch it. HE IS TRYING TO TOUCH MY FOOT.
Bad Carolyn: It’s not like he’s asking to suck on your toes.
Good Carolyn: EW!
Bad Carolyn: Do you want money to go to Miami?
Good Carolyn: Well, yes, but-
Bad Carolyn: And if you DON’T do this, how much will you have made tonight?
Good Carolyn: … Probably less than 50 bucks.
Bad Carolyn: Exactly. Woo! Fifty dollars, awesome sauce. Now get over there and bear your foot to that man!
Good Carolyn: But… I have on this thigh-high sock! This brand new, black, sock-
Bad Carolyn: HOLY LINT! THE SOCK!
Good Carolyn: Oh no- The BRAND NEW SOCK!
Bad Carolyn: You get your butt to the bathroom and clean off your foot NOW!
Good Carolyn: Right away!!!!

You KNOW I rushed my kilted tush to the bathroom, locked myself in a stall, and removed that thigh-high sock faster than you could say “foot whore.” At this point, I wasn’t sure if I was going to let Big Spender touch it, but I knew for forty bucks I’d at least let him see it. And I wouldn’t be caught DEAD with black lint all up over my foot.

Holy. Brand new. Sock lint. I could have probably filled up half of a shot glass with all of the black fibers I removed from my toes, toe nails, and heels. If Big Spender could see me now… As soon as I decided my foot was clean enough to view, I gently, carefully put the sock back on my foot. As I washed my hands in the sink, I looked at myself in the mirror. I saw two green eyes staring back at me, two eyes that seemed to be urging me forward and judging me all at once. It was now, or never.

I left the bathroom and approached the three of them.

Me: Alright.
Big Spender: Alright?
Me: (complete, no-nonsense attitude) Alright, for eighty dollars you can see… and touch… my foot.
MALE HUMANS: (Collective explosion of laughter and general celebration.)
Me: But listen! You can’t be gross about this. You can see it, you can hold it in your hand. THAT’S IT. No rubbing, no caressing. See the foot, touch it, and it goes back in my sock and into my boot. And if I tell you to stop, you stop. Got that?
Big Spender: (Laughing) Aw man, you’re such a good sport. You’re a sweetheart. Alright.

I leaned against a near-by bar stool. As I did all of this, it was like I was watching myself do it. I watched myself take off my combat boot and step out of my sock. I watched myself reveal my (what I consider to be a positively disgusting) foot to Big Spender. I watched myself watch Big Spender examine my foot. There was a moment of heightened silence… for a split second, I was mortified. Not because I was showing this man my foot… but because for a moment, I was afraid he would find my foot to be as disgusting and repulsive as I thought my own foot was… The four of us hovered in that heightened silence for what seemed to be an eternity. Pete covered his mouth to hide his smile. Don drank a sip of beer and looked expectantly at Big Spender. Big Spender gazed at my foot. I stood perfectly still. Finally, someone spoke.

Big Spender: Wow.
Me: …Wow?
Big Spender: You have AMAZING feet.

At this point, Big Spender reached down… and touched my foot. The second his hand came in contact with my foot skin, I thought, “It is finished.” He held my foot in his hand, gently, like he was holding something delicate. Like a baby hummingbird or something. And then, he looked up into my eyes and smiled. And yes, it was sort of creepy. But it was also fascinating, and kind of cute (?) in a weird, what-the-hell-is-happening-to-me-right-now-is-this-real-life sort of way. “Cute” really isn’t the right word… Actually it’s a terrible word, but I don’t know what other word would describe it. To be honest, I didn’t feel grossed out, or threatened, or violated. I just felt indifferent. And I wanted my money.

I removed my foot from his hand and laughed the whole thing off. Don and Pete cheered and hugged me, and all three of them told me how hilarious and easy-going I was. They kept saying “You’re such a good sport!” And then, the moment I had been waiting for happened. Big Spender got out his wallet.

Big Spender: You’re such a good sport! Seriously, you’re great! Here! (He started flipping through his stack of 20 dollar bills) Twenty, fourty, sixty, eighty, one hundred. Here you go. You were awesome. I’d like to give you more, but that’s all the cash I have.
Me: Are you serious!?
Big Spender: Absolutely. You were hysterical and you’ve made our entire trip.
Me: You just gave me one hundred dollars cash because I let you touch my foot.
Big Spender: Yep!
Me: You understand that my friends are NEVER going to let me live this down? Like… ever.
Big Spender: Haha! That’s great!
Me: No, I don’t think you understand. When my grandchildren ask me to tell them a story about when I was younger, I am going to tell them about this night.
MALE HUMANS: HAHAHAHA!!!
Me: I’m not joking.

And that is how it happened. That is how I let a man pay me one hundred dollars to see and touch my foot. After this happened, I ran to the bathroom and took this picture. I sent it to my sister immediately.

The caption read, “It is finished.”

photo-2

Oh, and I was right about the other thing- about the whole “My friends will never let me live this down” thing. The entire weekend in Miami, my sister would finish anything I said with, “Your opinion doesn’t matter anymore, you sold your foot to a man,” or, “You’re a footstitute.” We would also chant, “Shake, shake, shake yo money-maker!” and I would shake my left foot around and smack it while biting my lower lip.

Now that it’s all said and done, I don’t know if I should feel an immense sense of accomplishment, or an overwhelming feeling of shame. Maybe a little bit of both is healthy. The good news is, I haven’t spent any of the money yet! I’m saving it for something. For what? I don’t know… I kind of just want to frame the five twenty-dollar bills as a memento. But lets be honest- that probably won’t happen.

Reflections of a Waitress

17 Aug

I thought working at a theme park was difficult. I thought getting up at the same time every day and doing the same thing every day with the same people every day was torture. Sure, I was doing what I loved, but was it worth it?

Pros of working a theme park:

1. You get IN SHAPE. Skinny arm central.

2. You don’t actually have to interact with anyone outside of your cast.

3. Sparkly gold dresses.

Pros of being a waitress:

1. Tips.

2. Schedules that are subject to change.

3. Working with different people every day.

Cons of theme park work:

1. Summer. Heat.

2. You don’t actually interact with anyone outside of your cast.

3. Sequins catch sweaty hair.

Cons of being a waitress:

1. Tips. Low, less than 10% tips.

2. Less hours, less shifts, less money.

3. Having to learn the names of cooks, fellow waitresses/waiters, bar tenders, bus boys, hosts, managers, regular customers, etc…

Being a waitress has made me realize how many different people there are in the world. Waiting on people is fascinating. How many dysfunctional couples did I get to actually speak to during my summer as a performer? None. Now, I have the privilege of talking to these fine people every day! I’ve started to give titles to memorable types of people, mostly to help me identify which type they are more quickly, and act accordingly. Here are a few types just off the top of my head:

Tired Mothers

  • Appearance: Baggy eyes, over-the-shoulder diagonally hanging beige bag, usually accompanied by 3 loud, dirty, and needy children under the age of ten. Almost never accompanied by a helpful adult male companion.
  • Disposition: Short tempered, exhausted, speaks quietly, as if every word is painful to mutter. Usually becomes offended if told we have Pepsi products instead of Coke products.
  • Tip average: Less than ten percent, which is usually taken from the already discounted total due to her “smart” child’s “A+ is for Applebees!” free kids meal coupon.

Business Men

  • Appearance: Suit and tie, button up shirt (usually light blue). Manly man bag which includes a lap top and/or a huge official looking black leather spiral notebook. Usually accompanied by two or more of his same kind, but must wait patiently for their arrival. While waiting, he will order an Arnold Palmer.
  • Disposition: Before 3:00- relatively happy, eager to make the waitress laugh by cracking uncomfortable sexist jokes. Secretly enjoys making the waitress do everything twice, because it makes him feel powerful. Drinks his drink quickly, and shakes the ice at the waitress while she walks by. He seals the deal by giving a creepy wink, framed by a bushy pepper-colored eyebrow. Also frequently says things like, “Good job, honey” and “Now THERE we go!” when a refill is delivered to the table.After 3:00- relatively tired, eager to get his food and read his official looking notebook. Usually accompanied by fellow Business Men who are also relatively tired, and don’t want to be eating and doing business at the same time. Painfully polite dialogue is common, and sexist jokes diminish at an abnormally fast pace.
  • Tip average: 15% if each man pays separately, 25% or higher if one man confidently grabs the check and pays for everyone before anyone can say anything about it. He will make a big show of filling out the tip line of his check, and will say, “There you go, sweetie, buy something pretty” as he hands you the slip. Tipping more than 20% means you are secure, dominant, and manly, and shows the other men at the table that you are, in fact, a “boss.”

High School Students:

  • Appearance: Young “hip” looking teens. Usually wearing a Hollister shirt or ripped jeans.
  • Disposition: Happy, disrespectful, and thirsty. Mountain Dew sales sky rocket. Straw paper conffetti is common on these tables. Students try to act older by memorizing the waitress’ name and using it as if they’ve been BFF’s 4Eva.
  • Tip average: What tip average?

The Dysfunctional Nuclear family:

  • Appearance: Father, mother, boy, and girl. Average-looking human beings who could pass as a happy family, if the conversation wasn’t so forced and hostile.
  • Disposition: Father- Absentmindedly stares at the nearest TV, and says nothing, except for “I’ll take the 7 oz house sirloin.” Mother- Nervously looks from family member to family member to make sure that everyone is having a good time. Questions everything everyone orders, and usually pressures people into getting their steaks cooked Well Done instead of Medium Rare. Daughter- Makes sad eye contact with the waitress that usually portrays the message, “I’m sorry I was born into this family, and I’m sorry you have to wait on us now.”  Son- Says nothing, and let’s his mother order for him. Plays angry birds on his smart phone until his chicken fingers basket with ranch arrives.
  • Tip average: Mother fills out slip- 10%. Father fills out slip- 15% or more, depending on how many times he “secretly” checked out the waitress during commercials.

Sometimes though, no matter how many types of people I interact with, I find myself getting a little bored. Times like these, I have to find something to entertain myself. Since I can’t whip out my phone and play Angry Birds myself, I find different games to make the time go faster. I personally like to play the “ranch” or “blue cheese” game in my head. It goes something like this:

Man: Honey BBQ boneless wings, please.

Me: Would you like ranch, or blue cheese to dip those wings in?

Me: (thinking) This man obviously wants ranch.

Man: I’ll take ranch please.

Me: Sure thing!

Me: Ten points. I am so good.

I also enjoy playing the Absolutely game. This is a game where I see how many times I can say “Absolutely” while speaking to a table. It goes something like this:

Woman: Could I please have a water?

Me: Absolutely. (1) Would you like lemon with that?

Woman: Yes, please.

Man: And I’ll take a coke.

Me: We actually only have Pepsi products. Is that okay?

Man: Sure.

Me: Absolutely (2), I’ll get those right away.

ONE MINUTE PASSES.

Me: (returning to the table with drinks) Do you guys need a few more minutes to decide?

Woman: Yes, if it’s not too much trouble.

Me: Absolutely (3) not.

FIVE MINUTES PASS.

Me: Are you guys ready now? I don’t want to rush you.

Man: No, we’re ready. I’ll take the Boneless wings with Honey BBQ sauce.

Me (This man obviously wants blue cheese) Absolutely (4.) Ranch or blue cheese to dip those in?

Man: Blue cheese, please.

Me: (Ten points. I am SO good.) Absolutely (5.) And for you ma’am?

Woman: Could I just have the half portion oriental chicken salad?

Me: Absolutely (6.) Any extra dressing with that?

Woman: Sure.

Me: Great guys, I will absolutely (7) get that right in for you!

Sometimes, when I lose count of my Absolutely’s or misdiagnose a ranch person as a blue cheese person, I’ll play the Baby Game. This game is hard to explain through the written word. But basically, the goal of the game is to find the loudest, most obnoxiously messy and disruptive child in the restaurant. After locating the child, make sure the parents aren’t looking, and make eye contact with the child. As soon as eye contact is made, make the most ghoulish and horrifying facial expression you can while putting your hands up to your face like claws. If the baby stops making loud noises and looks at you, dumbfounded, you win. If the baby screams louder, you win, and get an extra 10 points.

Sometimes, though, people are so amazingly rude, selfish, or just plain dumb, that I actually have no need for the Ranch/Blue Cheese Game, The Absolutely Game, or the Baby Game. The people are entertaining enough as it is! (Please NOTE: All of these situations have literally happened to me, in real life.)

Situation One:

Father: I’ll take a steak-

Me: 7 oz or 9 oz?

Father: (completely confused, but says in a rude and confident tone to cover his confusion..) 9 ounce! And I want fries and a salad with that, you got that? Fries, and a salad, I want the salad out first with no egg, no cucumber, extra tomatoes and ranch on the side. My son will take-

Me: Oh, how did you want your steak cooked?

Man:

Me: … Medium? Well done?

Man. Rare, rare! And my son wants a rib basket with onion rings, can I substitute rings for the fries?

Me: Sure, it will just be 1.29 more.

Man: Now THAT is horse crap right there, as if we’re not going to spend enough money already, you people have to charge us extra for onion rings!

Me:.. I’m sorry, would you rather substitute mashed potatoes or cole slaw? Those don’t cost extra.

Man: WHY NOT!? WHY DO JUST ONION RINGS COST MORE?

Me: I… I actually don’t know, sir.

Man: Typical. Whatever, he’ll just take onion rings, I guess. Can never get nothing for free…. My son wants a salad too, out first, extra egg and chicken.

Me: Well… our house salad doesn’t come with egg, or chicken on it. It would be smarter to get a 1/2 portion Fried Chicken Salad, which comes with both egg and chicken.

Man: And how much is that going to cost me?

Me: Well, it is a larger salad than the house salad, and comes with chicken, it’s about 8 dollars for that salad.

Man: NICE TRY, MISSY! Oh, you are good! YOU ARE GOOD!

Me: (awkward smile) So… just a house salad then without chicken or egg?

Man: What, we can’t even get chicken on a house salad?!

Me: You can, but it will cost extra…

Man: WHAT DOESN’T COST EXTRA IN THIS PLACE, HUH? TELL ME! PLEASE JUST TELL ME!

Me: … refills?

Situation Two:

Mother: Candice! Candice, sit down, stop climbing on the window- I’m sorry- Candice, do you want chocolate milk, or fruit punch?

Candice: SPRITE! SPRITE!

Mother: (suddenly morphing into Satan) NO! CANDICE NO! NO SODA, YOU KNOW THIS! (to me) She’s been with her damn father all weekend, I KNOW he’s been giving her whatever the hell she wants… CANDICE. LOOK AT MOMMY. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DRINK!?!?

Candice: (Climbing the window) Choco mill.

Mother: Chocolate milk for her. (Sweetly) Ben, what do you want?

Ben: Mac N Cheese.

Mother: NO! WE’RE ORDERING DRINKS RIGHT NOW BEN! PAY ATTENTION!

Ben: Pepsi.

Mother: No, he’ll have a lemonade. They KNOW they are NOT ALLOWED to drink pop. CANDICE get DOWN. Vodka diet for me.

Me: Um… sure.

Mother: And we’ll take some spinach and artichoke dip to start off, please, as fast as you can-

Ben: Aw ma, I hate that spinach stuff you like…

Mother: BEN! Color the alien and be quiet. CANDICE! NO THROWING KNIVES AT YOUR BROTHER!

Situation Three:

Me: What can I get you to eat?

Old Man: You know you remind me of my daughter. Right now she’s living in Oregon, with that skamp of a boyfriend of hers, but she’s going to be a doctor now, Gonna make a ton of money on an annual salary and she’ll be able to take me fishing any time I want, can you believe that? Yep, any time now, I think she may be pregnant but she doesn’t want to tell me, but yes sir! YOU just remind me of her!

Me: …. Well… thank you… something to eat?

Old Man: Weeelllllll I haven’t really given that much thought! Can I just have some broccoli?

Me: Just… a side of broccoli?

Old Man: And you know, I often sometimes think if she just went to college somewhere else, she would have never met that man and she’d be so much better off, but what can you do? You can’t stop love and you can’t stop a woman IN love, so what can a father do? Hope and pray that she’ll someday be a doctor and take me fishing, huh!?!?!? PPPAAAAA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!!!

Me: Heh…heh heh… so… just broccoli then?

Old Man: Broccoli?!

Me: Yes, you said you wanted…

Old Man: No no, I want the chicken breast with mashed potatoes and tomatoes.

Me: …. Tomatoes on top?

Old Man: Slices of tomatoes on the side, of course.

Me: Well, they won’t count as a side, I can get you another side, free of charge! What about that broccoli?

Old Man: Girl! What IS it with you and broccoli!? I don’t want your stinkin’ broccoli. Just tomatoes and chicken and rice.

Me: … rice?

Old Man: YES. RICE. Do you understand?

Me:… Yes. I do.

Is it really worth it to put up with these people, for a less than 10% tip? I have to ask myself. I’ve just started to tell myself that people don’t know HOW to figure out ten, fifteen, and twenty percent. If you don’t know, here’s a really easy way:

The bill is 20.00.

Move the decimal point one space over to the left.

2.00. There. THAT is ten percent.

Want to find fifteen? Divide ten percent by two: 2.00 / 2 = 1.00. That is five percent! Now add that five percent onto the ten percent to get FIFTEEN PERCENT! 1.00 + 2.00 = 3.00. A 3.00 tip on a 20 dollar bill is very much acceptable. Fifty seven cents left on the table and a dime left under the booth is not.

Please, world. I’m begging you. Please. Tip your waitresses. You never know what they’re dealing with, what they have going on in their lives… Most of the girls I work with have kids themselves, and are trying to pay car repair bills, along with day care, health care, and utility bills with the fifty seven cents that you so generously leave under the booth. So step up. Pay it forward. Waitresses, see, we’re really just like you. Only sweatier and with a bigger smile. So please. Tip your waitress on the way out.