"The waitress is pretty, she's friendly, she's sexy, she's serving you this wonderful stuff, taking care of you. You start to get ideas. You and everyone else. She's just not going to be interested."
I blog by day and wait tables in a New York City restaurant by night. I'm excited to bring you Served, dispatches from the front of the house. Enjoy!
I am not having fun behind the bar. I am dodging the advances of perhaps one of the most physically unattractive people I have ever encountered. He's grumpy, too, and condescending. He's alternating between making a case about why I should go out with him and about why wine from New Zealand sucks.
Wine from New Zealand does not suck.
I pour him a taste of a nifty, funky, delicious (and unoaked) Hungarian wine. He launches into a lecture about oak. This man is unstoppable! I am happy to discuss wine and always interested in learning something I may not know. But this is no conversation. This is wine knowledge—wine misknowlege!—as weapon.
I smile and nod and politely decline his dinner offers, coming to realize he is not stopping anytime soon. "Excuse me," I say, finally forced to interrupt him and excuse myself to attend to my new guests.
No Whiskey, I Said!
Two bulbous men saunter in. A powerful booze and cigarette stench tag along. Promptly, we began a discussion that goes something like this:
Them: "What whiskeys do you have?"
Me: "We don't have whiskey. We're a wine bar—we have wine, and beer. And sake!"
Them: "Why don't you have whiskey?"
Me: "Our liquor license is for wine and beer only. We don't serve liquor; we don't have a full bar."
Them: "But we want whiskey."
Me: "I'm sorry! We don't have any whiskey here. There's a great bar across the street. You can get whiskey there."
Them: "I just don't understand why I can't get whiskey here."
And on. And on. After maybe the seventh identical inquiry, I have to excuse myself to breathe.
When I return a minute later, they have resigned themselves to wine.
They reluctantly sip their Merlot. With their whiskey hopes dashed, they embark on a new project: try to pick up the bartender. That's me.
The big question is why disinterest often inspires persistence. I don't get it.
"Isn't it a bit offensive, in a way, that he thinks you'll go out with him?" asks K., my fellow server, discreetly checking out Man Number One. I'm not full of ego, but he is inarguably ugly an inarguably twice my age. Not to mention his unappealing abrasiveness, pushiness, and embarrassing showing off. She is very right. What makes him think he has a chance?
K.'s boyfriend comes to pick her up. He is a sweetheart; we get along well.
"So many creeps tonight," I complain to him. I detail the saga of my night.
"You know," he says, slinging his arm around K., who is blonde and tall and gorgeous, "you learn from a very young age that the waitress is not going to go home with you. Or even give you her number. The waitress is pretty, she's friendly, she's sexy, she's serving you this wonderful stuff, taking care of you. You start to get ideas. You and everyone else. She's just not going to be interested."
"Is that why you like picking up K. from work?"
"Yes!" he admits.
"Awesome," K. concedes, "I'm a fantasy. I had no idea."
The New Zealand–hater leaves his card on the bar, with one last scribbled plea.
"How should we contact him?" K.'s boyfriend asks, "Cell or office number? Or should we fax him?"
"Very funny," I say, "we are not talking to this man ever again."
And I mean it, until he shows up in the very same seat a few nights later. What am I to do but pour him wine, play nice, and wonder if this guy hangs out at restaurants across the city, making the female servers uncomfortable and unhappy?