My friend once told me she took her ring off to work as a cocktail waitress at a restaurant. I bit my tongue. I bit my tongue because I honestly don’t know how to feel about that. On one hand, of course it’s fine! It probably gets her more tips. It definitely gets her more attention. And, most importantly, it’s her decision.
On the other hand, it bothers me. Because I have one major No-no as a waitress: Don’t hit on me.
Now, I don’t tell another cocktail waitress how to do her job. Perhaps it’s purely a financial thing. Maybe she thinks it’s fun. But it does bother me when I try and convey the message that hitting on me at work is wrong and someone is inviting that type of behavior.
I wear shorts in the summer because it’s part of the uniform and I’d like to think I’m not a monster to look at. I smile. I interact. I am friendly. It’s part of the job, but it’s also about being a good human being. But I never ask for extra attention and I never expect to be tipped more because I’m younger and a female.
So hitting on me is just disrespectful. I’m at work and you’re enjoying yourself. It’s disrespectful because I can’t do anything about it. I’m not allowed to be rude to you nor am I allowed to walk away. I have to talk to you. How would you like unwanted attention at your job? Distracting, right?
It’s also demeaning, as if you deserve attention because I’m somehow… compensated. How do you think that makes me feel? A tip doesn’t justify poor behavior and I don’t need or want that attention. It reminds me of that old Aziz Ansari joke about leaving a big tip to an attractive waitress. The comedian talks about getting advice from a friend on how leaving a huge tip indicates just how much you like someone. It’s a funny bit and it would be funnier still if it wasn’t true. And the issue is usually how people behave during the meal, not just the awkwardness after.
Lastly, what do you expect will happen? I can’t remember a single time I’ve seen a coworker write down a number or become totally enamored by a patron at a restaurant. I’m sure it happened somewhere, but there are stories about people marrying their dentists, that doesn’t mean it’s going to
happen to you.
Instead, treat me like a human. Talk to me, smile, and ask me questions. That’s all fine. I’m your waitress, not your servant. I promise you actually leave a better impression and a much more likely chance of getting to know me if you treat me like a regular person who is at work and trying to be a professional. It’s the decent thing to do.