A while back, on a late weekday evening, an uncommon but highly interesting interaction unfolded. It was about 2:00am – so most of the 9 to 5 revellers had long cleared out. There were maybe 8 or 9 customers left at the bar quietly engaged in conversation. There was a pair of cute girls – both maybe around 30 years old. One was White and one was Latina. Both were impeccably dressed, engaging, funny and had been tipping well. They weren’t obscenely intoxicated, just happily buzzed.
The early evening shift bartender had cleared out and it was just me and my barback “T” on the closing end – awaiting 4:00 a.m. T was clearing the bus bins near the girls when they started chatting him up. Watching from a distance, tending to another customer, I noticed some very strange looks coming from their direction.
A minute later, T wanders my way giggling himself silly. He reports to me: “Yo, those girls are crazy. They asked me to take my shirt off!” I looked at him completely baffled and . “What was your response?” I gasped. T says “I told them ‘Hell no!’” I shook my head, put my fatherly hand on his shoulder and relayed my huge disappointment in his youthful inexperience.
I slowly made my way over to the needy girls in question. I reached deep down for my inner flirt and charm (I didn’t reach far in fact – it’s frequently required). I put my hand on my hip, leaned on the bar a few inches from them, put on a smirky smile and asked them what had just happened. The reiterated to me the same story. The cute Latina again requested a shirtless man – stat. I looked away for about 10 seconds, processing their request. I said to her “OK. Look. You show me yours, and I’ll show you mine” thinking that would squash it. Despite my devilish desires, I imagined that there was no way this was going any further.
The girls looked at each other for a few seconds. Next thing you know, the foxy Latina pulls her blouse and bra down at the bar. She’s completely topless – ladies fully out. I must admit [shocker], this is not the first time I’ve seen boobs. It’s also not the first time boobs have been displayed at the bar. But, these were marvellous - probably more because what had just happened was intentional and just plain taboo in that particular setting. Now, I’ve seen some crazy shit at the bar: fights, brawls, unintentional nip slips, hour-long slobbery tongue-in-throat sessions, hand jobs and blow jobs (yes, really), gun threats, chairs thrown through windows, sidewalk chases, 120lb men stand tall as if nothing had happened after consuming 20 drinks in 2 hours, etc., etc. But, never before this moment had I requested at the bar, someone take their clothes off. Nor had I ever expected for that request to be honored.
So, what next? I evaluated all my options, scanned the bar for managers, and took a look at the state of the diners in the place. I’m not one to break my promises. I took my shirt off of course! They seemed pretty delighted. Maybe a minute later, we both put our clothes back on and had a good laugh. I bought them a round, they tipped accordingly, we blabbed a bit more and off they went into the night. The funniest part was that not one other customer, neither at the bar nor at the tables, gave us a second glance or stopped their conversations. A good bartending story for the grandkids one day. Well, maybe not.