Each and every bar/restaurant I’ve ever worked in, has it’s local, designated, after-work “watering hole.” It’ a spot where lots of local folks head to relieve the “stress” of a long shift, having had to tolerate and wait on one idiot after another. “Relief” is usually in the form of drink, or seven, or twelve. The is place is about nothing less than rampant debauchery on a grand, grand scale.
Those of you who pursue economic prosperity through more traditional means, slaving away in a pressed button shirt, routine shave, and fresh-shined wingtips, have a certain code of ethics (usually written, signed and strongly enforced) that specifically prohibits you from engaging in life’s more “rewarding” ventures – the kind of activities that illicit “tactile feedback.” The corporate monkeys have done everything in their power to provide for perceived equal opportunity, an OSHA-approved safe work environment, and curtail any and all
sexual harassment harmless flirtation. They frown upon, and will bring Thor’s hammer down on your ass with vigor, for any and all violations of said HR rules of engagement, in the event of things like:
- Blatent grabbing, touching, groping, rubbing
- Any perceived inappropriate touching in the workplace or off-campus official/un-official corporate function
- Water cooler “day after” tale telling
- The mere mention of certain body parts within earshot of another employee
- Mutually gratifying requests for copy-room quickies, bathroom stall sports, and under-desk bobbing for apples
Well, guess what people? If you work in the Service Industry, you can pretty much kiss every initialed article in your corporate Rules of Engagement playbook out the window, because there are non in this setting; despite some of the larger, corporate spots’ best efforts. My work is not like your work, bud. There is little abiding by any of these rules in the bar/restaurant world – at least in the trendy, fast-paced, larger city nightlife. Maybe it’s different at Uncle Jeb’s Bait-n-Suds-n-Crawdads-n-Ribs Roadhouse in the Bayou La Batre, where dust-bunnies and rocking chairs rule – I’m not sure exactly.
Married, single, gay, straight, committed, sober for 10 years, meth-head, whatever… After work, if you head to the industry bar for a leisurely drink, you’re destined to partake in, or witness epic shenanigans. It all starts innocently enough – we all play the game. Ballers stroll in, 2 or 3 at a time after a long-ass crappy shift, bemoaning the table full of douchebags that night that gave them hell. Everyone is supposedly there for one (right…) drink before heading home on the train – or at least that’s what’s communicated on the surface.
Before long, the place is filled with a dozen folks each, from 3 or 4 local venues. Everyone knows each other, the bartender and the bartender knows everyone by first name. Why? It’s because this ritual is practiced repeatedly, almost every single night. Time goes by… the music is pumping. Jameson-a-plenty has been sucked down. Soon after, one super-fine waitress is enjoying some kind of shot off another’s neck. Next, their tongues are getting all friendly for everyone to see. The sous-chef has his legs wrapped around the hostess in the corner and his hand is meandering up the Oregon Trail. The Maître d is “raising the roof” to the jams while one of her boobs has mysteriously popped out. A busser, who doesn’t speak any Engrish, but is loving him some El Presidente, is trying desperately to get his grind on. “Accidental” wardrobe malfunctions are the business of the evening – mating calls if you will. It’s Hedonism at it’s finest hour.
The hangout’s head bartender has mysteriously been absent from the bar for 15 minutes, as has the barback. They can be found in the dim, curtained off alcove leading to the restrooms, doing bumps and sandwiching one of the married waitresses. One of the food runners is receiving a lovely “lap dance” from the General Manager.
Everyone miraculously stumbles home – on autopilot. New “bonds” are formed that evening at various love shacks.
The next morning, it’s mostly a blur. There are minute, obscure pieces of party evidence posted on Facebook but nothing damning. We know better. Mostly, it’s all hearsay and fairy tales at work. Having spend several hours in the early morning with their heads in the toilet, no one can pop Advil and suck down Glaceau fast enough. Everyone vows never to drink again – to get on the wagon, and swear off such shenanigans (for a while). Yet, the scene is exactly the same the next night, and the next – over and over and over – just with slightly different faces is all.
You see, bartending or waitressing is not like your average job when it comes time to grab an after work bevie. Are there hookups, appropriate or not, at your Risk Arbitrage desk after work? Sure. But you’ve seen nothing until you get a whole bunch of really young, love to party, extremely good-looking folks, working late night together – day in, and day out – and throw free flowing alca-chaul and other euphoria inducing, belt loosening substances into the mix. The result is rampant incest. Spend an inordinate of time with in a bar/restaurant setting together, and it’s simply inevitable.
Consider yourself now edumacated. If you want to maintain a relationship – or, eh… be faithful – the Service Industry, or at the very least – the after work drink – is not for you my friend. Daddy may have known best now, huh?