Through college, I worked in the electronics section of a department store. During a break in my college career — to make some more money to pay for the next part of my schooling — I needed to pick up a second job. (This was circa 1989; I was around 22 years old.) I looked around at various restaurants for a waiter job, and in my search I was offered a job in a night club. A country and western saloon and dance club.
The owner told me she had been considering hiring a [male] waiter for a while, and since I was looking to wait tables, maybe I’d serve drinks instead of food. I wasn’t really into country and western music at that time, but let’s think about this:
The good: Hang out with a dozen good looking cocktail waitresses in miniskirts; don’t have to memorize a bunch of drink mixes (that was necessary for the [male] bartenders); make a ton of cash-money quick (relative to other part-time jobs); get hit on by a bunch of drunk women. OK, I didn’t realize this last item until I started the job.
The bad: Work till 3 a.m. (and therefore sleep half the daylight away or get only 3 hours of sleep at night); listen to loud country and western music all night; get hit on by a bunch of drunk women. Again, I didn’t really know this last item until I started the job.
What the hell? I took the job.
Now, I don’t know if things have changed since 1989-90, (I haven’t been to many bars or clubs in the past decade and a half), but there weren’t any other “cocktail waiters” anywhere I had ever been. Even the owner of the club, who had made her living with various types of clubs, bars, saloons, etc., said she had never seen men serve drinks other than as bartenders. I was breaking new ground, blazing a trail. But I don’t think any men followed my path.
The waitresses wore white, club t-shirts and denim miniskirts; I wore a white, club t-shirt and blue jeans. The bartenders and bouncers all wore black, club t-shirts and jeans. The bartenders stayed behind their bar and never mingled with the crowd. The bouncers occasionally walked through the crowd, but the women never seemed to pay them any attention. All the bouncers were over six feet tall (at least two inches taller than I), burly or buff, and looked intimidating. Next to them, I was a skinny kid who looked “sweet and cute.”
For the record, this was not a rough club. In fact, it was one of the nicer places in the college town. In my six months working there, I never saw a fight. There were some disturbances, but the looming presence of the bouncers calmed the disturbers down pretty quickly.
Now, about the bunch of drunk women. Let me quote the head cocktail waitress: “The women are really a lot more aggressive with you than the men are with us.”
Some not-drunk or only-buzzed women just flirted with me or complimented me. This was fun and a big ego boost all during my time working at the club.
Some of the drunk and horny women would actually grab and paw at me. This was fun and a big ego boost for the first couple of weeks.
OK, I lie. It was fun and a big ego boost the entire time. But after a couple of weeks, it stopped being surprising or uncomfortable; it became simply a neat part of the job. I came to appreciate it, because it turned out that women who touched me, gave me bigger tips.
The pawing and grabbing wasn’t constant and often, but it was at least once a night, every night I worked. But the flirts and compliments were pretty regular and I came to really like them. (Who wouldn’t?)
But after a few weeks, I also came to realize that the women’s attention wasn’t so much because of me or my looks, but rather because of my job. They could flirt with me and I wouldn’t hang around them all night like if they flirted with another customer. I was a safe target because they knew I couldn’t follow them out the door at 2 a.m.
Although, some women passed me their hotel room numbers with the apparent expectation that I’d seek them out at 3 a.m. Interestingly, no woman ever gave me her phone number when I was working. I never asked for them when I was working, but I also never asked for their hotel room numbers, either.
The male customers mostly just ignored me other than to order their drinks and pay me. They weren’t rude to me, even when their dates/girlfriends/wives obviously flirted with me, but they just treated me like a normal waiter at a restaurant. I figure they just assumed I was gay.
I had to quit that job because it was killing me. As a second job, it was making my first job difficult. First, the lack of proper sleep was wearing on me. And second, the totally different psychology of working in a bar and working retail was colliding.
But it was a hell of a cool temp, part-time job for a young guy. I recommend it to any young guy thinking of trying it. But I’ll never let either of my sons try such a job.