“I’m gonna need you to take over table 52 please.” I say to Bonnie the shift manager, feeling sick enough to vomit.
“Why, are you busy?” She looks over my shoulder at the bar.
“No, but I don’t want to wait on them. Not after what they just said.”
“Uh Bonnie can I please get a void?” a server asks.
“Give me a minute Sully. So what’s going on that you don’t want to wait on Mike and Greg?” I say a silent prayer thanking God for Bonnie managing today.
“Do you want me to get into it now? My high-tops both just got sat .”
“Yeah, I want to know. What happened?”
“They’re being ignorant and to be honest, I don’t make enough money here to put up with it.” I grip the top of a banquet to steady my shaking hands.
Bonnie looks closely at me. “Hey, you love those guys. They’ll only sit in your section. Let’s go to the back. Sully, can you watch the bar for a second?”
I look at Sully apologetically. “Everybody’s got drinks except 55 and 58. If you could just take their drink orders, I can make them.” I say.
“Okay but hurry, I just got sat too.” He shakes his head as he makes his way to the two bar tables.
“Tell me what happened.” She encourages putting a motherly arm around my shoulders as we walk.
“Basically I was just propositioned by Mike and Greg.”
Bonnie laughs. “What?”
“Yeah, they started talking about how they’re on the board to clean up the waterfront of strip bars and that they’re trying to decide whether or not it’s worth giving Cheri Champagne’s a face lift or get rid of it. Then they asked me what I thought. I said I didn’t know, and asked them for their drink order. But they insisted they wanted my opinion.”
“Yeah, then what?”
“Then the conversation got really weird. Mike goes ‘So Kim is that something you’d ever consider?’ And I was confused so I asked him what he meant. He said ‘You know, dance?’ I didn’t say anything and Greg pipes in, ‘What would you need to be paid to dance?’ I stopped smiling then and asked them what they wanted to drink. They wouldn’t let it go. Mike finally said ‘I guess we’re asking you what it would cost to see you dance naked.’ That’s when I sort of lost it. I said “You’re making me uncomfortable. If you want to eat I’ll take your order but this conversation needs to stop.’ But you know what Bonnie?” She grabs my hand pats it to calm me. “They wouldn’t let it go. Mike said”
“Which one’s Mike again?”
“The fat balding one.”
“He goes – ‘awww come on Kim, everybody has a price.’ Then Greg the skinny one – he’s the lawyer – laughs and goes ‘We’re willing to pay big bucks.’ That’s when I told them I was coming to get you.”
Bonnie was twirling the Squirrel card in her fingers, something I’d seen her do when the restaurant began filling up and we were understaffed. She was the accountant for the restaurant but recently had begun pulling a few management shifts during lunch each week. We loved having her on the floor. A welcome change from the general manager Dave who surely would have laughed this off and insisted I get back in the bar and serve the two regulars.
“Okay, okay, you shouldn’t have to serve people who are being that obnoxious to you. I’ll take them.”
Relieved I walk back to the bar. My legs feel like jelly. I don't want to face them again but need the hundred bucks I’d easily pull in on this busy Friday lunch.
I'm joining those ladies in red in their prompt to describe a fight fiction or non-fiction. This is another example of some of the nonsense I faced in my bartending days. Although some of the names have been changed, it is an almost exact account of what happened. I refused to serve these men after that day and yet they insisted on sitting in my section at least twice a week for the next year. I would usually ask a colleague to wait on them unless Bonnie was working. It was truly a case of sexual harrassment and sadly because they were in, what I thought at the time, positions of power, I did nothing except refuse to wait on them.