Working at a dive bar I am surrounded by an overwhelming majority of male customers lovingly called “The Sausage Party”. I rather enjoy it, although you have to have a thick skin and not be easily offended. As the alcohol is poured it is inevitable no matter what you look like, how old you are, as a female bartender you become, the “Goddess of Alcohol”. The “Goddess of Alcohol” smiles and brings beer. It is instant love with some men and these men range in age from 21 years old to 90 ish, and could be gay or straight. It does not matter. As the customers become, as they say, socially lubricated, their tongues loosen and I hear the most interesting things come out of their mouths. They also think you become a little bit like public property to comment on and about. Of course I have heard I need to gain weight, lose weight, grow taller, be shorter, have different hair, or anything else you can think of to be the perfect woman. It is ok, because it is my job to make these people tip me, no matter what I really think of them, although I have grown fond of and have forged real friendships with some of my customers.
This first category is called, “is it real.” I have been asked in just the last two months alone if I had “real” hair. Yes my hair is mine and I grow it. What color I dyed my hair. I don’t dye it, it is called red with a smattering of salt. I have been asked if my tattoos are real. My reply was no I spend hours painting them on, (eyeroll). Last night I was asked if I wore colored contact lenses and the patron wanted me to take my contact lenses out in a nasty bar. I assured him my eye color was the one I was born with but he was not convinced. Last, but not least I was asked, take a deep breath, if I had indeed had butt enhancement. I assured the person my butt was all mine.
This leads to the “you look like” category. I have been told I look like Margaret Thatcher a few times which disturbs me. I think the dude had a Thatcher fetish. Weird. A sweet young woman told me I looked like Kristen Stewart all grown up and I enjoyed that. I got Margo Kidder more times than I wanted to hear. That ends there.
Then I get the dreaded pick up lines. The men who use these lines are fiercely deluded that I would ever go near them without a bar between us. The most deluded of all time was the guy who kept asking me where was my husband. I kept saying he was home caring for our children. The dude kept saying crazy things like if I were his woman he would always be in the bar as I worked. I thought to myself ewww, who would want that, I want to go to work myself thanks and the childcare would leave me broke. Then I had the guy who once told me I had tits that would stop a war. That is kinda gross but I thought it was really funny. Then I had two young men who were convinced I would go home with both of them one night. I said look, I have to be up early to take care of my kids. Then they replied it’s ok we only need you for a half hour. Oh yeah, that really wooed me.
Then there is the “you are how old??” In the light of day I look a little bit younger than my years but with makeup and in the dark bar I must look much younger. I talk with customers about this and that and when a pop culture reference comes up in the conversation and the customer will say, I wasn’t born then, how old are you? I tell them the truth. I often get my customers carding me because they don’t believe me. Then I get weird questions about plastic surgery, uhhhh no none of that, to chemical peels, umm no. Next they ask how do you do it. I tell them follow your dreams and use cheap moisturizer. Usually then they back off or get even more excited to pursue me. I then say, I am your Mother’s age and they reply, yeah that’s hot. I then usually give up and serve more beer. Another strange comment I received recently was “your butt does not look 46″, my husband still uses that one against me when I don’t want to get up and he says, “get your 46 year old butt up.” Others will ask what was it like in this bar in 1991. I reply exactly the same except less TV’, no internet, or cell phones.
Eventually the lights go up and they all go home. For those hours in between you never know what is going to come out of someones mouth after a couple and that keeps my job very interesting.