I work as a hostess in a restaurant part time (shock, being a writer or an editor isn’t the financial gold mine you thought it was!). I have problems like “who the fuck sat two people at 25, I need it for 12 top that just walked in!” and “why are the bussers being so slow I’m getting slammed here,” or “someone’s doing coke in the bathroom should I tell a manager?” These problems, amongst others, are not things that trouble me, generally. Outside of work, I don’t really give much of a crap about being a hostess.
But when I’m at work, it’s who I am—I am a hostess. I have a permanent smile plastered to my face, I answer a constantly ringing phone while expertly dealing with customers in front of me, simultaneously manage delivery orders and an expansive dining room all the while walking like a trooper in heels for what is sometimes a 9-hour shift. And I enjoy it—I really do. Everyone on staff and management is wonderful and we’re constantly talking, laughing, flirting and taking covert shots at the bar. From time-to-time there are even some really lovely, interesting customers who make my day with witty banter, or Neil Patrick-Harris.
A lot of it, however, isn’t so idyllic. For instance, having customers snap their fingers at you, command you like a dog, tell you to “go fuck yourself” when they have a problem with the meal service (which isn’t your fault in the first place) and worst of all, leering at you or even touching you like the kind of superbly disgusting sex pest that avoids arrest by dressing in an expensive suit. Most of the time I can get past it because I have all the wonderful things I mentioned above—number one being a supportive and loyal team of co-workers. But sometimes, every now and then, steam shoots out of my ears and on the verge of tears, I’ll contemplate punching someone in the face before storming out.
I have two university degrees and an amazing freelance writing and editing career—which, like my job as a hostess, all comes down to hard work and diligence. Even if I didn’t have these things it wouldn’t matter—what matters is that like (almost) everyone else in the service industry I am hard working and don’t deserve to be treated as a sub-human by downtown guys in business suits or French tourists or Upper East Side ladies with their Chanel bags, or anyone else for that matter.
Some people work in the service industry as a career. Others, like me, find it to be an intensely enjoyable way to make the money they need to survive while they chase other dreams. Both are completely relevant and commendable reasons for employment in the service industry, but some people see it as an indictment on the kind of person you are, and use it as a reason to treat you like the cigarette butt on the bottom of their shiny loafer.
Well guess what, asshole that just threw a melodramatic hissy fit because your steak wasn’t cooked exactly to your liking? Guess what, scumbag that didn’t say please or thank you? Guess what, you ungracious bastard disrespecting your server? You’re not welcome here. You can take your badass attitude somewhere else because it’s not welcome on my dining room floor, or anyone else’s dining room floor. It’s called basic human decency and it befits us all to be kind to our neighbors, because we’re all in this fucking shit show together, trying to make the most of it. Actually no—what I really want to say is fuck you, you crappy ass cunt. Who the fuck do you think you are?
It might come as a shock to you, but we’re no different—you and I. Does that upset you? Does it upset you that we both breathe and shit and eat and sleep? That we both have jobs (or would you prefer it if I pledged myself to a life of crime instead of busting my balls at an honest days work?), we both have dreams and we both have feelings? The one thing—and most likely the only thing—that sets us apart is that you’re a God damned fucking asshole.