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The Barmaid Blog™: Life for a 30-something Manhattan Barmaid

How NOT to Pick Up a Barmaid (Part II)

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How NOT to Pick Up a Barmaid (Part II)

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Corona Barmaid
Mmmmm, Ethiopian coffee...

Thursday nights are funny. Remember in college, when people would try to schedule their classes so that they'd have Fridays off, and they could have three days of going out and weekending instead of two? Manhattan is kind of like that during the summer. So many people take Fridays off (or at least Friday afternoons) to go to their summer shares in the Hamptons, or their mountain houses in Rhinebeck, that they think of Thursday night as the beginning of their weekend, and so they go out to bars.

This particular Thursday night the Yankees are also playing on TV, so the Bar is packed, loud, and crazy. Amy and Jocelyn and I are getting slammed. Our bar karma ("barma"?) seems to be on a downswing, too - the tips have been mediocre (albeit plentiful), people are ordering more mixed drinks than usual, and Amy has dropped five, count 'em five, bottles of beer. Tommy the barback is pissed at having to clean up all the glass every time she does this, especially while the three of us are running around trying to fill drink orders and practically tripping over him.

But it's nothing worse than we've seen before at the Bar, and we're managing to get through it pretty well.

In the meantime, there's a group of three Suits bellied up to the bar to watch the game who seem incapable of letting Jocelyn pass by them without hooting "Hey, honey" or "Baaaaaaaaaaby!" or something equally deranged at her. Jocelyn, you may recall, is a short, blonde barmaid who is rather significantly endowed in the breastal area. She seems to take it all in stride. I mean, I would imagine* that you can't reach adulthood with breasts like those without getting accustomed to the effect they have on people and how crass those people can get. And since she is, as usual, wearing a tight t-shirt that shows off her chest to maximum effect, I suspect she enjoys some of the attention - or at least the tips that tend to increase with bra size.

(*Let's just get this out of the way right now: I think I've got a pretty nice pair myself, but they're not big. They're not tiny, they're not small - I would say they're medium-small. Above that on the scale would be medium, medium-large, large, udder, pornstar, Jocelyn, and absurd breast fetish pornstar.)

As much as she tries to humor these Suits and throw a smile their way every now and then, Amy and I have been trying to take their orders most of the evening. It's just our way of having her back. But at one point, Amy and I are just both too occupied with other people's orders when the Suits run dry, and Jocelyn ends up face to face with them. The Suit in Charge orders for all three of them, and I'm close enough to overhear that he finishes by saying, "You have the most spectacular breasts I've ever seen." Uh, oh.

Women aren't stupid. We know that guys tend to think stuff like this all the time, and it isn't a problem as long as they leave it mostly unsaid - or if they know us really well and know how we'll react to them saying it before they go ahead and say it. But there is a line that shouldn't be crossed by strangers, even when their barmaids are dressed a little provocatively. Maybe that line is a little farther down in New York City than in other places, but there's still a line. And as much as I may not be positive that the line has already been crossed, I look at the three Suits grinning, giggling, and swaying - and I suspect that if it hasn't yet been crossed, it's surely about to be.

While Jocelyn is drawing their beers, I stop Tommy on his way through and half-yell into his ear that I'd like him to keep an eye on the Suits and make sure they don't start any trouble. Tommy's a good guy with sharp instincts, and is generally pretty good at defusing tense situations without having to take a bouncer off the door. He nods and sets off to collect glasses from tables, and I turn back to the bar just in time to see the line get crossed.

Jocelyn has delivered the Suits' three beers and asked for $18, and Suit in Charge is holding a pair of twenties out in front of him. "You can have these both," he shouts, "if you show me your breasts." Jocelyn tries laughing it off, but with the other two Backup Suits hooting and laughing, it's not very clear that her laughing it off will settle the matter. Besides, he hasn't yet actually handed her any money at all, and they still owe $18 for the beers. She says, "C'mon, guys," and holds her hand out, but Suit in Charge pulls the twenties back. Backup Suits hoot some more, and Amy and I both slow down what we're doing and give each other a look.

Suit in Charge adds, "You can have a fifty dollar tip, honey, if you let me feel your breasts." Backup Suits are now hooting, hollering, slapping backs, and starting to pull cash out of their wallets, too. Jocelyn has a look on her face like someone has run over her dog. Thankfully, the very next thing that happens is that Tommy has forcibly waded through the crowd to the bar, and is standing behind the Suits. "Guys, I think you're done for the night," he says. "Please take your business elsewhere."

Suit in Charge adopts a high, nerdy voice (think Eddie Murphy mocking the black California cop in "Beverly Hills Cop"), and repeats back to Tommy, "Guys, I think you're done for the night." Backup Suit One laughs himself silly. Only Backup Suit Two seems the slightest bit concerned. Suit in Charge turns back to Jocelyn, and says, "So how about it, gorgeous? Easiest fifty bucks you've ever made, just let me feel your tits!"

The next moment, my faith in humanity is restored. Mario, one of our regulars (remember him spoiling a Yankees game?), is standing next to Tommy, and says, "Guys, you heard the man. You're done for the night." And Mario's got two of his friends standing next to him.

The Suits aren't laughing anymore. Suit in Charge says, "Hey, man, we were just fooling around. It's not a big deal. We're cool." They start to move away from the bar toward the door, and Mario gets in their way.

"Pay the lady for your drinks," he says.

Suit in Charge hesitates a few seconds, sizing up the situation. He turns back to the bar, and drops a twenty on it. The Suits make their way through the crowd to the door, and exit. Most of the people in the Bar probably haven't even noticed what was going on, but up here at the bar Jocelyn has fallen apart. She's tearing up and on the verge of crying, and quickly makes her way to the back room so nobody has to see it. Tommy makes his way back there to make sure she's okay, and Amy and I go back to trying to fill everybody's glasses. Mario and his friends will drink on the house for the rest of the night.

Jocelyn comes back out about ten minutes later, and if she's not fully recovered, she has certainly put on her "fully recovered" face.

The rest of the night, her tips are fantastic.

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