Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Hooterization of America

Who is teaching restaurant service etiquette these days? Cinnamon and Chiffon from the local exotic dance Club?

My wife and I recently went to a restaurant, which shall remain nameless, but their toilets flush counter-clockwise compared to other Northern Hemisphere toilets if you know what I mean. We were immediately seated in a booth and Amber, our friendly waitress, introduced herself. For some reason, she hunkered down, crouching just above the floor while taking drink orders. With her chin resting on the edge of the table, she looked like a gopher in one of the Wack-A-Mole arcade games. It felt really strange ordering wine from a twenty-year-old three feet off the floor.
After we perused the menu for a few minutes, Amber came back to take our order.

"I’ll just sit down, if you don’t mind." She sat on the edge of the booth next to me. "Well, move over you big lug." Amber elbowed my shoulder then thrust out her hip pushing me further into the booth.

Before I could think this was strange, my male genes kicked in. "Sure, sit down," I said with a smile. Luckily, I saw my wife glancing at me sideways before I could pat Amber on the thigh and ask when her shift ended. I made sure to hold my hands above the table in plain sight of my wife. I wondered if I were in a chair instead of a booth if she would have just sat in my lap. Mental note: request regular table next time.

Amber looked into my eyes and told me about the delicious Creole shrimp appetizer.

"That sounds great, Amber. Bring us a plate of that," I said. This time my wife frowned. We had discussed the Holy Grail appetizer, four pounds of onion rings shaped like a chalice. How could she argue with Amber? Shrimp is healthier. And she works here; she knows food.

Amber skipped back to the kitchen with our order.

"Can you believe this?" asked my wife. "I wonder if there’s a two drink minimum?"

I didn’t respond. I contemplated knocking my silverware on the floor so Amber could replace it, then console me. I watched her handle the couple at the table behind my wife. Sure enough, Amber hopped into the booth next to the man. He turned his bright red face to her and smiled. They rocked back and forth in perfect rhythm. I discretely checked my wallet wondering if I had enough cash for a lap dance.

I folded my hands on the table. "She’s doing it to everyone," I said matter-of-factly.

My wife slapped me on the side of my head with her menu. "Duh, Tom Cruise."

We ate the shrimp appetizer which was deep-fried fresh from the frozen box. Next came the salads. By this time, my glass of wine had gone dry. Amber to the rescue.

She sat next to me and pulled the wine list from my hands. "What do you like?" She asked. "Red? Sweet? Hmmm, I bet you like zinfandel. Big and bold." She ran her hand over my flaccid biceps. I couldn’t wait to hear the rest of this list. But by the look in my wife’s eyes, apparently I could wait. Another day.

"House Merlot sounds great," I replied.

While eating our entrees, I watched Amber take the order of a lone man in another booth. Poor guy. She sat across from him. But she spent a good ten minutes in the booth. I grew jealous. How could she? We had come so far! I flagged down another waitress. She sat in the booth next to me too.

"Could you have our waitress bring me a new fork? This one’s kind of dirty. It has ketchup all over it."

She glanced at the ketchup globbed over my French fries. "I can get you one," she said then walked away.

I sulked and never thanked her for the new fork. I dragged French Fries back and forth across my plate creating ketchup streaks. Having finished her dinner already, my wife just watched me. When the busboy asked if we were through, she nodded.

With the plates gone, Amber sat down and asked us how we felt about dessert. "I don’t know, can you show us the dessert cart?" I asked. My wife shoved a dessert menu in front of me. Amber helpfully ran her finger down the list in front of me telling us her favorites. I had decided on something like the Chocolate Decadent Orgasmic Fireworks. Glancing at my wife, I realized there would be no dessert tonight.

Amber pouted then walked away. I looked up and saw the lone man from two booths down glaring at me. I pretended to look away, but he kept a cold, steel gaze in my direction. Amber had spent a good ten minutes in his booth; I don’t know why he would be upset. "I think that guy is mad at me," I said.

"Who?" My wife turned around to look.

"No! Don’t look!" I grabbed her arm. I peeked around her head to see him nodding. He punched his fist into his open hand. He pointed at himself, then me, and then the parking lot. "Oh my God. I think he wants to fight me."


"He seems to think I’m trying to steal his waitress."

I tried to relax but never did escape his stare. Amber sat next to me and dropped the check on the table. I jumped to the far end of the booth.

"What’s the matter? I don’t bite," Amber said.

I pulled some twenties from my wallet and dropped them on the table. "Let’s go honey. Don’t wanna be late."

"Late for what?"

Amber stood up and let me out of the booth. I could feel that lone diner’s eyes penetrating my soul. My wife got up and headed toward the door.

"Thanks for coming," Amber said, squeezing my shoulder.

I saw the steam erupting from the other man. I pulled another five from my wallet. "Amber, this is for you." I stuffed the bill in the side of her jeans then ran out the door.

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