The age old profession of bartender, like the hairdresser, barber, or manicurist, also doubles as a cheap therapist. Something about the job just makes people want to tell you things, oftentimes also looking for advice.
Having been working in a bar for two months now, I’ve already heard some of the most intense stories I could have imagined. I’ve heard from two men whose wives left them in their sleep after ten plus years of marriage, and conversely happy oops babies after years of thinking that was long over with. I have also encountered false arrest stories, drug deals, and so much more. I’m always happy to mix up a cocktail and lend an ear. I’ll usually give advice when it is asked of me too, but only when it is asked. There is nothing more unwelcome than unsolicited advice.
More often than not, I am offered advice from my patrons, always unsolicited. The most ridiculous advice I have received came out of nowhere. It came from one of my early Friday regulars. To give a little of his character, he drinks gin pomegranate martinis. He and I had been chatting about his day and he told me he had been tanning at a tanning salon earlier in the afternoon. A few stops down the conversation road he, out of nowhere, advises me to get more sun. It’s the middle of November, no one is getting any healthy sun in Chicago right now. He said when the sun comes back, not that I need color, but it will make me happier and feel better. Basically I was called grumpy and pale by this guy who calls me his favorite bartender. Thanks.
There are plenty of crazy individual situations, but in general there are three categories of things people are always trying to offer me advice on, and I’m sure other bartenders have some of these in common with me as well as even worse lists of their own.
Aside from being called pale that one time, at least once a shift I get told that I would be “more beautiful” if I had long hair(I am currently sporting a pixie cut). Not only am I told how I will look better but that I need to do this, that my short hair is okay but I am not as good with hair that is not at least to my shoulders. I understand that the older generation is stuck in their gender norms but they either need to get with the times or keep their unbecoming opinions to themselves. Remember I’m the one one serving you drinks; treat me with respect, and that is how I will treat you. Treat me poorly, and like any service industry, your service will reflect it.
Constantly I’m asked if I have a boyfriend. My answer is “no” because as of now I do not. Harkening back to my first point, those men use it to backup their claims that I need long hair or I won’t find a boyfriend. But that isn’t the worst part. On top of advice as to how I should get a boyfriend, I am also told not to like women. Yes, that is what I said. It is always the same man telling me not to like women because it is wrong. I won’t make this a rant on my views, but it is neither wrong nor any of his business as to my sexual preference. I have plenty of friends that like every different thing God’s green earth has to offer so I don’t discriminate, and it really upsets me when others do. Since he is a customer I’m not allowed to tell him off so I just ignore it. But one of the most difficult things about being a bartender is biting my tongue.
This last one is the weird one. I always have customers questioning things about my lifestyle. What do I like to eat? How do I stay so thin? From there it turns into; “you are too skinny”, “you need to eat more meat” and the list goes on. Mostly I get told what to eat. Don’t eat processed foods is the big one, which I don’t. But I get ranted at about this all the time mostly by people that I can tell do not take health into enough consideration.
This is all a bit silly, I admit, and there is plenty more where that all came from. All of you going to the bar, be careful what you do and say to your bartender. We all have feelings too, and personal lives. Most of all, if the bartender is not coming onto you, DO NOT ask her out. EVER.