Serving


On Saturday, I was the closing server at the restaurant, so when my co-worker wanted to leave, I agreed to maintain her last table as they had been camping out for the past four hours without any sign of immediate departure. They were harmless – two women, possibly on a date, occasionally holding hands, somewhat gruff in nature and both wearing sweatshirts advertising different football teams.

When I walked over to introduce myself and check in on them, they both stared at me, drunk and confused, until one says, “Well, now, aren’t you tall drink of water.”

I’m 5’4”. On a good day. And I was wearing flats.

The friend took exception to the comment.

“She’s not THAT TALL.”

“WELL SHE’S TALLER THAN YOU.”

They then proceeded to spend the next five minutes arguing whether or not I was qualified to be referred as a tall drink of water. I, of course, vote yes because um, AWESOME? and at five-freakin-four I am pretty sure that’s the first and last time I will hear that line in my entire life – not counting, obviously, all the times I will repeat it to my friends.

When we worked together, Work Husband and the wine-bar regulars used to meddle in my relationship with Work Boyfriend. Work Husband still sometimes pries, so I wasn’t surprised when he called to share gossip.

“I saw your boyfriend’s parents yesterday.”

“Oh yeah? How are they?”

I genuinely like his parents. During the restaurant’s heyday, they often came to dine, and I would invite myself to their table to drink wine, collaborate on their crossword puzzle, and flirt with their son, in between waiting tables. I haven’t seen them since The Wine Bar closed, but Work Husband ran into them at the grocery store; at which point, the parents had, apparently, shared some opinions in Work Boyfriend’s current live/work situation. In that it was wrong.

“[Work Husband], it doesn’t really matter what they think – [Work Boyfriend] does what he wants – logic or opinions be dammed. We’re very similar in that regard.”

“No, Mol, that’s not the best part – at the end, his dad got flustered and stammered out, ‘He needs to make changes. I think he needs to just move back to Minneapolis, and … and start dating Molly!’ His mom shushed him but didn’t say anything to contradict his statement.”

Work Husband was very pleased with himself after his recitation of this story. Clearly, it indicated a green light for future involvement with the prodigal son, a case which would leave Work Husband delighted. Since Work Boyfriend’s been with his girlfriend FOREVER (ok, more like four years) and the parents get along really well with her, I know it’s more location than anything. And realistically, if we were to date we would frustrate the fuck out of each other because we are MUCH too similar. BUT. The approval is still flattering –even if that approval is for yet another guy I can’t have. Maybe I’ve been doing this all wrong – maybe I need to find/meet/charm the parents of a single guy … Hmm … I wonder where I could find some of those … The bingo parlor? Restaurants that serve dinner at 4:30? Phoenix?

My New Year’s Eve midnight moment involved no kissing. The DJ counted backward from ten, the crowd raised their glasses, the ball descended, and when the clock hands met at twelve, I gleefully exclaimed, “Happy 2009!” And got a grunt in return. A grunt. Quick recap: Me: “Yay!” Him: “Bh.” (That’s my grunt sound for him.) And then I was all, um, are you kidding? So I demanded a hug because goddammit, it was midnight and I am not above asking for a pity hug. Fuck, it was a new year and I wanted a goddamn show of affection from goddamn boy and start the year off goddamn right.

I got a pity hug. A one-armed, weak-pressure, no body contact, two sympathy back-pats hug.

Still counts! Yay 2009!

My real New Year’s celebration came about two hours later when my shift at the restaurant ended I left my pathetic-excuse-for-a-hug (but cute) bartender to join my friends in their drunken stupor. The delayed New Year celebration included hugs that twirled with feet lifted off the ground and kisses that were sound and affectionate (platonic, but whatever). Thank God my friends at least know the proper way to welcome a new year.

If I’m going to claim this evening was indicative of the new year – working to pay bills, friends who genuinely love me, and no hangover the following morning – 2009 and I are going to be along famously – might even become BFFAEs, who knows, gonna have to see if it puts out first. I am feeling optimistic of this coming year.

According to his voicemail message, he’s coming home this weekend. No, not this weekend, today. He’s coming home today. A last-minute trip. And I can’t stop smiling.

My crush on Work Boyfriend is … a forgotten constant. In varying degrees and probably stemming from habit more than anything substantial. In reality, we’re just really good friends, adhering strongly to the out-of-sight-out-of-mind philosophy, which means that I never really think about it/him until he’s in sight. Like now.

A recap of Work Boyfriend …

When I worked as a server for two years at The (original) Wine Bar, the Chef and I spent close to forty hours/week together. As we were together daily, we became close, like family … if that family is one prone to drinking excessively and sharing-without-filter every life detail. (Or maybe you’ve noticed that I tend to spew trivial private-life detailed-garbage to any captive audience? Imagine spending forty hours a week without anything to do besides listen to me talk. I know, right? The stories and information that I feed you? Are the decidedly nontrivial life details. It could be worse. I could share SO MUCH MORE.) As I was one of the few people who wouldn’t tolerate his bullshit or attempts at charm, his real wife amusingly thought of me like a second wife, which then spurned the Work Husband/Work Wife titles.

Work Husband and I were close – still are – and rarely allowed others to fit into our dynamic … until Work Boyfriend, a welcomed addition to our clique. Work Boyfriend is my age, beautiful (and knows that he is), and makes me blush (hence the Work Boyfriend status – as even the kitchen boys would comment, to my mortification, “I think that you and him are not just friends?”) During our time together at The Wine Bar, we were both in long-distance relationships, which meant that we could flirt without either of us expecting it to go anywhere. It was safe. On drunken evenings, we were each others’ accomplice in general tomfoolery.

He currently lives in Chicago and hasn’t been home in almost a year. We talk sporadically, usually when I need to lean on someone – someone specifically being Work Boyfriend because he gets me in a way that others don’t. The Firefighter is the only one that gets me as well as he does – but The Firefighter gets because he can read me; Work Boyfriend gets me because we’re so alike.

For example. A year ago when I started my current job, I confessed that I cried when I signed my corporate contract. He didn’t question why, but instead he was the one to assure me that it sucks to grow up but that didn’t mean my life was over. Exactly what I needed to hear and exactly what no one else gave me, as most said with angry frustration, “but this is what you want!” A statement which would repeatedly make me cry because I wasn’t feeling what, according to them, I was supposed to be feeling.

I also called him for assurance when I bought the house and again, expressed the same feelings of hesitation stemming from entrapment. Again, he was the one that assured me that I can still have Paris someday. He didn’t question why I needed Paris, he just knew that I needed it to remain an option.

It’s not that we’re kindred spirits or any new-age type bullshit. We have the same motivations. And regardless of everything, when I saw his name on my missed call log, I started smiling. And now he’s home for a few days and I can’t wait to see him.

Last night while working a private event at the restaurant, a pharmaceutical representative gave an hour-long presentation regarding HIV medications, which soon turned into an AIDS 101, for a non-profit organization. For ten minutes, literally one-sixth of the presentation, the club members debated the difference between pre-cum and cum. And none of these gay men –that’s not me being ignorant, that’s what the organization was for –knew the difference.

“It doesn’t have sperm!”

“One’s clear and one’s white?”

“It can’t create babies!”

“No protein!”

The differences in life experiences made me smile. Based on their responses, I am pretty sure none of them have ever sat in their high-school bathroom or college dorm room, worried about an overdue period with their best friend saying, “You might be, you know. Pre-cum, can like, totally get you pregnant.”

The New Wine Bar is going really well. I didn’t realize what I was missing from my day job until I returned to the restaurant world. During the day, I sit in a cube, play with Excel, and go for days –or hell, even weeks– without laughing. My co-workers are too busy being productive and climbing the corporate ladder to make jokes. We are professionals.

The restaurant environment is completely different –the staff is SOCIAL (they need to be, their income is dependent on the ability to interact with customers); they drink (during work and especially after); they make lewd comments – and every lascivious remark reinforcements my appreciation of sexual harassment’s entertainment value. It’s fun, a social outlet of sorts, as pathetic as that paints my social life.

Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the bartenders are cute. I think I have crushes on four of them. Which was awkward yesterday when I was flirting with one and my boss interrupted to ask, “Molly, rumor has it that you and [employee name] used to date, is that true?” Hm, dating is a relative term … Dammit, I forgot that with the fun comes some drama. But oh, I am enjoying it.

I started a new job at a new wine bar yesterday and the verdict? At least one cute boy. Score. At the beginning of my shift, I was looking at him and debating, “Hmm, I don’t know if I am attracted to him, am I? I don’t know, maybe … he could be a tool … or too cocky … but he’s tall … and dark hair is usually my MO … so maybe, I don’t know, and maybe the cocky is confidence which IS attractive … If I am thinking too much about it, this is not a good sign in his favor … maybe his personality will be the deciding factor because I just don’t know at this point … ” and then he made eye contact to introduce himself and I blushed. And not a demure blush. Head-to-toe face-on-fire blush. Hm, so … I guess I do find him attractive. Awkward. I then avoided him for the rest of the evening. Because I wanted to prevent the blushing until I was comfortable. Good first impression, Mol.

But the job at least has possibilities …

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