Saturday, November 04, 2006

My night at work


I have been in the hospitality business since I was
15. My mom said 'You should really learn to be a
waitress, because you can take that skill anywhere.'
Many years later, she was so right (thanks, Mom!).

I have worked in some great places. When I started at
Garden Cafe, it was a cool, cool cafe in the mall,
always busy, with really good food. Spaghetti Works
was a very cool place in Des Moines, very casual
dining with a fun atmosphere, and very popular for
locals and passers through alike. Mondo's was fine
dining, and at it's peak, was one of the finest
restaurants in Des Moines. The service was very
prime, and excellence was required.

In the last month I have decided that SPQR is one of
the coolest places in Auckland, and that I did well
waiting for them to call instead of settling
elsewhere. It is ALWAYS full, is ALWAYS being
recommended, and is ALWAYS host to Auckland's finest.
I work with the most interesting, eccentric, and nice
people, and am able to give casual service. There
aren't many rules, and the time goes fast. The dining
and service is excellent, and the reviews show that
SPQR has been an Auckland favorite for more then 9
years. While other restaurants come and go, SPQR
stays tried and true.

Last night was like any other.

At first.

During a busy time in the night (8:00-ish), I noticed
a guy standing near the wall in the room off of the
main dining area. Since SPQR is again, casual, people
often stand anywhere waiting for a seat, and the wait
is ALWAYS long, long, long on a Saturday night.

So, I asked him if I could help.

He replied, 'I'm the male dancer for the table in

(Uh... what?)

Thinking he was pulling my leg (in hindsight, I should
have known better), I just said in a very sarcastic
voice 'Ok, go on and dance then.'

I then proceeded to go up to Wendy, the cashier, and
let her know that this gentleman just told me that he
was the male dancer, and, wasn't that weird?

She said, 'Oh, good!'

I said, 'What do you mean, oh good?'

She said, 'You must not have been here three days ago
when the drag queens were here?'

I said, 'Umm, no?'

And then I said, 'You mean to tell me there really IS
a stripper here tonight?'

(Wendy nods)

"For that table?'

(nods again)

'While people are eating?'

And my (gay) manager Andy walks up and says 'There's a
stripper? A male stripper? I don't have a stripper
on the books tonight. But goodie anyway!!'

So, Andy walks over to the stripper and retrieves a
CD, which is PROMPTLY handed to (our utterly fabulous
and totally friendly transvestite bar maid) Betty to
be put in the CD player. Immediately, Michael
Jackson's 'Bad' blares. Andy yells, 'Betty, turn it
up!' It cranks.

Then the stripping began. In the middle of the
restaurant. While people were eating. And it was
perfectly acceptable. In fact, 95% of the patrons got
up and crowded around, cheering and clapping, taking
pictures. And Andy stood between the stripper and the
lone 10-year old boy in the back of the restaurant.

The stripper was a 'police officer', so handcuffs and
a baton were included.

It lasted about 10 minutes. It was actually fabulous,
because the atmosphere in the restaurant was electric.
My face was beat red the entire time, but to everyone
else, this was truly and perfectly acceptable.

Oh, and did I mention that the male stripper had been
hired for another male?

And just when I thought I'd seen it all.

(Guess I should've known better than to think I'd seen
it all...)


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