Of Bars, Booze, and Bartending - Proving "Coughlin's Law" Invalid Since Feb '05

Friday, February 10, 2006

Choirgirl Hotel

It's been an awfully strange week around the ol' Tav.

Very near the restaurant, a swanky new hotel has been scheduled to open for months. I've really been anticipating it, hoping that the hotel guests, especially the business types with fat expense accounts, tire of the on-site bar and restaurant and discover our place. Well, the swanky hotel finally opened, and it didn't take long before a whole new slew of customers started frequenting my bar.

It's been good, and it's been bad. I've really enjoyed meeting people from across the world, but you'd honestly think some of them thought they'd just walked into the Playboy Club, and we employees are mere Bunnies without the proper costume.

Most recently, a (quite older) gentleman spent a little time at the bar, ordering dinner and making small talk. When he was ready to leave, I told him how thrilled we all were that the hotel had finally opened, and told him I hope he enjoyed the rest of his stay. He looked around for a minute, and then leaned in as close as he could to say, "Listen, the hotel is really nice, you should come over and meet me for a drink."

His proposition threw me off; I just didn't see it coming, not from him. I smiled and told him that I'd probably be at work for several more hours, and thanks, but no thanks. He persisted, saying "There aren't that many people here. You could probably leave a few minutes after you lock the doors." He was right, catching me in my friendly little lie, but I wiped the smile from my face, looked him in the eye and said, "No. Thank you, but no."

(One of the things I really hate about being from the midwest is this fakey-nice thing we put on all the time. No matter how creepy or persistent someone is, I'm compelled to respond in kind. "Oh, no, thank you, really, thanks so much for asking, but no, very nice of you, thanks." It's ridiculous, but I think if you're born around here, you're just automatically nice to even the most sinister of people.)

He signs his credit card slip, then reaches in his pocket. He hands me his business card and says, "If you change your mind, my cell phone number's on there. I think you'll change your mind."

Turns out the guy is some kind of Lead Engineer for Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth. I thought his accent sounded Texan.

After he left, I'm just standing there staring at this business card, a little stunned, wondering if this kind of tactic actually works from time to time. One of my favorite regulars, Baseball Doug, who was sitting at the end of the bar during this exchange, started laughing. "He just tried to pick you up, didn't he?"

"I'm not sure, I think so, but maybe he was just being friendly?" I replied, that midwestern, nicey, give-him-the-benefit-of-the-doubt thing, dammit dammit, involuntarily exiting my mouth. It's other-worldly. I'm telling you, there's no controlling it.

"He was totally trying to pick you up," offered another of the new hotel customers, not missing a beat. And this guy was on his cell phone the entire time.

So, maybe the new hotel wasn't the blessing I was hoping it would be. I certainly hope that Lockheed Martin Man was one-of-a-kind. Since I started working in a more upscale place, I really thought I'd moved past my "getting hit on constantly while tending sports bars" bartending phase.

Met him in a Hotel
Met him in a guess world
Guessed anyone but you
You were wild, where are you now?
You were wild,where are you now?
Give me more, give me more, give me more
I have to learn to let you crash down

Tori Amos, "Hotel"