All the shit you hear as a female bartender
Do you want to make this transaction any more awkward?
by Jess Sheldon
Don’t get me wrong, working in a bar is, fundamentally, very fun. There’s always someone on shift with good banter, and you’ll never have to take your job home with you. You’ll usually end up drinking after closing time too, so what’s not to love? But like all work, bar work has downsides – the unsociable hours, for one. You’ll somehow be roped into working the close-down shift every Saturday night, and watching everyone get pissed just isn’t quite as fun from the other side of the bar.
Working a shift sober is the real killer though, especially when you have to put up with sexist drunken comments. It’s just innocent flirting though right? Well actually, no it’s not. Not when you throw in that awkward leer from the customer – who blatantly doesn’t realise that you can see him staring at your chest rather than your face. They won’t remember that blurry part of the night the next day – but you will.
‘I’ll have a pint of lager, two jager-bombs and your number’
Cue a snigger from his mate. When you’re ten hours into your shift, you’ve sweated off any make-up you had on and Guinness is spilled down the front of your shirt, I guess it’s almost impressive that bar staff can pull without even trying. Almost, I say, because it’s also one of the most awkward and sexist things that a female bartender has to put up with.
The only person to try chat up a male bartender will be Linda. Linda is married, 50, and on a works night out with the girls. Linda’s had a cocktail too many and thinks it’s funny to flirt with a boy her son’s age. But even Linda won’t push the boundaries and ask him for his number, so why do certain men think it’s ok to do so? And don’t get me started on asking if I have a boyfriend.
‘Give us a smile, love’
There’s nothing about this graveyard shift to smile about, so drooling condescending comments like that over the bar top is only going to make me avoid serving you. You’re so intoxicated that you can’t see clearly or control your own face anyway, so what does it matter what my facial expression is? I’ll smile tomorrow when I wake up feeling fresh, and not with a stinking hangover.
‘Your mate’s fit’
Yes, she heard you declare her “a solid 10/10” and mumble something or other about her figure whilst she was getting your drinks last time. Since then, she’s told the rest of the team that she doesn’t feel comfortable serving you any more, and is collecting glasses for the rest of the night. Bar staff are at work, not out on the pull; so save yourself some dignity and don’t ask to be set up with their colleagues.
‘Your uniform makes you look like a sexy schoolgirl’
My black trousers, loose white shirt and black tie is anything but sexy. At work, female bartenders deliberately cover themselves up to avoid these situations – so stop making girls feel uncomfortable in a uniform that’s been designed to avoid this kind of confrontation. After several pints, the beer goggles will be well and truly on, but that’s still no excuse for this kind of remark. Hit on the hot girl in the mini-dress next to you, not me. I look anything but sexy.
‘I’ll have a pint. I bet you give good head don’t you’
Mate, if you come out with comments like that then you deserve the entire pint tipped on you – not just the head.
‘What time do you finish work? You should join us after’
I don’t know you or any of “the lads”, so thanks but no thanks. Just because I remembered what your last round was, doesn’t mean I’m interested – five pints of Coors Light is just pretty easy to remember. When I eventually do leave work and you see me in the street as I head to my car, please don’t confuse this with me coming to meet you. It’s gone 3am and I’ve just finished cleaning your mate’s sick up – I’m not down for a hook up, thanks.