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Old 02-21-2020, 09:47 AM
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How should a waitress best deal with customers who mistake friendliness for flirtation?


(Or waiters, I suppose, though I won't pretend to think that men & boys are as likely to encounter this difficulty as women & girls.)

One day last month, two of my colleagues & I met for breakfast at a café within walking distance of my apartment. Our waitress, BECCA, recognized me on sight and was her usual friendly, extremely competent self. In addition to the normal server duties, this involved setting out Splenda as soon as we sat (because, with my marble-like retinas, I can't tell those packets from sugar) and otherwise compensating for my blindness. She also complemented my suit, advised me to take my overcoat to the cleaners, and straightened my tie before we left. Like I said, she is extremely competent. I gave her a generous tip as always.

After we left, the younger of my two coworkers, RON,  opined that Becca is extremely hot and that I am lucky to be doing her. I replied truthfully that ours is a strictly waitress/customer relationship. Becca is just doing her job extremely well. Ron disagreed, insisting that her level of solicitude could only indicate romantic desire. He phrased it a bit more crudely than that. He then made it his business to go to that café for breakfast a few more times and hit on her — because of course, a waitress willing to fuck ONE customer must be willing to fuck ANY customer.

 I heard about this at Sunday brunch with my kids, when Becca commented that it was a relief to see me there without Ron. Apparently his advances have been more than a little insistent.

I am not trying to solve Becca's problem. She is a grown damn woman, and any woman who has been in the food service industry for a few years is aware of the possibility of things like this happening. That said, I do wonder what is the best way for waitresses — and for that matter, their bosses — to deal with oafs who mistake friendliness & competence for sexual interest, who think that big tips entitle them to dates, and who refuse to take a hint.

Thoughts?
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Old 02-21-2020, 11:07 AM
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I'm not a woman, and have never worked in food service so I will humbly defer to those who have more direct experience, but as I see it there are several attitudes of increasing directness that one can take:

1) polite acknowledgement of comments without commitment ("aw how sweet of you to say so, here's your pie.")
2) ignoring the overtures (just put down the food without comment)
3) polite dismissal (Thanks that's very flattering but I'm seeing someone)
4) out right rejection (Listen I'm not interested OK!)
5) getting the manager involved to explain the situation clearly to the customer and kick out/ban him if he doesn't change his ways.
6) get a restraining order from the police (hopefully not necessary)

It is not necessary to hit all of the stops on the way down and depending on severity of the harassment could skip straight to step 5. But if uncomfortable solicitations continue in spite of refusals at a given level of directness, the next interaction should be further down the list.

Alternatively, if circumstances allow it, one could handle the situation without direct confrontation simply by making sure that when that customer patronized the establishment he is always served by another member of the staff.

Last edited by Buck Godot; 02-21-2020 at 11:08 AM.
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Old 02-21-2020, 11:24 AM
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I've heard some waitresses will switch tables with another server if a customer gives them problems like that. In some cases the manager will take over. It serves as a subtle way of squashing the flirting without having to address it with the customer directly.
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Old 02-21-2020, 11:55 AM
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As an aside, I think your appraisal of the situation is correct. Flirting being part of her waitress shtick is far more likely than her actually being interested. Unless you're Chris hemsworth.

But it's possible to know for sure, without having to take things to the level of being explicitly rejected or annoying her. You just have to listen and notice the signals.

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Old 02-21-2020, 12:06 PM
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As an aside, I think your appraisal of the situation is correct. Flirting being part of her waitress shtick is far more likely than her actually being interested. Unless you're Chris hemsworth.
I don't even perceive her niceness to me as flirtatious. she is just doing things that are harder for a blind man. The only thing that happened between the two of us in Ron's presence that might be construed as flirtatious was her straightening my tie, which at least involved some physical contact.
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Old 02-21-2020, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Skald the Rhymer View Post
After we left, the younger of my two coworkers, RON,  opined that Becca is extremely hot and that I am lucky to be doing her. I replied truthfully that ours is a strictly waitress/customer relationship. Becca is just doing her job extremely well. Ron disagreed, insisting that her level of solicitude could only indicate romantic desire. He phrased it a bit more crudely than that. He then made it his business to go to that café for breakfast a few more times and hit on her — because of course, a waitress willing to fuck ONE customer must be willing to fuck ANY customer.
These two positions advocated by you and Ron in your particular case exclude a middle position which is frequently the case. So if you're going to make this a general question, it's worth paying attention to that.

Which is that the waitresses are in fact flirting with the customers, but not because of any genuine romantic interest, and certainly without any desire to take it any further, but because they believe - with considerable justification - that flirting will increase their tips.
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Old 02-21-2020, 01:16 PM
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For a waitress, what is the difference between flirting and being nice and competent?
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Old 02-21-2020, 01:26 PM
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Customer becomes tiresome, waitress invites customer to her place, customer is murdered & butchered, the customer is returned to the restaurant, excellent food and service continues as before.

"No secret, it's the meat. Don't skimp on the meat. I've got a real good eye for prime meat."
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Old 02-21-2020, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Manda JO View Post
For a waitress, what is the difference between flirting and being nice and competent?
Well, there are lines that can be crossed. Physical contact might be one; sitting in their booth and chatting with them for an hour during a dead period might be another. (And yes, I've heard of the latter happening.)
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Old 02-21-2020, 01:48 PM
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The tie straightening seems to be above and beyond normal friendliness, but maybe she just wants to be your mother.
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Old 02-21-2020, 03:58 PM
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Buck Godot got it in post #2. Hopefully she has a manager who will have her back if it comes to it. Some waitstaff don't.

That said--And this is apparently going to surprise some of you--Waitstaff are actual human beings with all the good and bad things that entails, including the ability to feel compassion and friendliness to a regular customer. They aren't flirtbot-2000, programmed to maximize tipping, all emotions simulated. She saw a blind guy who could use some help, so she helped him with a few things, because that's what a good person does. At the bar I have my side hustle at, we have a legally blind customer and I help him call an Uber and get in it when it's time to go. I do it 'cause I like the guy and want him to get home safe. That's it. That's my sole motivation.

Ron sounds like a real peach.
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Old 02-21-2020, 04:06 PM
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The tie straightening seems to be above and beyond normal friendliness, but maybe she just wants to be your mother.
I've noticed that serving people food seems to bring out the nurturing, motherly side in some people.
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Old 02-21-2020, 04:33 PM
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Aha! Found it... "Barista Not Actually Flirting With You"

As a guy, it's hard to tell the difference (because we wish it were true that a cute young woman is bowled over by our charisma). So I've learned to assume they're just being friendly.
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Old 02-21-2020, 04:36 PM
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As a guy, it's hard to tell the difference (because we wish it were true that a cute young woman is bowled over by our charisma). So I've learned to assume they're just being friendly.
Always a wise strategy. I play that one so faithfully I damn near missed out on my second marriage. The Missus thought I was uninterested, I thought I was just having lunch with a hot coworker.
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Old 02-21-2020, 05:11 PM
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Well, there are lines that can be crossed. Physical contact might be one; sitting in their booth and chatting with them for an hour during a dead period might be another. (And yes, I've heard of the latter happening.)
Becca has sat at my table once — ONCE — to chat. We were discussing some movie or other. Probably one of the early Avengers, but I'm not sure. and I occasionally interact with her outside of work. Once she drove by me while I was out for a walk and offered me a ride, not realizing I was walking for the exercise, and later she did give me a ride home from the grocery store when we chanced to be leaving at the same time.

But so what? The thread question wasn't whether she is flirting with me. I am virtually certain she is not, and the only reason I add that qualifier is that I am never utterly certain about the interior life of another person. The thread question was what are the best ways for a waitress to handle unwanted attention from dudes who mistake her friendly competence for sexual interest, or who refuse to accept that she has the right not to be interested.
The person in my real life who alleged that she had more than friendly interest in me is also the person who, by her testimony, has refused to take no for an answer and is making her working life more difficult. I would rather not be associated with him.
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Old 02-21-2020, 05:17 PM
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But so what? The thread question wasn't whether she is flirting with me. I am virtually certain she is not, and the only reason I add that qualifier is that I am never utterly certain about the interior life of another person. The thread question was what are the best ways for a waitress to handle unwanted attention from dudes who mistake her friendly competence for sexual interest, or who refuse to accept that she has the right not to be interested.
To this, I can only suggest that the woman avoid the dude, if at all possible. Seeking intervention from a manager might be helpful in this regard.
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Old 02-21-2020, 07:29 PM
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I would say the best way would be for the waitress to dial back the friendliness and flirtation to the minimum professional requirement.





[QUOTE=Skald the Rhymer;22152021]Becca has sat at my table once — ONCE — to chat. We were discussing some movie or other. Probably one of the early Avengers, but I'm not sure. and I occasionally interact with her outside of work. Once she drove by me while I was out for a walk and offered me a ride, not realizing I was walking for the exercise, and later she did give me a ride home from the grocery store when we chanced to be leaving at the same time.

But so what? The thread question wasn't whether she is flirting with me. I am virtually certain she is not, and the only reason I add that qualifier is that I am never utterly certain about the interior life of another person...QUOTE]


Yeah, I hate to break it to you - but Becca's behavior goes a bit beyond the call of duty for a typical waitstaff/customer relationship. Maybe she's just likes you as a friend, but I don't think it would be inappropriate for you to casually ask her if she wanted to go on a date (if you want to).
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Old 02-21-2020, 07:42 PM
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Customer becomes tiresome, waitress invites customer to her place, customer is murdered & butchered, the customer is returned to the restaurant, excellent food and service continues as before.
I think I saw this on an old episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
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Old 02-21-2020, 08:23 PM
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And there was the excellent special barbecue in "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Café".
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Old 02-21-2020, 08:53 PM
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For a waitress, what is the difference between flirting and being nice and competent?
I'm reminded of the time a waitress slid into the booth right up against me and put her arm around my shoulder to take my order.

I am not making this up.

Not sure why she thought it was appropriate, except it was probably less flirting and more angling for a big tip.

In any event it was not a good idea, seeing that Mrs. J. sitting across from me was looking daggers at her and wound up paying for the meal.

I don't know what the tip was, but suspect it wasn't record-setting.

Last edited by Jackmannii; 02-21-2020 at 08:53 PM.
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Old 02-21-2020, 09:07 PM
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It is a chronic hazard for women in service jobs like waitressing to be both required as part of their job to be extra nice and friendly and at the same time try to fend off lecherous creeps like your co-worker. The best case scenario is she tells her manager, and he or she deals with it appropriately. This might mean having a different person finish the service at that table, it might mean a friendly talking-to ('we like everyone to have a great meal here but we do need our wait staff to be treated politely'), or it might mean throwing the asshole out on the street.

There are a lot of managers who don't care whether their staff is harassed, as long as the customer is happy. There is not much a waitress can do to stop harassment if their manager doesn't back them up.
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Old 02-21-2020, 09:32 PM
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[QUOTE=msmith537;22152164]I would say the best way would be for the waitress to dial back the friendliness and flirtation to the minimum professional requirement.





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Originally Posted by Skald the Rhymer View Post
Becca has sat at my table once — ONCE — to chat. We were discussing some movie or other. Probably one of the early Avengers, but I'm not sure. and I occasionally interact with her outside of work. Once she drove by me while I was out for a walk and offered me a ride, not realizing I was walking for the exercise, and later she did give me a ride home from the grocery store when we chanced to be leaving at the same time.

But so what? The thread question wasn't whether she is flirting with me. I am virtually certain she is not, and the only reason I add that qualifier is that I am never utterly certain about the interior life of another person...QUOTE]


Yeah, I hate to break it to you - but Becca's behavior goes a bit beyond the call of duty for a typical waitstaff/customer relationship. Maybe she's just likes you as a friend, but I don't think it would be inappropriate for you to casually ask her if she wanted to go on a date (if you want to).

Of course it would be inappropriate of me to ask her on a date. I have a girlfriend. But apart from that, any number of my neighbors do me favors, or offer to. (I am fairly sure she lives in this neighborhood, given that we run into one another in the grocery store from time to time.) even if I were without the girlfriend, I would not be willing to start taking friendly offers of help as evidence of carnal intent.
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Old 02-22-2020, 02:57 AM
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.....There are a lot of managers who don't care whether their staff is harassed, as long as the customer is happy. There is not much a waitress can do to stop harassment if their manager doesn't back them up.
I would think managers like that would have trouble retaining good staff. But they'd probably be too clueless to figure out why.
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Old 02-22-2020, 07:09 AM
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Well, there are lines that can be crossed. Physical contact might be one; sitting in their booth and chatting with them for an hour during a dead period might be another. (And yes, I've heard of the latter happening.)
I don't think either of those example are flirting.
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Old 02-22-2020, 08:23 AM
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Of course it would be inappropriate of me to ask her on a date. I have a girlfriend. But apart from that, any number of my neighbors do me favors, or offer to. (I am fairly sure she lives in this neighborhood, given that we run into one another in the grocery store from time to time.) even if I were without the girlfriend, I would not be willing to start taking friendly offers of help as evidence of carnal intent.
I don't know your personal situation, so if you are in a relationship, of course you might not want to ask people for dates.


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View Post Well, there are lines that can be crossed. Physical contact might be one; sitting in their booth and chatting with them for an hour during a dead period might be another. (And yes, I've heard of the latter happening.)

I don't think either of those example are flirting.
What do you think "flirting" is?


It's been a long time since I've dated. But what I eventually learned is that sometimes women can be very friendly, but not actually want to be in a "dating" or sexual relationship with you. Others, they might actually DO want to be in such a relationship, but don't overtly communicate it. Not having psychic powers, sometimes the only way to tell is to ask them if they want to go on a date. Sometimes they just want to hang out, which is fine too.

That said, a lot of guys look at every friendly gesture as an invitation to keep badgering a woman. I used to work with a number of "Rons" and they are tedious.
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Old 02-22-2020, 12:04 PM
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But what I eventually learned is that sometimes women can be very friendly, but not actually want to be in a "dating" or sexual relationship with you. Others, they might actually DO want to be in such a relationship, but don't overtly communicate it.
Agreed.

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Not having psychic powers, sometimes the only way to tell is to ask them if they want to go on a date.
I would disagree with this though. With sufficient conversation skills it's possible to figure out her degree of interest before you go through the formality of actually asking her out.

I know it sounds like I want to brag or something, but it's more that I embarrassed myself and plenty of girls when I subscribed to the "just man up and ask her out" school of thought. It took me far too long to appreciate that it doesn't need to be like that.

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Old 02-22-2020, 01:46 PM
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What do you think "flirting" is?
I'm not Bear_Nenno; but what I think is that "flirting" has a sexual component.

And I don't think that sitting and talking with somebody necessarily has a sexual component. Neither, in some contexts, does straightening somebody's tie.
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Old 02-22-2020, 02:28 PM
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(Or waiters, I suppose, though I won't pretend to think that men & boys are as likely to encounter this difficulty as women & girls.)
Why is it that you, my father, brother, and DH can figure this out, but virtually no other man on earth can? My BIL has it un-figured enough for three men.
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For a waitress, what is the difference between flirting and being nice and competent?
Uhh, consent? I'm going to guess that out of 100 times men think a waitress is flirting with them, it's true a non-zero number of times, but that number is different from zero the way your odds of winning the lottery are different whether or not you buy a ticket.
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Like I said, she is extremely competent. I gave her a generous tip as always.
This is above and beyond the call of duty for waitressing, but she could be doing it for the tips. How you guys got there could be someone's doctoral dissertation in operant conditioning.

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because of course, a waitress willing to fuck ONE customer must be willing to fuck ANY customer.
Annnnnd here we come to the heart of the matter.

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Thoughts?
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Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
I've noticed that serving people food seems to bring out the nurturing, motherly side in some people.
Or the daughterly side. What's the age difference here? Could you remind her of either her dad or her son?

There's a guy I run into from time to time, who was the father of a classmate of mine, until she was killed in kind of a freak car accident when we were about 24. After that, every time he'd see me, he'd give me a big hug.

The first time I ran into him after my father died (I was 30), I had the overwhelming urge to, well, straighten his tie, pat his combover into place, and pick lint off his coat. I mean, really, overwhelming. I think we hugged twice that time.


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The thread question wasn't whether she is flirting with me. I am virtually certain she is not, and the only reason I add that qualifier is that I am never utterly certain about the interior life of another person...
Quote:
Yeah, I hate to break it to you - but Becca's behavior goes a bit beyond the call of duty for a typical waitstaff/customer relationship. Maybe she's just likes you as a friend, but I don't think it would be inappropriate for you to casually ask her if she wanted to go on a date (if you want to).
Yup

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I'm reminded of the time a waitress slid into the booth right up against me and put her arm around my shoulder to take my order.

I am not making this up.

Not sure why she thought it was appropriate, except it was probably less flirting and more angling for a big tip.
I'm guessing she lost a bet.

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I'm not Bear_Nenno; but what I think is that "flirting" has a sexual component.

And I don't think that sitting and talking with somebody necessarily has a sexual component. Neither, in some contexts, does straightening somebody's tie.
Yeah. Becca may not have the hots for Skald, but I'm going to say that her interest is beyond waitress/customer. Maybe she just wants someone to talk to about movies.

Haven't any of you ever just really liked somebody without any sexual attraction?

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I knew that would be from The Onion before I clicked on it.
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Old 02-22-2020, 04:03 PM
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Why is it that you, my father, brother, and DH can figure this out, but virtually no other man on earth can? My BIL has it un-figured enough for three men.

Uhh, consent? I'm going to guess that out of 100 times men think a waitress is flirting with them, it's true a non-zero number of times, but that number is different from zero the way your odds of winning the lottery are different whether or not you buy a ticket.
This is above and beyond the call of duty for waitressing, but she could be doing it for the tips. How you guys got there could be someone's doctoral dissertation in operant conditioning.

Annnnnd here we come to the heart of the matter.

Or the daughterly side. What's the age difference here? Could you remind her of either her dad or her son?

There's a guy I run into from time to time, who was the father of a classmate of mine, until she was killed in kind of a freak car accident when we were about 24. After that, every time he'd see me, he'd give me a big hug.

The first time I ran into him after my father died (I was 30), I had the overwhelming urge to, well, straighten his tie, pat his combover into place, and pick lint off his coat. I mean, really, overwhelming. I think we hugged twice that time.


Yup

I'm guessing she lost a bet.

Yeah. Becca may not have the hots for Skald, but I'm going to say that her interest is beyond waitress/customer. Maybe she just wants someone to talk to about movies.

Haven't any of you ever just really liked somebody without any sexual attraction?

I knew that would be from The Onion before I clicked on it.

I apologize for not winnowing down the above; it is just too much trouble with my worthless eyes.

I am not sure of the age difference between me and Becca. my vision is such that I can only see details of a person's face if we are at a kissing distance, which I have never been with her. she has mentioned having kids around the age of mine when I am there with them, which puts her between my ex-wife's age (about 30) and me (about 50).

I agree with whoever said upthread that flirting has a sexual component in a way that simple friendliness does not. The conversation I had with Becca about the Avengers movie was because she enjoyed it so much and was surprised that I had as well, not realizing that it had come out before my eyes went to shit. But mostly it was because business was slow. I simply refuse to assert that I am so beautiful that every woman who does something nice for me is motivated by a desire for my form.

Becca and I are friends in two very limited contexts. she serves me food and I compensate her for her time, and we chat at the grocery store. Among the multiple reasons I don't think she is hiding interest only because she's at work is because she both knows my physical address and has my phone number, the ladder because I give my business card to any good customer service person I encounter on the theory that they might make a good hire for my company one day. Becca has availed herself of the latter bit of knowledge to recommend other persons for a job with my company she's not shy; if she wanted to make a desire for a more intimate relation known, she easily could.
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Old 02-22-2020, 04:28 PM
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... because she both knows my physical address and has my phone number, the ladder because I give my business card to any good customer service person I encounter
Wait, she has a ladder? Better lock your windows at night!
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Old 02-22-2020, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Mijin View Post
I would disagree with this though. With sufficient conversation skills it's possible to figure out her degree of interest before you go through the formality of actually asking her out.

I know it sounds like I want to brag or something, but it's more that I embarrassed myself and plenty of girls when I subscribed to the "just man up and ask her out" school of thought. It took me far too long to appreciate that it doesn't need to be like that.
Could you go on, please, about how it can be? I've been having a similar intuition but I'm having difficulty putting it into words.
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Old 02-22-2020, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Mijin View Post
I would disagree with this though. With sufficient conversation skills it's possible to figure out her degree of interest before you go through the formality of actually asking her out.

I know it sounds like I want to brag or something, but it's more that I embarrassed myself and plenty of girls when I subscribed to the "just man up and ask her out" school of thought. It took me far too long to appreciate that it doesn't need to be like that.
Why is that "embarrassing"? So she says "no". Big deal.

But in general, I think I'm in agreement with you. I don't know what it is, but in my single days, I kind of feel like I could always tell whether a woman was interested in me through a combination of verbal and non-verbal cues, body language, etc. Although this skill didn't come without more than a bit of trial and error.


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Originally Posted by RivkahChaya
Uhh, consent? I'm going to guess that out of 100 times men think a waitress is flirting with them, it's true a non-zero number of times, but that number is different from zero the way your odds of winning the lottery are different whether or not you buy a ticket.
Look, not for nothing, but we are talking about a waitress here, not an Academy Award winning actress here. Which is to say a) we aren't talking about some unobtainable standard and b) most waitresses are not putting on some "oh I really want to fuck you for tips" act. Hell, I actually assume the opposite is true. If a waitress or other service person is flirting hard with me, I assume she thinks I'm some rich Wall Street / tech bro who will take her away from her life of food service.
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Old 02-22-2020, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by MichaelEmouse View Post
Could you go on, please, about how it can be? I've been having a similar intuition but I'm having difficulty putting it into words.
Well, it comes down to: to know if someone is figuratively interested in me, I try to observe whether they are literally interested in me.

So, generally it's a good idea in casual conversation to try to put focus on the other person; people like it when you show interest. But if it's someone I'm attracted to, I might also notice the extent to which they try to steer the conversation on to me.

If she doesn't steer it that way, I might give her a chance by throwing out some statement about myself eg some hobby I'm into. Does she ask many follow up questions?

If im getting good feedback maybe I mention something slightly more personal, like an anecdote where I mention my emotions. How interested does she seem in my psychology, does she now share something more personal?

And so on. There's no single point at which i determine she's interested or not, but there are positive and negative signs. If she's not interested, then fine, we finish out a friendly conversation.

But if things are going well, i might do a dry run of asking her out by mentioning that I'm planning on going to some event X or I enjoy going out to do activity Y, and see how she reacts to the imminent possibility of being asked out.

Really, I find the whole science / art / whatever of conversation fascinating. I wish I'd learned at a younger age that it's something you can learn and improve on, it's not just a matter of "be confident" or being born extrovert.

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Old 02-22-2020, 09:49 PM
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I feel the need to point out here that ties don't need to be straightened. They just don't. Ties are generally always straight. If someone adjusts your tie, it's for a non-sartorial reason.
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Old 02-22-2020, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by msmith537 View Post
Why is that "embarrassing"? So she says "no". Big deal.

But in general, I think I'm in agreement with you. I don't know what it is, but in my single days, I kind of feel like I could always tell whether a woman was interested in me through a combination of verbal and non-verbal cues, body language, etc. Although this skill didn't come without more than a bit of trial and error.




Look, not for nothing, but we are talking about a waitress here, not an Academy Award winning actress here. Which is to say a) we aren't talking about some unobtainable standard and b) most waitresses are not putting on some "oh I really want to fuck you for tips" act. Hell, I actually assume the opposite is true. If a waitress or other service person is flirting hard with me, I assume she thinks I'm some rich Wall Street / tech bro who will take her away from her life of food service.
I respect you as a poster, but I couldn't disagree more strongly with this or your previous post. Asking her out, even if the OP were available, would make for a lot of awkwardness and probably a different waitress, one who's NOT inclined to set out the preferred sweetener.

Waitresses get sexualized, as some of my waitress relatives could tell you. Here's a woman who's known the OP for some time and obviously considers him a nice guy. Maybe she even has some affection for him. That does NOT mean she's flirting with him. Thank God the OP recognizes that.

And Ron is a creep. He not only interpreted kindliness as sexual, but he assumed if a woman was kindly, she'd be an easy lay. *shudder* Ugh.
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Old 02-22-2020, 10:43 PM
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I feel the need to point out here that ties don't need to be straightened. They just don't. Ties are generally always straight. If someone adjusts your tie, it's for a non-sartorial reason.
Sure ties need to be straightened, particularly when you can just barely see what you're doing and they mostly appear as a shadow. My ex-wife, current girlfriend,stepdaughter, baby sister, and work wife have all straightened my tie one time or another cents my eyes went to shit. And only two of those women had any sexual interest in me.
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Old 02-23-2020, 01:47 AM
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Since apparently I am not going to get to go to bed tonight…

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Originally Posted by nelliebly View Post
Waitresses get sexualized, as some of my waitress relatives could tell you. Here's a woman who's known the OP for some time and obviously considers him a nice guy. Maybe she even has some affection for him. That does NOT mean she's flirting with him. Thank God the OP recognizes that.
On top of all that, there is the issue that I would not wish to disillusion Becca about my intentions. If I were to ask her out and she turned me down, even if there were no other repercussions, I think there would be some part of her that said "Well, I am not as good at reading men's intentions as I thought I was." she would quite reasonably think less of me, I think, suspecting that my generous tips were less a reward for excellent service than an attempt to unzip her pants. both my integrity and my pride cannot abide that.



Quote:
And Ron is a creep. He not only interpreted kindliness as sexual, but he assumed if a woman was kindly, she'd be an easy lay. *shudder* Ugh.
Sí. And I don't care to invalidate the trust she showed in me by complaining about Ron by emulating his behavior.
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  #38  
Old 02-23-2020, 05:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Chessic Sense View Post
I feel the need to point out here that ties don't need to be straightened. They just don't. Ties are generally always straight. If someone adjusts your tie, it's for a non-sartorial reason.
You never had a 4-year-old son who had to go to a bar mitzvah.

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Originally Posted by nelliebly View Post
And Ron is a creep. He not only interpreted kindliness as sexual, but he assumed if a woman was kindly, she'd be an easy lay. *shudder* Ugh.
The biggest problem with Ron, which Skald recognizes in his OP, is that he assumes that interest in one customer translates to "she'll do anyone in her section." Cripes', even if she were giving Skald lapdances, she still might be less interested in Ron than than she is in a dead squirrel.
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Old 02-24-2020, 08:37 AM
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It sounds like Ron needs a pitcher of ice water "accidentally" dumped into his lap. Or a fresh pot of hot coffee. Or a bucket of pissed off rattlesnakes. I've never been a waitress but I've worked enough customer service jobs to know that there are lots of jerks like him out therewho think they can get away with harassing or hitting on a woman at work because she is required to be nice to customers.

Unfortunately most managers don't really care if the underlings are miserable as long as the customer is happy. About all you can do is ask another server to take your place and hope the guy doesn't make a scene when he doesn't get "his" waitress.

I get the impression that Skald is talking about a local place that he has been going to for a long time. If you spend much time in places like that you see that regular customers are treated more warmly than average joes. They have their favorite waitresses and they talk and joke, and usually the waitress knows what they're going to order right off the bat. And yes some of the waitresses flirt a bit especially with older male customers but it's affectionate rather than romantic if that makes sense.
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Old 02-24-2020, 08:46 AM
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Too late to add. Waitstaff who have been at it a long time get to be really good at deflecting jerky comments without getting the customer pissed and also learn how to tell someone to fuck off without saying it in as many words. Personality and experience helps too. It's easier to intimidate a shy teenager than someone 30 and outgoing.

Last edited by tricoteuse; 02-24-2020 at 08:47 AM.
  #41  
Old 02-25-2020, 01:39 PM
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And yes some of the waitresses flirt a bit especially with older male customers but it's affectionate rather than romantic if that makes sense.
When I started teaching, I was told that the girls will flirt with you, not because they are interested, but because it's safe: they can flirt knowing you won't respond. Sometimes they like the way it makes them feel (adult, generous): more often, they're just practicing. Now that I've got personal experience, I don't think that is entirely true: sometimes your students flirt with you because they do want you to respond (I was also told what would happen to me if I responded to those cases). But I still think there is truth in the original instruction: sometimes people flirt with you only because they think it's safe to do so.
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Old 02-25-2020, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by tricoteuse View Post
It sounds like Ron needs a pitcher of ice water "accidentally" dumped into his lap. Or a fresh pot of hot coffee. Or a bucket of pissed off rattlesnakes. I've never been a waitress but I've worked enough customer service jobs to know that there are lots of jerks like him out therewho think they can get away with harassing or hitting on a woman at work because she is required to be nice to customers.

Unfortunately most managers don't really care if the underlings are miserable as long as the customer is happy. About all you can do is ask another server to take your place and hope the guy doesn't make a scene when he doesn't get "his" waitress.

I get the impression that Skald is talking about a local place that he has been going to for a long time. If you spend much time in places like that you see that regular customers are treated more warmly than average joes. They have their favorite waitresses and they talk and joke, and usually the waitress knows what they're going to order right off the bat. And yes some of the waitresses flirt a bit especially with older male customers but it's affectionate rather than romantic if that makes sense.

I would call the kind of flirting you are referring to "playful" more than anything else. playful, in the sense that it is not actually meant to entice the other person into a date/kiss/whatever, but is basically a game of wordplaY.

Not that that is what happens between me and Becca. I have been flirted with by waitresses; for example, my current girlfriend is a waitress in her day job, And she used to flirt seriously with me quite a bit before we started going out. (I did not ask her out at work, though.) Becca is simply a very competent and friendly person. Because of her competence, she anticipates the special needs I will have that a sighted customer will not; as a result, she gets a bigger tip than her coworkers do when they wait on me. Because she is friendly, she offered me the aforementioned rides in her car when we chance to encounter one another outside the café. those were not for tips; it was just being a good person. When I could drive, I would offer acquaintances rides if they seemed to need them.

Probably the closest Becca has ever come to even playful flirting with me was this morning when I requested something other than my usual. She affected a gasp and said "Oh my God! Did you have surgery to remove the stick from your ass?"
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  #43  
Old 02-25-2020, 03:25 PM
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My understanding is that some waitresses flirt to get bigger tips.
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Old 02-26-2020, 03:32 PM
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(Or waiters, I suppose, though I won't pretend to think that men & boys are as likely to encounter this difficulty as women & girls.)
I've never heard that it was a difficulty, but I can certainly affirm that some friendly good looking young male waiters do get girls making uninvited passes at them, even when they aren't overtly flirting. It seems like the experience of having an attentive young man doing what you ask just triggers that kind of response in some women.

Last edited by Melbourne; 02-26-2020 at 03:33 PM.
  #45  
Old 02-26-2020, 04:07 PM
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OP, you seem like a great guy, and I would be surprised if Becca doesn't genuinely like you as more than just a customer, even if she's not interested in you sexually. I used to wait tables and tend bar, and I had a lot of regulars for whom I cared deeply. I cried when I found out one of them had died, and I still think about her. I still think about all of them, actually, all these years later.

Anyway, in answer to your question, yes, there are casual ways of brushing off overly flirty customers, but it sounds like Ron took the creep factor to a level where the manager should be involved. She shouldn't have to wait on him if he comes in again, and he should be asked to leave if he approaches her anyway.

I used to get a lot of flirtation from middle-aged and older men as a teenager working at Ruby's (you know, the burger joint where the waitresses dress like vintage candy stripers?) But for the most part, they were playful about it, rather than creepy. I knew some of them came in mainly to talk to pretty girls, but as long as they didn't try to touch me, or monopolize my time, or ask me out, I didn't mind. There were some creepers, though, and I'm glad management always had our backs. That's not always the case in restaurants.
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Old 02-26-2020, 06:06 PM
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My understanding is that some waitresses flirt to get bigger tips.
That seems like victim-blaming to me. if Becca, the person in the anecdote starting this thread, we're going to flirt with a customer to get better tips, isn't it more likely that it would be the regular who verifiably does not feel flirted with? and that the person who attributed her kindness to being sexually forthcoming is more likely at fault in making her feel harassed?



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Originally Posted by Esprise Me View Post
I would be surprised if Becca doesn't genuinely like you as more than just a customer, even if she's not interested in you sexually.
After this past weekend I am pretty sure that's true. She volunteered to give me a ride Sunday for a fairly important errand because she overheard a conversation about it. but that doesn't mean I anticipate us moving to a romantic relationship or that either of us wants it.
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Old 02-26-2020, 06:16 PM
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That seems like victim-blaming to me. if Becca, the person in the anecdote starting this thread, we're going to flirt with a customer to get better tips, isn't it more likely that it would be the regular who verifiably does not feel flirted with? and that the person who attributed her kindness to being sexually forthcoming is more likely at fault in making her feel harassed?
Perhaps a better way to say what PastTense was saying would be, it's been shown that certain behaviors -smiling, remembering names, light physical contact, not setting the customer on fire- have a tendency to encourage customers to leave larger tips. A waitress might do these behaviors deliberately with the intent of getting larger tips. Some of these behaviors are the same as behaviors used while flirting, so one could interpret the situation as engaging in flirting behavior to get larger tips. (And when somebody does interpret things this way, things usually go poorly.)
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Old 02-26-2020, 06:23 PM
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Old 02-26-2020, 06:39 PM
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Perhaps a better way to say what PastTense was saying would be, it's been shown that certain behaviors -smiling, remembering names, light physical contact, not setting the customer on fire- have a tendency to encourage customers to leave larger tips. A waitress might do these behaviors deliberately with the intent of getting larger tips. Some of these behaviors are the same as behaviors used while flirting, so one could interpret the situation as engaging in flirting behavior to get larger tips. (And when somebody does interpret things this way, things usually go poorly.)
If we grant all that, I still think that the onus has to be on the (usually male) customer to recognize the difference. Particularly since, according to a number of people propounding this hypothesis in the thread, the quasi-flirtatious behavior is being directed at middle-aged men. if you are past 40 — hell, 30 — you should have acquired enough life experience to distinguish between niceness and come –hitherness.
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Old 02-26-2020, 06:43 PM
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If we grant all that, I still think that the onus has to be on the (usually male) customer to recognize the difference. Particularly since, according to a number of people propounding this hypothesis in the thread, the quasi-flirtatious behavior is being directed at middle-aged men. if you are past 40 — hell, 30 — you should have acquired enough life experience to distinguish between niceness and come –hitherness.
I personally have acquired enough life experience to forget trying to recognize the difference - it doesn't matter if they sit next to me and snuggle close, I'm not going to assume anything about romance until they smack me with a physical mallet with "I love you, idiot" written on it. And they'd have to hit me twice for me to be sure. Because there is no way in hell I'm going to make perilous/absurd assumptions and make presumptions based on them.
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