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Monday, February 7, 2011

Hello Sir...Or Madam...Or...Uh...

Remember that character from Saturday Night Live that was named Pat? No one was ever sure if it was a guy or a girl and every sketch was about people trying to decipher the clues of sexuality? Well, he was in my station this week. I'm sorry. She was in my station. It was in my station? I went up to table 24 ready to take an order. I hadn't made eye contact yet because I feel that when you do that it only encourages customers to talk to you and we certainly don't want that now, do we? My head down looking at my pad, I said, "Hello there, do you know what I can get for your sir?" I stammered on the word "sir" because I noticed long willowy fingers and perfectly shaped nails. "Sir" turned into "sssso I can get it for you right now." I assumed it was a man since every other customer that night was a man who had come to see the singing debut of a bartender/dick dancer here in New York City. The room was full of older gay men and I thought table 24 was too. Or was it. I looked at the shoes which were clunky snow boots that could belong to a man or a woman. The shirt was plaid flannel which could belong to a lesbian or a hipster from Williamsburg. I was confused. Maybe it would become obvious when the order was placed. A beer without a glass= man. A fruity martini= gay man.

He spoke. She spoke. They spoke? "Can I please have a cup of hot tea with milk and honey?" The voice was high pitched but I am pretty sure there was an Adam's Apple bobbing around the neck. Hot tea could be man, woman or anything. All I knew was this check was going to suck because a hot tea is the cheapest thing on the menu. I went to get the hot tea and stopped by the host stand to look at the reservation book. Maybe I could see a name. I needed to know, not just for my own curious nature, but "sir" or "ma'am" naturally comes from my mouth being raised in the South. I needed to know. The reservation book said Clay. Ah ha, a man! Oh wait, that's the last name. Damn. I went back with the hot tea and set it on the table. He/she drank with the pinky extended not helping me at all because this was a room full of gay men. Pinkies were waving all over the place like amber waves of grain. By the time I took the second hot tea to table 24, I had given up. The check was paid with cash so no credit card to study the name.

After the show, I saw him/her go downstairs toward the bathroom. If I had time, I would have followed just to see which room he/she went to. No time though. Moments later I saw my good friend Vague Clay coming up the stairs. I looked at the crotch looking for a bulge, a panty line, a tampon string-anything that would clue me in. Nothing. The customer left the club with me confused. The mystery shall remain unsolved. I look forward to the next time the dick dancer does another show. Clay will likely be right back in the front row again and next time I have a plan. I will simply drop the hot tea into the lap of Clay and when I am patting the crotch dry, I will subtly slip my hand into the pants and see what I find. Maybe a penis. Maybe a puss. Maybe something in between. It really doesn't matter either way. I'm just a nosy bitch that's all.



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20 comments:

Sarah said...

maybe they are in the midst of getting gender related surgeries? lol

Anonymous said...

Thats when I say "Darlin". But I work at a greasy spoon, so I can get away with it.

Tяainwяeck Tяagedy said...

LMAO! I hate those moments. I don't think you can go around touching people's crotches all willy nilly. But then again, you are The Bitchy Waiter, so I'm sure you'll find some hilariously professional way to do it and tell us all about it later.

Mary A. said...

No gender benders, but I once rented a car to a 6&1/2 foot tranny who described himself as "the tall blonde woman wearing a pantsuit".

Jenny said...

I once called one of the people at my table "sir" and realized later it was a woman (in my defense, she had facial hair). Apparently I wasn't the first server to make that mistake though.

California Girl said...

That's hilarious. Must have been some looker! My husband used to cringe every time Pat came on. He just hated her/his/it's voice and the whole shtick. I thought and still think it's funny altho' I doubt the movie they made was worth the effort. I mean, that's a one trick pony.

Looking fwd to more on "Clay".

Anonymous said...

I used to work in Chelsea in NYC. Lots and lots of sir/madames. I learned that sometimes the credit card name does not match the gender they are trying to pass as and if you point that out or even utter the name out loud (Christina instead of Chris for example)there will be trouble!

dohhead said...

Great post, Bitchy! I wish I could hear you narrate this...I see "Pat's" every day. It IS a game top "genderguess", if you can't figure it out, with 30+ yrs in the industry....IT must have been special, cheers..A.

Eden said...

I worked at a phone service and hit on this problem over the phone where you couldn't tell. Invariably their names were always Chris, Jaime or Jordan. Seriously?!

The other day in Michael's craft store I hit upon this problem. The cashier was a balding.... er.. man with DD+ boobs held in an excellent bra, appropriately lifted and separated as good bosoms were. Their jaw and adams apple said man, their voice said woman and their nametag said Jaime. aaaaaah! I was tempted to just ask particularly since they made eye contact with like I understood who/what they were. WTF?

The Restaurant Manager said...

It would drive me crazy not knowing!! If you ever find out please let us know!!

Biki said...

As a transgender person, who lives in the androgynous space, calling any human "it" is repulsive. We are humans, and just because we make you uncomfortable is no reason at all for you to call someone "it". Most of us will tell you if you politely ask, as to which gender we wish to be addressed as.

Brittany said...

We have something similar at my restaurant. He/she isn't gender ambigious per se, but he is pre-op. The first time I saw him, I saw boobs and women's clothing, but definitely a man's face (in a wig!) The next time, he was sans wig, and now the only time I see him is when I see him coming out of the women's room...eesh.

Practical Parsimony said...

Try guessing the gender of a middle- or high-schooler! Sometimes I see jeans, short hair and a sweatshirt from behind and make a comment, assuming I am looking at a boy. Nope. And the class roars. It makes me feel really bad for the cute little girl with little stud earrings, lipstick, and breasts. Or, I see a person from the front--long hair, little boobs, sweetest face you ever saw, petite, AND it's a guy. I really have to tap dance out of these situations without wounding a child for life. Most are so insecure. I doubt any of the ones I make mistakes with are gay. Yet, there are others of which I am very sure.

The Bitchy Waiter said...

I'm sorry Biki. I changed it. I was really not making fun of this very nice person. I was more making fun of myself that it threw me for a loop.

Anonymous said...

Biki, I appreciate your comments yet I have to confess that as a person with two transgendered close relatives, there was never any doubt about how they wished to be perceived. They were proud of their choices (First the choice to cross dress, then the choice to have preliminary treatment in preparation for gender reassignment and ultimately for their choice to undergo full reassignment) and had no hesitation wearing gender identifiable clothing and providing other clues for people. This was because they had support for their choices and could be confident in them. They were eager for others the feel comfortable with them in their new identities so they made them obvious. It sounds to me like Bitchy met someone who was less confident about their identity and at a point of just "trying it on for size". Just being at the table in amibiguous may have been an act of supreme courage for this particular individual.

Even so, we all live in a culture that expects people to be clear in their gender assignation. To be inspecific is to invite curiosity, inquiry, confusion, and social awkwardness. All of the compassion in the world won't eliminate that for someone who refuses to assist those around her/him with the obvious question.

Robin said...

Hi,

Will you check your junk mail? I sent you an email.

TC, R

Gabriele Agustini said...

Another hysterical post!!!!
Thanks for the laughs, BW! <3

lj said...

yes, you tread a very fine line with wit. But you make me laugh and by the end of the day, that is what is Important!

I myself tread a very fine with truthfulness (such a long word). But yeah. Don't respond to this. I'm just saying...

wink.

link
http://laurajc.blogspot.com/2011/01/fine-line-with-untruth.html

Anonymous said...

First off, I absolutely love your blog...started reading it when I started at my first restaurant job 2yrs ago...
now to your post...I completely understand the gender confusion. My one good story is from when I got one of my first shifts on the floor. I had a gender neutral customer. I just went about my regular business, trying to give as good of service as possible. Like you I hoped to solve this confusion at the end of the meal when the bill came out. Not so, he/she paid in cash...and to top it off left his/her number. I did however get a name (can't remember what it was), yup a gender neutral name. Needless to say, that number went into the trash.

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