When I was twenty two I had a fantastic job working for a design agency and my room was the basement of a Victorian house, decorated in fairy lights. I was happy. And then of course, as seems to happen, it all came crashing down. My boyfriend and I split up, him going off travelling and leaving me five year confused, and I lost my job.
So I moped around in my pjs for a bit, but this isn’t one of those stories people….
I got a bar job. And I absolutely loved it. I was one of three girls on a twenty strong bar staff, and I used this fully to my advantage. I would rock up to the pub fully made up and flutter my lashes at the customers, earning more in tips than I did in my basic wage for the night. It didn’t pay very well, but as it came up to Christmas and the rowdy gangs of football jollies and work Christmas dos rolled in, the fiver tips came thick and fast.
But it did cause problems. The other staff on the bar were lads, and the rule was that you didn’t have to share tips. Good for me, bad for them. Here’s a fact for you; men don’t tip male bar staff unless they are feeling particularly generous, or they are Newton Faulkner (he tipped one of the lads a tenner when he was in, what a nice man!). So the boys would get irate as they served a large group and didn’t even get a ‘put one in for you’ at the end of the order. And then they got more annoyed when they would come to serve and the lads would say “no, you’re alright mate, we’re waiting for the little lady!”
Men like women. Men like beer. So the girl that is serving them the beer becomes a goddess higher than any other; the provider of the alcohol. I got used to pouring intricate shots and balancing beer glasses on each other for speed as I poured pints, and I was the only one able to do the clover on the Guinness. Check me out, what life skills!
But the attention was never a bonus. There were some really good looking guys who chose the pub as their watering hole, but they never asked me out when in a fit state, as they were too shy to talk to the bar wench. So by the time they got the courage they were so pissed that any allure had gone. They were either throwing up or talking rubbish, or having a go at karaoke. Not my idea of a life partner!
And then there were the downright creepy ones. One particular guy came in every Friday night and ordered a vodka red bull, and then inquired about my marriage. I quickly learned to not correct him, and explained that my marriage was fine thank you and yes my husband was a lucky man (I’m twenty five now, and I still look about twelve so I don’t really get it). The boys working the bar also soon learnt that come the start of the shift I would pick one of them to be my boyfriend, and use them for the rest of the night as a cover to protect myself from unwanted advances. I would politely thank the kind man for their offer of dinner, and then explain that much as I would love to join them and then gesticulate in the rough area of the chosen one. Jonas/Wednesday/Harry/Ben, whoever drew the short straw then nodded, and the illusion was complete! I always offered to share the tips but would get the same answer “no, you earned it. Shame I haven’t got boobs.” Not really a shame, as you would be freaks, but sure. And I had the added bonus of being the tiny girl in a sea of lads. “She can’t carry that, I’ll do it!” “She looks tired, let her go early”.
The only one I didn’t like so much was when a fight broke out “send Laura in!” why? The reasoning behind this was that I was small and a girl and the gobbiest one of the lot, so I was less likely to get punched in the face. All well and good, till I got punched in the face. I lost the plot in a raving banshee sort of way, and kicked out two grown men with little help from my pack of men. Don’t mess with me! I don’t like it. As one of them used to mockingly say, kitty can scratch!
I loved the pub family too. Sure, we never saw our own friends and family, such were the hours we kept, but we socialised together, playing pool and having a drink after we had cleared down the bar. Those were some of the happiest times I had at work, running the shifts with the boys and joking around.
If you ever get need to get a job quickly, go for bar work. Thanks boys for making my long shifts so easy and fun. xxx