The Art of Picking Up A Waitressby Rachel Khona on October 01, 2012
Not in a million years did I think I would be such a hot commodity as when I was waiting tables. No matter that I was the worst server that ever walked planet Earth. I’ve forgotten to put in orders, spilled beer on someone’s head (OK, that one was on purpose), set a spoon on fire, got in an argument with strippers, and once I couldn’t read my own handwriting and confused “salmon” with “saltimbocca”. Oops.
Yet no matter what, men seemed to think it was open season when it came to picking me and my fellow lady servers up. No amount of faux wedding rings or mentions of our boyfriends scared them away. Perhaps it’s the easy accessibility of waitresses combined with the fact that we were there to serve, which broke down the normal social barriers which prevented guys from hitting on women. There’s no need to think of a smart line, an effortless way to introduce yourself, figure out how to steal her attention away from her friends, or find a reason to be in her vicinity.
But just because you’re ready to fish, doesn’t mean she’s going to take your bait. The gulf between friendly banter and getting her number can be vast. Not only have waitresses heard every line in the book, (I once even had a guy send me a note in a purple plastic Easter egg), they are technically getting paid to be nice to you. So does that mean it’s impossible to pick up a waitress? No. But if you don’t wanted to get handed the “rejection number”, (a number we used to give out with a prerecorded rejection), you do need to know what to do and what not to do.
First things first, know that she knows what you’re up to. Your typical waitress has seen it all, so she’s unlikely to take your pick up lines seriously. I’ve heard everything from “Why aren’t you smiling?” to “Where’s your boyfriend?” to “You’re hot, come here.” Um, no thank you, even if you do look like Hot Jesus. Clearly these come-ons are abnormally bad, but even the more subtle ones can turn the object of your affection off. Way off.
Be subtle. Talk to her like a normal person. Remaining warm and friendly, yet polite and respectable is the best way to win her trust. Once when I was waiting tables on a group of guys, one cute doctor in particular made a point of being extra friendly and smiley. He asked me what I recommended on the menu, if I wanted him to beat up the other customers who were annoying me, and how I liked working there. In other words, totally normal convo. So when he asked for my number, I happily obliged.
Another no-no? Don’t leave an excessively large tip. You don’t want her to feel like a prostitute, after all. The only time I was ever OK with a large tip was when I was fully aware the customer didn’t want anything else. Like my regular group of lawyers that I used to wait on. They were loaded and they liked my company so they tipped me well, but that’s as far as it went. So when I got $50 tips after serving one drink, I didn’t bat an eyelash. However if a guy was hitting on me and left me such a ludicrously large tip I would think he’s only after one thing. A thing that he best find on Sunset Boulevard, (i.e. prostitutes).
Speaking of hoes, don’t treat her like one. The amount of men who think female servers are there to answer their every beck and call is larger than one might think. When a guy slapped my ass and tried to kiss me while I was cocktailing, I was wholly appalled. I shoved him and then did what any self-respecting server would do; I grabbed the very large bouncers to take care of business. They promptly picked him up and threw him out of the club in front of all his friends. He then had his asshole ripped by my boss and manger of the club. It wasn’t pretty.
Above all, remember if she rejects your affections, don’t take it personally. It’s her job to be friendly towards you which is not the same as flirting. Her sweet demeanor is just a means for her to make a nice tip and keep the boss happy. So if you’re tempted to be pushy, don’t be. You don’t want to be handed the rejection number.