Working in a bar/nightclub has it’s perks; the people, the music, ‘banter’ with customers, tips, making cocktails and all that jazz. However, being female bar staff, everyday sexism is brought to your front door. And MATE, I can tell you how bad it gets for 20 year-old- woman working in a bar.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to put anyone off taking or applying for a bar/nightclub job, if anything I encourage it. Especially my fellow students who are looking for a part time job. My current position as bar staff has been my favourite part time job, I’ve made some awessssome friends and have never had a bad shift. Trust me, go do bar work at least once, just to try it, and I’m 99% sure you’ll like it.
But, females, beware. You will have to prepare yourself for being objectified while you’re working. But do not stand for it. You’re not there to be gawked at, or have rude proposals asked of you, or just being harassed by some customer who is extremely desperate for your number.
One Saturday night, in the heart of Birmingham, there I was in my workplace, pouring a pint of Carling for a reveller. A young man, no older than 21, and about 2 foot shorter than me asking for my number a total 5 times in 3 hours. All we’re rejections, but for different reasons, as I conducted my own sneaky social experiment.
My first answer: *fake gushes/pretends to be really flattered etc* Awh sorry, no… *awkwardly pretends to be needed in the staff room*…
Second answer: ‘ha, awh sorry, you’ve already asked me, the answer is still a no, I’ve got a boyfriend.’
Third answer; ‘haha, sorry, no. I’m really happy with my boyfriend, and no, I do not want a ‘bit on the side.”
Fourth answer; ‘look, I’m not giving you my number. Now, if you don’t mind I’ve got to go collect some glasses.’
Final answer; when I was collecting glasses from the dance floor and booths, carrying 8 glasses stacked in one hand, and a half empty pitcher/partini, this guy asked me once more for my number, without even trying to help me out of my struggle of carrying way too many glasses. He would not let me go anywhere else, while I’m slowly losing grip of everything that was in my hands. The social experiment was pushing my limits with this particular participant. ‘Look mate, the truth is, I don’t think my girlfriendwould be very happy about it. And trust me you’re far from my type.’
His reply? ‘Oh god, I am so so sorry! I won’t ask again.’
My findings: why is no not enough for men? Why do I have to give a reason for saying no? Why do I have to pretend to be gay for guys to leave me alone? Is my 5 year relationship not a good enough reason to say no?
Another example; I was called a. Wait for it. WENCH. It’s 2014. Are you having a laugh? Now, I didn’t take this ‘you’re a good looking wench, you are’ statement too well. But, you know, the customer’s always right… are they???
I did what I do best, get my sass on up. Resting bitch face on, and a turn of the heel, and power walked, pulled a pint, and handed it to him. ‘Good girl’ he said. Pahahahaaaaaaaa, so clever. I smiled, shook his hand, and said, ‘just so you know, if you call me a wench again, I will not serve you, I’ll get you kicked out. If I hear you calling one of my colleagues a wench I’ll make sure you get kicked out too. You’re in 2014, I’m a WOMAN not a wench. I know the confusion, ’cause I can’t figure out if you’re a man or not?’ Cue awkward fake laughter and smiles, and he said no more.
Working in a bar has brought out the feminist in me, it’s brought out a particular attitude in me. I’m sure I’m not the only one too, I’ve heard many a horror story from bar staff. I’m just telling you only a snippet of my experiences.
Even men have sexism thrown at them whilst working in a bar. And sometimes women can be far nastier at times too. Trust me.
I’m just shouting out to my fellow cocktail waitresses, pint pullers, glass collectors, all the crappy cleaning job guys, everyone. Just a reminder, don’t be the basic bitch they think you are. Be the boss bitch. Take the upper hand, remind them that you are providing them a service, you will not be spoken to rudely or harassed. You have the power. We’re not basic bitches. And we are DEFINITELY not wenches.
Cheerio for now!