First off, be not alarmed—I am not an actual slave, nor am I a sex slave. Neither is to be taken lightly or facetiously. The title stems from my melodramatic take on my professional life, which is thus…
I am a bartender. I am a glorified babysitter of adults—selling them poison that turns them into large children (mentally that is; I'm not a witch). I clean up after them, let them tell me what to do, and generally make sure they're having a good time. ‘Cause if they aren't, they fuckin' cry about it. Literally.
What's more is I'm a female bartender. Which, believe it or not, turns my job (and me) into something else entirely to some patrons. Because of my gender (and it doesn't matter what I wear), standing behind a bar and interacting with various men means that to some of them I am now essentially a prostitute. A call girl. An escort. A stripper. A target.
I am easily accessible in all the ways most women on the other side of the bar aren't. In their minds, I'm giving them permission to say or do whatever the fuck comes to mind, be it offensive, disrespectful, obnoxious, or just downright sexist.
That’s not even considering the racism. I'm half black, so some guys say that I'm actually kinda pretty for a black girl. Being able to look past this “handicap” and still wanting to make coitus with me is really progressive. Thanks, guys.
I've been sexually harassed, grabbed, demeaned, offered chances to cheat on my boyfriend (who only exists when I'm working), invited back to hotel rooms, all while simply doing my job. For this type of patron, I am in some way their thing, because they have the money and I'm working for the money. And I have to act how they want me to. Or it might be grounds for a bad Yelp review (Please God, no!).
When I first started, I'll admit I liked the attention. The respect I got from people verbally sucking my proverbial dick to get on my good side (which they still do and I still secretly enjoy now and again), the people paying me compliments and looking at me like I was the prettiest girl there—I ate that shit up.
It oddly made me feel powerful, but only in the ways they wanted me to feel powerful. I dismissed the times it felt invasive or violating because it was nice to feel so wanted, and in such a larger volume than I was accustomed to.
Over time though, I've come to despise the sucking of my dick. I've grown to hate it so deeply that I've compiled letters addressed to each type of idiotic, objectifying, pathetic, ignorant, disrespectful—ugh, the list goes on—customer (and there are quite a few types) I've encountered.
I'm hoping these letters will help them to see their true nature, and maybe help them reevaluate how they interact with all female bartenders, and ultimately women in general.
I'm also writing them because it's funny and cathartic. Because people who act so obnoxiously and even unforgivably at times are (like me) just such easy targets (how does it feel, bitches!?).
What follows is the first in a series of Go Fuck Yourself letters that I will continue to share. This one is addressed to a particularly obnoxious and disrespectful brand of man. Dudes. Bros. Douchebags. Whatever you want a call ‘em.
And don’t think for a second that women will be excluded from this series. There’s a blaring difference in the way each of the sexes approaches me as a bartender. A lot of women also want to feel they have control over me. It's a weird social battle of the sexes I've been watching for the last two years.
Letter No. 1
Dear "I Think I'm Being Cute by Being Rude To Women" Guy,
How did you know I love backhanded compliments from strange people at my place of work? (That's sarcasm.)
We've never met before now, yet so far you've managed to (ever so charmingly) insult my style and express your dislike for how ethnic my hair looks, all without even placing a drink order or saying "hello."
I love how forthright you are (sarcasm, again), and even though you're trying to play on what you may think are my insecurities, you haven't done much more than convince me I shouldn't serve you drinks. Ever.
And when I respond with rightful hostility and vexation at your juvenile approach to socializing with a member of the opposite sex, the fact that you think you're actually getting somewhere with me is laughable. So laughable that I go from laughing, to hating you so much that I can't laugh, to laughing again because I'm so embarrassed for you.
Yes, you have managed to get my attention. We're at a bar and I'm the bartender—it's my job to talk to you. But while you think the way to a woman's panties is through some form of emotionally exciting her, the fact that you've chosen to play off of my negative emotions simply won't work. I know you've probably read a few chapters from The Pickup Artist, and that you've probably mastered all the tips and tricks to the point where you're undeniably sexy to almost all women, but I hate you. Immediately. And emphatically.
It’s not in the "I hate you, and the friction between us makes me just so wet that I have to give in and have passionate hate-sex with you" way; I hate you in the hate way. As in I will literally do everything to avoid you for the rest of my life, because you are so obtuse that it's practically unforgivable. As in I wish I could cut you because you're pissing me off so hard.
I hate you because I become your slave. You are the reason I feel enslaved. I don’t feel this way when my customers are respectful. Being a sexy slave means having to put up with everyone's shit while they constantly try to win me over or socially own me by using my gender against me—belittling me, reducing me to a pretty thing that gives them what they want when they demand it.
I start feeling like a weird little pet that's good at tricks. This sucks even more when I consider how much I love my job.
I'm not flirting with you, I'm not playing with you, I'm not being "feisty" or "sassy" when I tell you you're a moron—I'm telling you the truth about yourself (and you're welcome). I'm working, and I don't have time for your attempts to impress your little friends by verbally abusing me until you feel it's the right time to ask for my number.
Getting the bartender to remember you does work in your favor, if we remember you fondly. Maybe you could just try being courteous and respectful and see how that pans out. But perhaps all the shots of fireball and vodka-red bulls you've chugged with your equally disrespectful “bros” have affected your ability to socialize like a normal human adult.
Due to this fact, I won't expect much more from you than what you've already shown me: a tiny, insecure, and oppressed child.
Even in an interaction so casual and unassuming as giving your drink order to a complete stranger, you've managed to expose your mishandlings of your own emotions and your deep disappointment with yourself. So when I continue to ignore you every time you come into the bar, don't act so damn confused as to why.
The Sexy Slave Behind the Bar