Dearest Stephanie,

I am really super mad!

Again.

Still.

This thing happened a while ago, and even though I realize I should let it go, that it’s not a reflection on me (except for maybe it is a little bit), I’m still very angry! See?

😡

And I would like to vent. (Again. Tee hee.)

As I’ve mentioned to you, Asian-Fusion Two was sold, and a new restaurant opened in its place. So Boo and I went to check it out.  Wouldn’t you know it? All the douchebags who so vexed me when I bartended in that same little bar had reconvened.

They recognized and greeted me when I walked in, and you’d think my chilly “oh, hey” would have put them off. You’d think the way I stood as far away from them as possible would communicate to them, I’m not in any way thrilled to see you. Nor do I wish to engage in conversation with you. Apparently, it doesn’t pay to be passive-aggressive.

Because a short while later, I went to the bar to order some food, but because it was so busy, I had to stand there behind thedouchbags while I waited for the bartender (which I totally understand and am sympathetic to, by the way).

Douchebag #1 (turns to Douchbag #2): That woman behind you, she really wants you.

Me (in a loud, authoritative voice that simultaneously expresses shock, offendedness, and disgust): No, I really, emphatically do not.

Douchebag #2: Don’t say that!

Me: I have to say it. I don’t want there to be any confusion.

Douchebag #1 says something, which I can’t remember, and I tell him, “That’s really just so disrespectful.”

The weird thing is that I was kind of consumed with rage. Ha! My disproportionate reaction was almost funny, except that I was really, really mad! How many times do I have to say it, fucktards?

I am not your midlife crisis plaything!

I’m all, Really? You really think you can have this? Because you totally can’t!!! Even though my rational side tells me it has nothing to do with whether or not they actually believe I’m there for the taking. I think what really grosses me out is that they think I am in some way receptive to being co-opted in this kind of banter. Hello out there! I may not be!

I loved when you figured out why corporations love you—it’s your eagerness to please, you theorized. I loved this because it totally provided me insight into my own experience.

Middle-aged men, I think I’ve figured out, love me for the same reason corporations love you. They labor under the delusion that I’m eager to please. Well, for a long time, it wasn’t totally a delusion. I used to be that way, but then I started thinking about it, and I was like, what the fuck?

Clearly, there’s something in my appearance that cries out, “I am pliable and agreeable! I will attempt to meet your every need! I am so sweet, you will need to visit the dentist after spending some time speaking at me! And while we’re on the subject, please tell me your problems! I really, really want to hear them!”

At Starbucks, I’m the first person the middle-aged man looking for a seat will approach. Never mind that empty seats abound. He will inevitably come to my table, where I have engaged a spare chair to prop up my feet, and he will ask me, “Are you using this chair?”

Well, let’s see. My feet are on it, so I think it’s fairly obvious that, yes, I am using it.

But of course I will surrender the chair. I do not point out that there are lots of other empty chairs because I’m not enough of an asshole.

Yet.

The most I can do is look annoyed and surly at being disturbed (even though I’ve already said it doesn’t pay to be passive-aggressive!), which takes the man by surprise pretty much every time so that he wordlessly removes the chair.

As a bartender, I obsess over the way people seem to single me out to take shit. I mean, it drives me crazy! The class of men who sit at the bar and look at me like the leopards at the zoo look at visitors on the other side of the chain-link fence? Aggravating!

“You look so vulnerable and consumable,” the leopards are thinking, and you know they’re thinking this. It’s all telegraphed in their intense stares, in the way they huddle together as if they’re plotting some sort of break out. “You’d just love to be our next meal. You know you do.”

Even when they’re gorging on the raw meat their trainers throw at them (or, in bar terms, sitting at the bar with their wives or girlfriends), they look over at you, blood dripping down their hairy chins. “We would like to devour you. Yum. Yum. You would be so much tastier than this, but alas, the chain-link fence…”

Sometimes, it’s hard for me to come up with the perfectly witty yet slightly cutting response because I’m so distracted by being skeeved out. For emergencies of this kind, I’ve collected a handful of essential, all-purpose phrases, which I will now share with you:

“Haha”

“I don’t know about that”

“Oh, now” or “Oh, you”

“Oh really?”

“Huh” (not to be confused with “Huh?”)

You’re wondering how I put it all together, aren’t you? You’re thinking, Stella, I don’t see how these will all work together. Will you show me?

Of course, love!

Scene: Your bar right around closing time.

Customer: I’m going to Other Bar.

You (having turned your back to do important things with your computer): Oh, really?

Customer (while looking directly at you): Who wants to go to Other Bar?

You (glancing at him over your shoulder): Haha

Customer: What time do you get off?

You (still attending to your oh-so-important computer): Oh, now.

Customer: Come to Other Bar with me.

You (punching away on your beloved computer): I don’t know about that!

Customer: You wanna come to Other Bar with me?

You (leaving the bar area to do important things somewhere else in the restaurant): Haha. No. Thanks though!

Customer slinks off.

I feel like I really accomplished something here. I feel like I’ve been really potentially useful to you, and that feels really satisfying, you know? Being helpful makes me smile! See?

🙂

I feel so much better now!

Love,

Stella

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