I’d like to share with this lovely blog another chronicle from the restaurant. There seem to be an epic amount of stories, but the one that stands stark in my mind is from last Sunday Brunch. Now, for anyone who needs a quick catch up, there are two crucial facts that will put this post into context: 1) I work at a restaurant and 2) I am a very chill person.
– there is no room for sexism in this spread
At this particular brunch, I felt an anger that seems unparalleled to any anger I have felt before. It all started when two bros came in. They were tall, broad and attractive. Oh, and another fact, Sunday brunch isn’t just any brunch, it is drag brunch.And the queens love attractive, straight men. So when these two fellows walked in and sat at the bar, it was apparent to the staff immediately that they would play a part in the show. Before the end of the shift, both bros had had their shirts taken off at least once, one of them had walked around shirtless collecting money, and they had also spoken on the microphone about themselves. And though the drag queens may have pushed them to perform, they always had the option to say no.
As a result, every female in the restaurant made a point to go speak to them and flirt and sigh. And the bros drunkenly not only bathed in the attention but encouraged it by talking about their advanced degrees, their fancy jobs and their “construction worker” tattoos. They followed this up with retelling their part in the drag show and how they felt used when collecting money, a few dollars which the drag queen took from them as part of her tip. They asserted that they had only agreed to strut around for money for the hell of it, “not that we needed the money anyway.” And how they had probably been taken to be construction workers from their strong bodies and tattoo (a flowery cross), but actually they didn’t “do those kind of jobs” especially with Masters in math from an Ivy League University.
The icing on the cake was when one of them came up to me and asked to run their cards as quickly as possible because, and I quote, “We are going to go fuck those girls.” He actually asked me to hurry so he could not flirt or go home with, but fuck girls. The bro then said this to me and the bar tender again when he was signing his credit card and then wanted me to high five him. You know, to support his intentions to go fuck.
This encounter left me full of rage and disgust for several reasons. First of which was that these bros had a choice to feature in the show and take their shirts off. They chose to do so. It was sickening to hear them discuss that choice as forced and feeling used. I don’t know their personal histories, but I doubt that either of them knows how it feels to be truly forced to objectify their body for money. Or to be objectified in a way that made them feel abused or uncomfortable the way that men often do to women, for example in the act of catcalling. Their choice to expose their bodies got them the attention – and the girls – they wanted, so in no way were they ever in a position in which they had felt violated. Second, to scorn a job that is not a government job acquired after a graduate degree is demeaning to people who work in those jobs, as well as, extremely patronizing. As a member of the service industry, I am proud of my job and how much I have learned from it. Those lessons would never have come up in a classroom. Therefore, to have these two ignorant bros immediately dismiss anything but the highest caliber of job made me so angry that they could be so disrespectful. Third, I was offended and enraged that one of the bros would a) say the words “fuck those girls” to me who is a complete stranger and a woman, and b) then try to high five me, as if I would ever support the objectification of girls as objects of sexual desire and good only to fuck. I don’t care if he was drunk or not, there is nothing that can condone his words and actions towards me.
However, something that made me even more angry and disappointed was the women’s reaction. They were positively reinforcing the actions and words of the bros (who represented sexism, disrespect and crudeness) by flirting and talking to them. While they could also have been looking to hook up with these guys (which is perfectly fine if that was their intention), it’s silly that they had to overlook the bro’s behavior in order to do so. Questions that came to mind while observing these women’s attitude were: What does that say about how people are socialized about male and female behaviors and the acceptance of that behavior? How much is too much objectification that a woman or man will accept in order to make a sexual or romantic relation? How much obligation do people have (if any) to teach others about stopping possible sexist, racist, homophobic behavior?
My point in sharing this story is not only to rant and curse these bros. It is to state once again that it is NOT OK to act that way. Also, I wanted to show that this kind of sexist behavior happens all the time, in different ways and must be called out. Because if it is left alone, then it will undoubtedly continue. I am sure all of you have been in or observed situations such as this. And although it is highly unlikely either of those bros will ever read this post, I hope that someday they will realize how sexist their actions were and will actually think what impact sexist behavior has on women.