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"Hitting" on the Waitress (server) Is it OK?


Last weekend, I had a wonderful experience with a lovely little waitress!! She was not overly flirty (like the hot bartender in short shorts), but rather extremely knowledgable about food ( major turn on) Durring the couple hours at this place, came to find out we had ALOT of stuff in common.

Now everyone at the table immediately said, too bad she was our waitress you could of asked her out. They all proclaimed , there is nothign worse than a cusomter hitting on you or trying to ask you out. Needless to say I was really bummed out, but plan on going there next and really want to get some others opinions.

  1. Please, just please, do not ask her out while she is working. While you both may have hit it off and while she may have been interested in you, the fact is, she works in customer service. It is her job to keep customers happy. You were her customer. I would strongly suggest you follow her lead. Plus, there is nothing worse or more awkward than being asked out by a customer, especially when you don't feel the same way. Remember, when she is at work,(and to some extent, even when she is not), she are representing the restaurant, and therefore is not fully able to respond as she might want to. I really think your best bet is to hope to run into her someplace else, and see how she acts towards you, but please, try to be very mindful of creepy stalkerish behavior.

    I know it may sound like I am going overboard, but there is nothing worse than being stuck on the floor with unwanted attention. Even wanted attention is tough. There's no place to hide, and to a large extent, a waiter is acting while working, if that makes any sense. It is very hard and somewhat disconcerting to try and mix business with pleasure.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hilltowner

      Great points, and things that MUST be considered.

      I will follow this thread, as I might learn something about single society, now vs what I once knew.


    2. but there is nothing worse than being stuck on the floor with unwanted attention. Even wanted attention is tough. There's no place to hide, and to a large extent, a waiter is acting while working, if that makes any sense.

      As a former waitress, I agree with the above. The females would get hit on and asked out on dates ALL THE TIME. I wore a wedding ring to work and I wasn't the only female that "lied" to the customers about being married.

      But then again, I married one of my customers nearly 20 years ago :) so sometimes asking out the server pays off. (He was a friend of a friend that I never met before that night and he knew I wasn't married.)

      1. If you run into her outside of work, then by all means ask her out. If not, no. Odds are you will just create an uncomfortable situation for her.

        1. The best thing you can do in the situation:
          Casually probe questions w/o ever being to blunt, just to see her reactions.
          "what do you like to do when you're not working"
          "are you allowed to have a drink"
          "whats your favorite food"
          Take notice to her reactions, body language, how she responds, tone of voice....and go from there.
          But yes, tread lightly, over a period of time...

          1 Reply
          1. re: Glutton4Grub

            No,no, no,no. Don't ask her those "casually probing" questions, you stand a large chance of just appearing creepy. I don't know you, but it really doesn't come across well, at least not in print. At the very least it's obvious what you're trying to do and there you are, possibly creating an awkward place for her while she's stuck at work.

          2. I have had many long and short "flings" with many a waitress. Usually, this happens at places where I am a regular, and we usually only get together after many hours talking and hanging out at their place of establishment and/or their post-work hangout.

            That said, flirting is often the name of the game for workers in the service industry. And customers that shadow the servers and give too much attention are absolutely seen as a nuisance. So never do that. You have to establish a good, honest rapport, or else it ain't going down, and it's extremely difficult to do so when the server is working.

            Asking a server out when they are working is poor form, and unlikely to succeed in any case. You are in a client relationship, and her job is to make you happy. Perception in such situations often doesn't match reality. Unless you are able to run into her on an even playing field, off hours, to truly establish a rapport, then I don't think you should ask her out. You'll probably only end up embarassing her and yourself.

            First problem is, even if you do end up talking with her off hours, you are still a prospective client, and reading intentions will remain difficult. Second problem is, unless you are a regular, you aren't going to have a chance to hang out with her off hours, unless she accepts an ill-advised advance while she is working. It's a paradox.

            Long story short: don't be a creep and ask out a server while they are working.

            All of that said, I love servers. Had one over last night, in fact. Laughed when I came to the ch boards today and this popped up.

            1. She's paid to give you a good experience, including building a rapport with you and knowing about the food she's selling you. You risk making her really uncomfortable by reading more into that than intended. If it's a local restaurant, you may get lucky and see her outside work in an approachable situation. But seeking her out is likely to look creepy.

              I'm sorry, but it's not a good idea to do this.

              1. Are you going back to the restaurant primarily to see her again? Or is this a place you might want to eat at regularly? You don't want to burn bridges by making things uncomfortable for future visits, but you also don't want to miss the opportunity to connect with someone who might be special.

                I would write her a note. Tell her what you told us. Tell her you know being hit on at work can be awkward. Keep it short. A long letter will make you sound like a crazy stalker. Ask her to contact you. Hand her the note as you leave. Hope she follows up.

                9 Replies
                1. re: lrhr

                  If she doesn't, you must NEVER EVER go back there. Ever.Again.

                  Passing a note is what a 3rd grader does. Can't tell if you are M or F, but this strikes me as quite ridiculous, childish and would totally turn me off.

                  1. re: thegforceny

                    Well, you are sure entitled to your opinion. I think, given the idea that asking her out at all might make the waitress uncomfortable, this allows her to make her decision and response or lack thereof privately. And I did point out that merely asking could burn bridges for returning to a restaurant.

                    And with a note in his pocket, Augie can judge for himself if a connection is there or not on second meeting. Ask "live" if he feels he has the go ahead.

                    Another option is just to slip her his phone number, which would turn me off as it reeks of 70's single bar "call me, babe" vibe. That might work for others. For me, a straightforward note would have been charming. So would just asking to my face (worked for my husband). But I never waited tables so I didn't have that dynamic to complicate the issue.

                    Nothing works every time for every one in every situation.

                    1. re: lrhr

                      Yeah, I gotta vote no note. It reeks of insecurity and when she doesn't call back it will still be incredibly awkward for you to return.

                      If you're gonna ask, be a man about it.

                      1. re: lrhr

                        Ew, another vote for no note.

                        1. re: lrhr

                          i'm with you on the note. the note can be "hi, no pressure, thought we hit it off, here's my email address, i don't want to make you uncomfortable, so if you're interested in having a conversation when you're not working, drop me a line, if not, don't worry about it, I won't be pestering you." I would find that respectful and honest, and NOT putting her in a position to have to say no. you just have to make sure you don't go back if she doesn't respond. because then you're a creep.

                        2. re: thegforceny


                          I'm glad I didn't have Chowhound to poll about leaving a note in a restaurant for a handsome busboy some 26 years ago...I never would have met my husband!

                          Of course, YMMV.


                          1. re: owen_meany

                            Generally, it's okay for women to leave notes for men. It's not as acceptable for men to do that to women.

                            In regards to Augie's question and not knowing him, guys tend to think more is going on when a waitress is nice and doing her job... some women really know how to flirt.

                            Augie take it slow and don't rush into anything.

                        3. re: lrhr

                          I disagree with everyone saying "no note." When I waited tables if someone left me a well-written, polite, and maybe even funny note, I was perfectly happy. In fact I dated several customers who left notes.

                          Many people do on-line dating -- how is writing a note any worse? Asking in person puts the waitperson in an awkward position; a note does not.

                          Oh, and one guy left me a picture of himself with the note on the back, where everyone else could see it. I don't recommend this line of action, unless you relish the idea of the entire waitstaff laughing their asses off at you

                        4. I married someone who used to be a customer at my old bar.

                          He was crafty though. He didn't ask me out on a romantic date, he asked me if I wanted to go to concert - no romantic overtones, just "hey we both like this music, wanna go to this concert."

                          So I don't think it would be weird to ask her out on a friendly outing involving one of the things you had in common. Just approach it from a frienship kind of place and see where it goes.

                          edit: (Oh yeah, I would do it on your way out, so that there's no uncomfortableness if she says no.)

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: mtoo

                            A former coworker of mine married a guy who'd waited on her. I knew all the details at one time, and this thread has made me wish I could remember them ;)

                          2. As a former server that got hit on ALL the time, do NOT hit on her while she is waiting your table. If you want to ask her out, I would go back to the restaurant, have another meal, be very flirty to get the vibe, pay your check, start to walk out the door, and then turn around and go back very casually to ask her out. Something along the lines of, "Listen, I know you're working, but if you'd ever like to grab a drink sometime, I'd love to take you out." If she's interested, she can give you her number or set a time to meet. If she's not, she can get out of it quickly by saying how busy she is at work right now (don't go during the rush hour). This allows both of you to save face so you don't have to abandon the restaurant all together, and plants the seed in case she's slightly interested but wary of going out with a complete stranger. If she hesitates, take the hint and leave quickly: "No big deal, I just think we have a lot in common. I'm sure I'll see you around again."

                            The only time I ever dated customers is when the above occurred. Anybody that asked me out while I was in the middle of serving got immediately rejected and possibly even switched to another server because I felt awkward. Anybody that couldn't take the hint that I was wary and got pushy got rejected and possibly banned from my area if they creeped me out (I never told them this, just asked the manager not to seat them at my tables.) People that understood the awkwardness of the situation and kept it light got considered, and a few got dates. One or two became close friends, though I ended up marrying a coworker instead of a customer. =)

                            1. This was more of a general question than what I made it seem. This particular girl just made me want to really weigh the options between creep and suave--haha

                              I do agree with the notion that asking any person , especially waitress or bar tender, while they are working is a risky . Like everyone said , they are basicly paid to make you the customer happy.

                              I just never really heard a actual servers opinion on it until now and all seem to be on same page. Although, I would imagine some out there do welcome the attention ? (even though it doesn't seem like if from the responses so far)

                              Not to turn this into a relationship board, there is a huge chace I will see this girl outside of her work. Especially that we now know eachother so I won't be asking her out at work at least ;-)

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Augie6

                                Glad that you'll be seeing her outside work. Hope things work out for you!

                                And as a former bartender -- completely agree that it's a very bad idea asking her out at work.

                                1. re: Augie6

                                  If you know you'll see her outside of work -- godspeed, m'dear. All's fair when she's not at work.

                                  1. re: Augie6

                                    If you can ask her away from work then that's when you do it.

                                    I've asked out my share of waitresses. Most of the time with zero success. However, there were some successful times too. Even dated a waitress for a while. With that one in particular, she was very impressed (if that's the right word) that I made a special trip back just to see her. The second thing that worked well in my favour, it was at a Bar and Grill type place and the first time I'd have a fair amount to drink. I left it alone then and went back when I was sober (she told me that it showed I was "Serious" not just a drunk looking to score). She was definitely happy to see me (that's when I knew I had a green light to proceed) and immediately revealed that I was there to see her. I sat at the bar (she was bartending that day) and ordered a coffee. She even made me a fresh pot. I told her that it seemed like we hit it off and given the initial circumstances were probably a bit inappropriate, I felt like I should return to ask her out. Anyway, I picked a slow time, sat quietly let her work and when she had time, she'd come over and talk. I asked, she accepted. We dated for a while but it didn't work out.


                                  2. Go back some evening, have a drink at the bar, chat with the cute bartender...do NOT order a limp-wristy negroni. When you see your waitress friend, get her attention and just ask. That's it...no line, no angle, just you being you. If she declines, who cares, at least you have the hot bartender to look at, move on to the next chic...there's alot of'em out there!

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                      What's wrong with a Negroni? Its a great cocktail. I've seen plenty of manly types wince when having their first sip. I suppose you think Manhattans are wimpy drink too. Try to have 3 and see how you feel.;)

                                      1. re: Bkeats

                                        Dontcha know real men only drink Coors light?

                                          1. re: linguafood


                                            i'm with Bkeats - Negroni's classy.

                                        1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                          HAHAHHHAHAH... MADE MY DAY READING THIS !!!!

                                        2. No. Never O.K. to hit on your server.
                                          If you see each other outside of the server's work, and you hit it off, that would be different.

                                          1. I think it's strange that so many people are telling you not to do it. My experience working in bars and restaurants is that the employees DO go out with customers. That is, if they are not already dating a coworker.

                                            During my time in the industry, I went on several dates with people who asked me while I was working. Still friends with some.

                                            People ask bar and restaurant workers out all the time. I don't think it's strange. If she's not interested all she has to say is "sorry, I'm seeing someone" and nobody's feeling are hurt. Trust me, she can let you down easy without making you feel akward. I'm sure she's had lots of practice.

                                            13 Replies
                                            1. re: mtoo

                                              "...all she has to say is..." That is the point, she has to say something. No one needs to do that, accept or decline a date, while working. Putting her in that position is not appropriate. She or any other server, is not "up for grabs."

                                              1. re: wyogal

                                                "No one needs to do that, accept or decline a date, while working."

                                                I beg to differ. I am a college professor, and have been quite earnestly hit on (by a student - NOT one of mine) while waiting in the hall while my students filled out evaluation forms. Most of us, regardless of chosen career, most definitely NEED to do that at some point while we are working. Because life is life, and life involves people hitting on other people. Making it more than that is what makes it awkward, not the fact that it happens.

                                                For what it's worth, I politely declined, and I guarantee the student in question has never thought twice about it.

                                                1. re: Wahooty

                                                  No one ever gets over a teacher-crush. Are you crazy? He/she is still pining and running the other way in embarrassment every time they see you. Who are you kidding, Prof. WaHOTty?!?! lol

                                                  1. re: staughton

                                                    I married the Spanish teacher.....

                                                    .....Yes, we have a blackboard and a school desk in the bedroom. LOL

                                                  2. re: Wahooty

                                                    Ok, now I need to reply. I worked as a server in the food industry in my teens and 20s, I'm now in my 40s with a PhD, and have taught university students at an undergraduate and graduate level for years. And, as a woman, I've always taught in a predominantly male environment -- engineering colleges. The power dynamic between a student and TA/lecturer/professor is not the same as the power dynamic between a customer and server. As the lecturer or professor, if a student flirts with me, I have no problem letting down the student and seeing them in class every day; in fact, they are the one likely to be embarrassed. In addition, I have university policies and HR staff and a lot of support if I need help dealing with a student in an uncomfortable (for the student, or me, or both of us) situation.

                                                    Many servers (not all), do not have much in the way of legitimately supportive staff or strong organizational policy that is genuinely practiced to fall back on if the server is in an uncomfortable situation with a customer. In addition, when I was a server I needed (NEEDED) that job, and if a customer chose to make me uncomfortable somehow, believe me, there was not too much recourse for me other than switching tables unless I wanted to make a giant deal out of it. As a server, I was flirted with and asked out frequently, and it ranged from flattering and sweet to icky and stalky situations, but the truth is I never courted or welcomed that at work. Every incident where someone "hit on" me was the customer's misinterpretation out our interaction, which was purely server/customer OR there assumption I was on the menu, too.

                                                    As many people have said in this thread, I do not think asking a server out while they are waiting on you is appropriate no matter how you do it. The server's job is to help the customer have a pleasant dining experience. Unfortunately, customers sometimes confuse that with "wishful flirting."

                                                    Check out the CraigsList " Missed Connections" classified ads in any big city. Many are men placing ads about their favorite barista/server, saying something like..."You laughed when I told a joke," or "You gave me a special smile," and then ask the woman (or man) out via the classified ad. It's hard to make connections with people in life, and lonely people will imagine connections where there aren't any. Often people in the service industry -- who have a job that generally demands one be nice to clients -- are interpreted as offering something to a customer they are not. And then it is (usually) weird, no matter how you dice it, to continue in a professional server/service-client relationship; someone (or both people) will be uncomfortable.

                                                    So you can be literal and sticky about words and say yes, everyone may need to accept or decline a date while working. However, that doesn't mean some job situations are inherently more challenging than others when dealing with the culture of service/customer relationships and the ramifications of working in an industry that often does not support the employee very well if it ever comes down to server's comfort vs. customer.

                                                    1. re: team_cake

                                                      You make some excellent points.

                                                      I was responding to the specific statement I quoted, because I feel a number of the people responding to this thread are misinterpreting the topic at hand and overreacting to it. The OP is not asking if it's ok to make lewd sexual advances to a server. He's asking if it would have been ok to ask for her number or ask her out.

                                                      I do not for one second think my position is the same as the server in question - your point is quite solid there. I was relating my own personal experience in order to demonstrate that asking someone for a number or a date does not necessarily indicate that the apocalypse is nigh.

                                                      My point boils down to this: whether you have a Ph.D. or not, in a service profession or not, you SHOULD be able to say no and walk away - no harm, no foul. I am an idealist that way, and this approach has worked well for me personally and professionally. There are, however, obviously creeps in this world - if someone is crossing the line into harassment, that is obviously not okay, regardless of context. The problem here is that everyone's line is drawn in a different place.

                                                      And this is the point where I mention that I regret ever participating in this thread. By making a conversational point, I have had my morals and professional integrity attacked (not by you - comments deleted long ago) and the thread keeps getting revived long after I had resolved to ignore it.

                                                      Please, CH. Get an unsubscribe feature.

                                                      1. re: team_cake

                                                        Excellently articulated.
                                                        Team Cake, you explain perfectly the inherently unbalanced - even unfair - situation of a service/customer relation. Not every waitress feels free to tell off a customer or make a complaint. It depends on many things that have nothing to do with her. It often depends on the restaurant, the culture, etc.

                                                        And unmistakbly, this thread also shows that many men do imagine that the hitting-on is flattering and welcomed, instead of making one wince.

                                                        1. re: team_cake

                                                          I think Team_Cake's post is one of the best pieces of writing I have read on this topic. It underscores the need for people to understand that the answer should always be NO. Servers need their jobs and usually have very weak or non-existent recourse. Please, above all, respect the servers. It's a demanding job as it is, and hitting on them can only make it worse.

                                                            1. re: rockandroller1

                                                              I really cringe at the thought of men hitting on waitresses or anyone whose job it is to serve. If you are a young and attractive woman (as I was a long time ago!), it is annoying to have to deal with men who think they are waaay more charming and desirable then they really are.

                                                          1. re: team_cake

                                                            Interesting perspective, and thank you for sharing it.

                                                            As I have mentioned, elsewhere in this thread, I am one of the last people to think about hooking up with any server, as I have been happily married for decades (won't mention how many, as that might reflect negatively on my young wife's age). However, I often have great conversations with my female servers, young or old, and some might consider our repartee as "flirtatious, but they are ONLY friendly. I proudly wear my rather large wedding band, and if the discussion progresses very long, my wife usually comes up along the way. In all of my years, I do not believe that any female server (and no male servers) ever expected anything to "progress." I certainly know that I never have. Those conversations are always light, never ribald in any way, and hopefully just friendly. Still, someone two tables over, might think them to be flirtatious, in some way.

                                                            Now, were I younger, single, lonely, then maybe things might be different, but as I consider my food service to be a professional contract, I highly doubt that I would ever "hit" on my server.

                                                            Maybe I should just count my blessings, and admit that I might not understand the way things are now?

                                                            Going way back, a slightly older and respected co-worker mentioning that he did not have a date for an upcoming party. I mentioned an attractive waitress, where we often ate breakfast and many lunches. He smiled, and pulled me aside, then whispered in my ear, "If I knew her outside of her job, that would be a good idea, but we both only know her as our waitress." It took a moment for his comments to sink in for me, but I remembered them, almost 50 years later. He made a good point.


                                                        2. re: mtoo

                                                          I think that folk are commenting on their personal experiences, and on their personal thoughts. For them, and a few others, the feeling is that it is not appropriate. For others, that is not what they believe. Such is life - such is society.

                                                          Until we hear from the particular young lady, we will just never know. She might well weigh in on one side, or the other. Until then, it is just speculation, and offering up our feelings.


                                                        3. I am another one for the "no" camp. I am a VERY good at acting like I am interested in someone, whatever it takes to make them feel welcome and if they want to tip well, fine by me.

                                                          What I would do is go back and specifically do NOT sit in her section. Like as someone else suggested, go back and sit at the bar. If you want to go there a few times and then she is working when you are there and she gives you the eye, then yes, you could ask her if it's during a slow period and when she is not busy. But I would never go back and have her wait on me again if I were interested in her. Otherwise you are just continuing to perpetuate the customer relationship.

                                                          If you go back to the bar and she clearly has seen you and is not interested, don't make an ass of yourself trying to overtly make sure she knows who you are; believe me, she does. If she doesn't seem to make excuses to come by and say hello, finish your meal and move along.

                                                          1. Why not? If you ask in a nice and non-threatening way the absolute worse thing that can happen is she says no. If she says no; leave it alone, pretend it never happened should you see her again.

                                                            6 Replies
                                                            1. re: kengk

                                                              Why not? Because nobody should have to deal with unwanted sexual advances, including requests for dates, in the workplace.

                                                              1. re: mattwarner

                                                                seriously? I bet many couples have met at work, probably more so than through friends or at parties and so on.

                                                                1. re: smartie

                                                                  the op does not work with the server.... he is a customer! this is like a client coming on to her/his lawyer or someone going into a gas station and hitting on the person behind the counter, etc. potentially very awkward, certainly inappropriate, annoying and disruptive for other customers, ticks off the boss.... etc.

                                                                  and yes, for all we know the server is indeed dating a co-worker, and the op is proposing coming on to her in front of her significant other and the rest of their work group/peers. this goes on all the time in hospitality, too.

                                                                2. re: mattwarner

                                                                  Nobody should have to deal with unwanted sexual advances ANYWHERE, including the workplace. Asking someone out on a date is not an "unwelcome sexual advance". It is a polite inquiry.

                                                                  1. re: 2roadsdiverge

                                                                    t h a n k y o u .

                                                                    just remember to keep it polite.

                                                                    1. re: 2roadsdiverge

                                                                      We've become so hypervigilant and reactionary, everything has become "sexual harrassment."

                                                                3. DO IT!
                                                                  "you only make the shots you take." -unknown

                                                                  if you only read one reply, LET IT BE THIS ONE.

                                                                  Joe Fresh here, from Toronto Canada. Somebody who lurks on chowhound made me aware of this thread by calling me up and saying "you've gotta tell the original poster your secret!" So here it goes, take every character in as if it were gold.

                                                                  I was in your same predicament about a year ago. I was enjoying a good time with some chums at the Jack Astors in the entertainment district and had a good rapport with the waitress. I knew I wanted to see her again, but I wasn't about to stake out the jack astors for the next month (come on guys, be proactive and efficient; study smarter not harder.) So I set it up like this, and it was a slam dunk. Firstly, my friends told me at the table it was impossible to pick-up a waitress. That added fuel to the already burning desire of going on a date with this beautiful woman. Rule number one, think positive... and use any negative comments from your friends as motivation to succeed.

                                                                  This is how I performed the slam dunk: I picked up the tab using my credit card. This was important as it put me in control of the situation... I knew I had about 30 seconds to turn "nothing" into something. While the wireless handheld debit machine was "doing its thing," we had all the time in the world to chat because she was staring into the screen waiting for the "APPROVAL" message to ring through. I took charge and told her this: "hey I know this is a bit random but I have 2 tickets to the Toronto FC game on wednesday, my friend just bailed at the last second. Care to join me?" This put her in a split second decision, and after slight hesitation the answer was yes. As the machine was printing out the receipt, I had her write down her cell# on the backside of the receipt. I got home thinking I might have gotten a fake number, but when I called it the next day she was happy to hear from me. Once we confirmed the date, I had to find 2 tickets to the Toronto FC game STAT.

                                                                  Turned out to be the most fun I've ever had. We went on a couple of dates, and eventually I asked her if she often went on dates with customers. Her answer was no, that usually they're all belligerent and falling over her while they attempt to ask her out. In her own words: it can be quite insulting. But she said I was different. Little does she know that I was pretty hammered myself that night, but us irish are good actors.... and I played it cool.

                                                                  The fling didn't last more than a couple of dates, but it was damn well worth it. I've had friends use my technique with fairly good success, but there are some important factors to take into consideration:

                                                                  1.) the event has to happen in the next couple of days, don't leave her hanging more than a week or else she'll either forget about you or reconsider the entire scenario.

                                                                  2.) be RELAXED and at ease when pulling this off. I was casual, with the attitude of "i don't really care if you say yes or no."

                                                                  3.) if she makes up an excuse, that the event conflicts with school or something else, at least try and get her number regardless. persistence will pay off. You don't get anything in this world by sitting on your butt.

                                                                  4.) if she flat out says no, show some respect and move on. she might already be in a relationship. don't take it personal.

                                                                  5.) don't be the guy at 2am who is just trying to "get lucky." Or at least make sure you're not slurring your words when you ask her out.


                                                                  -figure out some event that is going on and put the waitress in a situation where she has to make a quick yes/no decision

                                                                  -remain cool calm and collected

                                                                  -if she makes an excuse at least try and get her number

                                                                  stay fresh my fellows,
                                                                  -Joe Fresh

                                                                  10 Replies
                                                                  1. re: joefreshh

                                                                    um, yeah. something to bear in mind is that there is often a camera trained on the server's station/credit card machine, and if the server's boss/mgr sees her giving a customer her phone # -- or behavior that looks like she is picking up or even *soliciting*... she could be shitcanned for it. don't get the sever backed into a corner where she can't be a professional no matter what, and she could even lose her livelihood... fook's sake. if she has self-respect, she won't date a person who doesn't treat her with respect.

                                                                    the op stated that he's got a good chance of encountering the server when she's not at work, like--not at her place of employment, not under the eyes of her supervisors or co-workers.... fantastic! that way he can freely walk up to her, re-introduce himself and start talking food/restaurants, yay. going off of her general warmth/enthusiasm during the convo, he can easily segue into "hey i didn't want to be 'that guy' who tries to ask you out while you're working... but would you be interested in trying that new festival of food trucks thing with me?"

                                                                    there are at least 12 very good reasons that a server, any server, will say "no" to a customer, any customer, who hits on her/him while s/he is working. ask the lady out when she's *not* working and you will help your own chances exponentially.

                                                                    1. re: joefreshh

                                                                      so....your advice is to do like you did -- hit on the girl while she's working, you're drunk, and your buddies are questioning your masculinity.


                                                                      Hitting on someone while they're working is right up there with pinching bottoms and calling them "honey". Antiquated, sexist, and rude.

                                                                      1. re: joefreshh

                                                                        Joe has some good advice mixed in with his Irishness. (I'm of Irish descent myself.) I agree that it's better to wait and ask her out when you see her someplace else. But the idea of asking her to a specific event at a specific time is always a good approach. It leaves each person room to exit gracefully. Regarding Joe's item 3 above, if she makes an excuse, but she is interested, she will suggest getting together another time, and offer her number. If she doesn't, she is not interested. But you've saved face and you can encounter her again without embarrassment.

                                                                        1. re: joefreshh

                                                                          "I set it up..."
                                                                          "it put me in control of the situation..."
                                                                          "I took charge..."
                                                                          "Little does she know..."
                                                                          "If she makes up an excuse..."
                                                                          "persistence will pay off..."
                                                                          "put the waitress in a situation where she has to make a quick yes/no decision"

                                                                          You know, I've found the most fulfilling relationships and friendships I've ever had come from treating people like equals and not playing mind games with them. You should try it some time.

                                                                          1. re: DunkTheBiscuit

                                                                            yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes! and yes!

                                                                            1. re: DunkTheBiscuit

                                                                              And even less shallow than that--if you are attracted to someone, their attention is flattering. If you are not, it's creepy.

                                                                              If she flat out says no or "makes up an excuse" she's not interested in you.

                                                                              1. re: DunkTheBiscuit

                                                                                You put your finger right on it. I knew reading that made me feel like a meaty piece 'o mannequin for a reason.

                                                                              2. re: joefreshh

                                                                                Wow. You should seriously consider getting your own TV show. I mean, the pick-up artist isn't on anymore, right? Right?

                                                                                1. re: thegforceny

                                                                                  well, i disagree w Joe, but he's right on topic, per op... on a "Not About Food" topic.

                                                                                  i also don't think Joe wrote his post to be intentionally offensive (which is different than saying folks necessarily aren't, or shouldn't be, offended)... it's clear that many folks in the thread think that servers are "fair game." the power dynamic is a little problematic for me and maybe others who have ever worked in a service role.

                                                                                  i also think many people are socialized so that their viewpoint is: bars or lively night spots are FOR "picking up" potential dates/flings, therefore any person (including staff) inside such an establishment should be "available," and any personal interaction within these establishments (including friendly service/conversation) is "flirting." add a couple of beers, and someone who wouldn't think of hitting on a librarian or hotel concierge or lawyer or copy center clerk or whomever while s/he is at work, is suddenly leering at the service staff.

                                                                                  from my own perspective as a bartender, pretty much any dude who hit on me while i was working got a reflexive "no." i probably would have answered several of them differently if circumstances had been different and i hadn't been working, but they were sort of automatically jerkwads for... hitting on me while i was working, so no redemption there.

                                                                                  one of my regulars when i was 23 yrs old was a biker guy in his 40's, who was missing his front teeth. every day he would ask, conversationally: "can we have thex?" every day i would reply in the negative. he wasn't such a bad guy, i actually remember him fondly... but cocktail servers and bar staff actually pretty much get hit on constantly because people see them as *accessible/available.* chances are that would-be don juan's "best ever" pick-up line is something the server has heard and rebuffed a hundred times, and flirtatious attention paid, will not be flattering to her/him, it will be annoying.

                                                                                2. If you ask her out, remember not to cross the line into creepy territory, because if it goes bad, she can mess with your food...

                                                                                  1. Nah. Gauche. It's like dogs chasing cars. You may catch a few, and all you get is a face full of chrome.

                                                                                    1. Ah man, I wish that I knew you so I could tell you if you're creepy or not! I'm honestly surprised at all of the "no" answers. Society is so milquetoast these days. I say go for it! It's all in the approach. Thursday has sound advice. Please report back and don't leave us hanging! Oh, and definitely NO NOTE.

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Mattkn

                                                                                        it's not that society is milquetoast - it's that we've finally progressed to a point that we have realized that the service industries are not fresh meat waiting for your consumption and who deserve to not have to put up with drooling and pawing to make a living.

                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                          Lol, yeah, because my response totally implied that he throw that little server over his shoulder and stomp out while high fiving the other patrons. "Me man, you little woman!" Add in a chest thump while you're at it.

                                                                                          I think Thursday's suggestion is totally appropriate. In another forum, I would argue that society is increasingly milquetoast. I will concede that asking her out while she is not at work is preferable. However, if that wasn't possible I see no harm in asking in a non-cheesy (i.e. Not joefresh) or creepy way.

                                                                                      2. Don't get me started on waitresses who hit on their customers.

                                                                                        1. Reading all the 'no - never!' responses, I'm reminded of the old Chris Rock joke:
                                                                                          "If my dad hadn't sexually harassed my mom 30 years ago, I wouldn't be here.'

                                                                                          That said, if you have a way to ask someone out while she's not at work - if you see her around elsewhere - then that's a better option. But if the only way you'll see her is while she's at work, then take a shot. Just put yourself in her shoes and make it easy for her to say yes and feel good about it - be friendly and laid-back; don't put her on the spot in front of her coworkers or a crowd of patrons; don't ask her out when she still has two more courses to serve you - actually, you're probably best off waiting until after the check has been taken care of, if possible; if you're funny, make her laugh - all that stuff.

                                                                                          You'll probably get shot down more often than not. No big deal. Don't make her feel bad for it and don't feel too bad about it yourself. But relationships have started in worse circumstances, and you'll never know if you don't give it a try.

                                                                                          1. 42 years ago I was with a group dining at a hotel table in the catskill mountains. One of the young ladies in our group mentioned to me that she thought the wqaiter was cute and would like to get to know him. She was far too embarrassed to speak to him directly, but continued to make eye contact throughout a long dinner. After dinner the group went to the nightclub and I returned to the dining room (I told the others I'd left my glasses behind). I saw the waiter cleaning up and resetting his station for breakfast. I approached him and started a friendly conversation. I said I noticed that he and the young lady sitting next to me seemed to have made a connection during dinner and was he interested in meeting her. He explained the hotel party wouldn't let him date guests (other guests might feel slighted), so I said give me your number and I;ll contact you back in the city.
                                                                                            After Labor Day, I called him and found out he was a senior at Columbia, the young lady was a Junior at Barnard and definitely geographically desirable. I made the connection, they started dating, married the following June and have been together more than 40 years.

                                                                                            Sometimes, it's better to have a proxy make the inquiry.

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                Your handle should be wingman01.

                                                                                                1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                  And you are Uncle bagelman to their kids. Love this story!

                                                                                                2. No, not only is it not ok, it is low class. While I'm sure your not the typical businessman having a three martini lunch and slapping the cocktail waitress on the behind, That is the picture your question brings to mind.

                                                                                                  1. After having read all the responses so far, I can't help but wonder whether they'd be similar if genders were reversed,.

                                                                                                    I quite vividly recall a waiter at a resto in Berlin flirting A LOT with both my girlfriend and me (now mind you, Germany's one of them tharr civilized countries where people make a decent living waiting tables & don't have to stoop to levels of obsequiousness in order to get enough tips so they can make the rent).... and we ended up chatting a bit after he was done working.

                                                                                                    I think my friend ended up leaving her phone number and a note saying "i was the salad, not the turkey" which I think is hilarious to this day. He never called, but we've been back a couple of times since and have to laugh about it still.

                                                                                                    So -- gender or cultural (Europe vs. US) difference, what do youz think?

                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                      I had a similar thought, lingua. Gender differences and expectations. The few times we've gotten bad bar service, it's always been a male bartender who's found a group of hotties hanging on his every word. They think they're getting free drinkies (and probably are), he thinks he's getting some *meowrr scratch hiss* (and probably not). The bad service becomes amusing cabaret.

                                                                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                        When I was in college, my gorgeous blonde roommate and I went to Europe when we were 18. I remember vividly the night we went to an Italian restaurant in London where the waiters kept coming by our table and dropping notes in her lap and then standing across the room and mooning at her. When we got up to leave a drunk man knocked over a chair, which landed on my foot and really hurt. All the waiters came running over...to see if my roommate was ok!

                                                                                                        1. re: escondido123

                                                                                                          Reminds me of the Saturday Night Live skit where a couple goes to an Italian restaurant, and the staff get increasingly forward with the female customers. They start with sticking tongues in ears, all the way to full-on sex on the tables. Wife thinks it's sweet, and indicative of their culture. Husband has had enough, drags his wife out of there, she says "Where will we eat then?" Husband: "How about that Greek place over there?"

                                                                                                      2. I will admit to being old and probably out of touch with today's mores. However; I don't see the problem with a friendly and polite "would you like to go out with me some time". If she says no, then anything further becomes an unwanted advance.

                                                                                                        I agree with previous posts that just because a waiter is being friendly doesn't mean they "like" you and would assume the probability of being turned down to be rather high.

                                                                                                        1. Well, while I "flirt" with many waitresses, plus flight attendants, I would never think of extending anything, beyond the immediate situation. Of course, I have been happily married for 42 years, so that might have something to do with it.

                                                                                                          Let's say that I was single, and found a "fellow traveler" serving me, then I would hand her my card, and express my interest, but only AFTER that meal. I would never [have] talked about social things, while I was being served. Given this "day and age," I would probably ask that if there WAS any attraction, that she call my service, and then I would get back to her.

                                                                                                          Still, for me the whole thing would seem awkward, but then times have changed in 42 years.

                                                                                                          Good luck,


                                                                                                          1. I was hit on pretty substantially during a shift. Sad thing was, my husband and best friend had decided to come in to the restaurant to eat. The dude was really nice, but it made me extremely uncomfortable. Even if my husband hadn't of been there I would have been uncomfortable. It wasn't that he wasn't good looking, friendly, funny or that we didn't have any commonalities, it just was too aggressive. Plus, and obviously, I am married, and happily so. If you see her out and about, and it works in a separate setting, ask her then, but don't ask while she's at work, it's inappropriate.

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: LN2008

                                                                                                              It has got to be tough today.

                                                                                                              I often have "hot" servers, and all are very friendly, BUT, that is always where it ends. I am also friendly, but only for that moment. It is about enjoying the moment, the food, the wine, etc., but NOT about anything else. I do not care, whether it is at a restaurant, in-flight, or elsewhere, I am happily married, and am not looking for anything else.

                                                                                                              Other, however, might not feel the same way. That is their issue, and that of any server.

                                                                                                              I want great service, great food, great wine, and fun, in the whole event. I do not want to ever go beyond that.

                                                                                                              Now, were I a lonely person, in need of companionship, things might well be different, but I cannot personally relate to that, as I have not been there for over 45 years. Guess that I just cannot relate.


                                                                                                            2. There are also times it backfires...

                                                                                                              many years ago, my sister and I went to a party - she was charmed by a handsome young man with a dreamy Australian accent. They were inseparable that evening, and he asked for (and she gave him) our number just before she and I left for home.

                                                                                                              never heard from him, much to her huge disappointment.

                                                                                                              About two weeks later, I went out to dinner with my folks (she wasn't with us for some reason) -- and who should be the waiter but the handsome young man! It was all I could do not to laugh out loud when he approached the table, and he went crimson when he realized I recognized him -- and lo and behold, NO ACCENT.

                                                                                                              I kept peppering him with questions about Australia and what restaurants are like back home, and does he have a girlfriend, because I'd love to introduce him to my sister -- he was visibly squirming and my folks were looking at me like I'd lost my mind. They were highly amused when I told them who he was (she'd gone on about him for several days after the party) .

                                                                                                              Sometimes revenge is sweet, even when it's extracted for someone else's benefit!

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                Cute story. You were the boomerang that DID come back!

                                                                                                              2. Waaaay back in the day when I waited tables I was hit on by a very famous golfer whom I'm watching right now... he's at the top of the leader board at Augusta and though when I see him, we laugh about it...but I think overall, it's not a good thing to do..

                                                                                                                You'll impress her by not asking her out..

                                                                                                                1. Tred carefully and I agree with the returning and sitting at bar strategy.

                                                                                                                  I had an older gentleman interested in me. I met him at a produce market near where I worked. I was married and thought he was sweet and harmless. I was totally not interested. He asked if I worked in the neighborhood and I did so I named the bakery where I worked. It so happened that I switched jobs a couple weeks after and when he came to "visit" I was gone. People who worked there let him know where I went and one day he showed up at my new job with a huge bouquet of flowers.

                                                                                                                  Just so happened it was my day off. He gave them to a co-worker to give to me - who just so happened to be my wife of ten years. She came home with the flowers wanting to know why some old guy was giving me flowers. I called him (he left his number) to thank him for the flowers and set him "straight" - unbelievably he didn't "mind" that I was someone and still wanted to go out. Had to be a bit more firm and that was the end of that.

                                                                                                                  1. I WOULD LIKE TO THANK EVERYONE ... I really enjoyed all the replys and great to hear everyones point of view.

                                                                                                                    While I typcially agree that hitting on the staff is a bad move, for a lot of different reasons. I REALLY REALLY liked the "Sitting at the Bar" move.

                                                                                                                    As for this particular lady, I did manage to see her last weekend...She is a really nice girl and also had a nice boyfriend--hahah , but she does have a sister who is in culinary school!!! Doors open and close all the time

                                                                                                                    1. I'm going to disagree with most of you. I was at dinner with a friend tonight, two guys, no wedding rings. The server we had was definitely working the tip, flirting, bending down close to explain the menu. Did it make us uncomfortable? Not really. Was it inappropriate? Possibly, but we obviously weren't objecting. Should I be able to enjoy my dinner without the distraction of a motivated server shamelessly throwing themself at me - if for no reason other than wanting to be sure we had a good time? Probably. But if she - or he - can flirt then I think I should be able to toss my hat in the ring and see if it could go further after the shift is done.

                                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                        Nick Cage married his waitress from a sushi place. But he's rich and famous, so guessing he's more entitled than we poor slobs.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Leonardo

                                                                                                                          Hahaha, yep.

                                                                                                                          And if we live in a world where a presumably straight waiter (he kept mentioning his one year old child) can "work it" for two guys he perceives (rightly or wrongly) to be gay in order to get a better tip, then i should get to ask him out. Had I been on a date with the other man it could have been quite uncomfortable. As it was we are just good friends and were amused by the whole thing.

                                                                                                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                            Until this reply, I had imagined something totally different. "Look how wrong you can be." Rod Stewart - Every Picture Tells a Story. "The women that I have known, I wouldn't even let tie my shoes... "

                                                                                                                            Interesting story.


                                                                                                                            1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                              Until you clarified, I had no idea that it was a male waiter who was flirting with two presumably gay customers, which I think was your intention ("themself").

                                                                                                                              I go to a lot of places where the wait staff tries really hard to be flirty and familiar, obviously in an attempt to get tips. Getting asked out is the price they pay for the higher reward of bigger tips.

                                                                                                                              1. re: 2roadsdiverge

                                                                                                                                I was deliberately vague at first, because it really doesn't matter if it was a man or a woman server. The server was flirting quite aggressively, we weren't objecting. Neither of us was interested in a date with said server - for whatever reason(s), but as you said, I would have trouble understanding why the server would be offended by a POLITE invitation if one or the other of us had been interested.

                                                                                                                            2. re: Leonardo

                                                                                                                              I'm not entirely sure that Nick Cage really makes that great of a benchmark for admirable (or even normal) behaviour.

                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842


                                                                                                                                Let's just say that he's never been MY "role model," but who knows? Maybe he's ahead of the curve.


                                                                                                                          2. Everyone really said too bad you could of?
                                                                                                                            Maybe two tacky moves make a positive.

                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: Parigi

                                                                                                                              Could *have*. Just like in French.

                                                                                                                            2. I'm a little late to the discussion, Augie6, but my advice is this: only listen to the people who've waited tables and have been hit on--NOT the dorks who've nailed a few waitresses and think they're cock of the walk for shooting a fish in a barrel. Sorry, no offense to my legions of fellow servers, but some of them were reeeeeal sluts along the way.

                                                                                                                              I waited tables for years, and there are a variety of people who flirt with you, ranging from the manipulative ***** who's trying to make his/her date jealous to someone who wants a discount to someone who's head-over-heels in love and has a ring in their pocket. My advice to you is this:

                                                                                                                              a.) NEVER mistake the attention you're getting from a server as interest in you personally. If he/she is giving everyone else the same smile and extra care, then it's not really about YOU, is it?

                                                                                                                              b.) Don't make your move when she (in your case) is swamped at work. Try to find a not-so-busy time to go in if you want to make small-talk and "get to know her"--but never make her feel cornered. Better yet, since you have so much in common, suggest doing one of those shared interests together and move it out of the workplace ASAP, so you can get an understanding of the "real her". Any server who's really interested would MUCH prefer it if you did, believe me. Don't stalk her at work for weeks on end. That is the MOST wrong thing you can do. And I don't know WHERE these other people on here think you're going to ask her out if not at work, unless you live in a town of 153 people and you're running into her at the Piggly Wiggly a few times a month. Find a discreet time and way to do it, and NOT in front of other people, which would be the SECOND MOST wrong thing you could do.

                                                                                                                              c.) Think about how much you like this place in the event that things don't work out. I've had minor server-crushes that were not nearly as intense as my love for the food served at the restaurant where they worked. Do you REALLY want to make your future visits there miserable?

                                                                                                                              Good luck.

                                                                                                                              26 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: staughton

                                                                                                                                <<a.) NEVER mistake the attention you're getting from a server as interest in you personally. If he/she is giving everyone else the same smile and extra care, then it's not really about YOU, is it?>>

                                                                                                                                That is a good one, and well worth mentioning. The same goes for many other encounters. Being nice does not constitute that someone wants to "have your baby."

                                                                                                                                Maybe I am just jaded, or perhaps comfortable with my life, but I am very friendly with many of my servers, and also the cabin-crew on many of my flights. I only try to see that they are having a great evening, whatever, and are having fun too. That usually translates to them helping ME have a good time, and fun along the way. Usually, my young wife is sitting next to me, or across the table, and she's heard almost every variation of each "line," that I have, but enjoys it, when the server (restaurant, or airline) laughs. She also wants everyone to be having fun. When they sneak a bottle of Champagne into my hands, as we deplane, my wife knows that she'll share that bottle, when we get to our hotel.

                                                                                                                                I see nothing wrong with "flirting," but may be missing something, as I am happily married. It is only about fun for us.


                                                                                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                  "I see nothing wrong with "flirting," but may be missing something"

                                                                                                                                  Maybe, but please help me since English is not my mother tongue.
                                                                                                                                  The OP specifies "Hitting on". I thought that was not the same as flirting. So are those two terms interchangeable?
                                                                                                                                  Are you saying you and/ your wife were hit on by, and were hitting on, the waitstaff, and it is all socially acceptable or even desirable?

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Parigi

                                                                                                                                    No, Parigi, you're right on -- "flirting with" and "hitting on" is not the same thing.

                                                                                                                                    Flirting is okay - "hitting on" is not.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                      To borrow from another activity, flirting is like innocuous catch and release, whereas hitting on is more like an attempt to catch and then stuff and mount.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                          Great analogy. That is one that I would never have thought of, but is great, none the less.

                                                                                                                                          Thank you,


                                                                                                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                              I deduced that "hitting on" is goal-oriented, and flirting is not. :-)

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Parigi

                                                                                                                                                Yes, I can see definitions that way - though for some, things might vary a bit?

                                                                                                                                                Good observations,


                                                                                                                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                  Thank you, sunshine and Veggo, for your enlightenment. I don't want to go around announcing that I like to hit on everybody.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                    dang Veggo you, uh 'nailed' that distinction. flirting is just friendly banter IMHO. hitting on has a specific goal.

                                                                                                                                                    back to an earlier point, leaving contact info is OK - they can act or not as seen fit, asking for the server's is not and borders on weird.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                      Hill Food,

                                                                                                                                                      A worthy distinction.


                                                                                                                                                2. re: Parigi

                                                                                                                                                  I agree that "flirting" is not quite the same as "hitting on," but then, there can be degrees, and also personal differences.

                                                                                                                                                  For me, "hitting on," translates to asking one for a date, or similar, where "flirting" is much more casual, and, at least in my case, there is nothing to come, later on. I can flirt with a flight attendant, even if my wife is at my side, but it is very casual, with absolutely nothing to follow, other than a smile.

                                                                                                                                                  Others might have totally different definitions, but I cannot speak for them.


                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                    Also, you can "flirt" with someone with whom you are already in a relationship. You can't exactly "hit on" them.

                                                                                                                                                3. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                  I think you hit upon a crucial factor in all this flirting with/hitting-on servers when you mention that you want them to be "having fun too". It's a job. Customers are rarely the source of servers' fun. This notion that someone who has to smile and be accomodating while simultaneously juggling the needs of 20-50 people is "having fun" diminishes what these people do for a living. It would also appear to justify--at least in many customers' heads--treating them like toys, in and out of the restaurant. It's actually one of the more stressful jobs out there (I said stressful, not difficult or requiring extensive education), according to psychologists.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: staughton

                                                                                                                                                    Yes and perish the notion that anyone should ever enjoy their job. My job involves saving lives, and you bet we laugh and smile several times daily. And yes (shudder), if anyone helps my "fun" we are grateful. We had better laugh. If we didn't we'd burn out and self-destruct. Servers who approach their work with grave seriousness need to get over themselves. They aren't first-responders or ER personnel.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Leonardo

                                                                                                                                                      Good point. My wife is in healthcare, and while one of the few departments, that she did not work in, was ER, she will tell you the same thing - whether NICU, Cardio-ICU, or elsewhere - humor is what gets many through some very, very tough times. She still ascribes to that, even though she's been in administration for over 20 years.

                                                                                                                                                      The flight attendants, who I make laugh, have serious jobs, and often with few, if any "thank yous." If I can brighten their flight, they usually reciprocate. As I fly about 2 weeks per month, I love a great flight.

                                                                                                                                                      With servers, some might wonder why a diner gets their food with perfect timing, and every dish served with precision. They might wonder why one table seems to have the sommelier hovering over them, when their wine glasses are empty. They might wonder why servers seem to smile at some diners, but not at others. It could well be about fun.


                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Leonardo

                                                                                                                                                        Maybe you should have some of your EMT buddies take that twisted knot out of your knickers. Yes, and perish the notion that any lowly little waitperson is doing anything as important or taxing or serious as whatever you do (shudder). I just said that customers shouldn't treat servers like toys. I never said anything about not enjoying the job or never having fun or approaching it with grave seriousness. I doubt if I'm the only one who would choose the focused grave server over the flighty "fun" flirt in a restaurant where I'm spending a lot of money or when there's a time constraint.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: staughton

                                                                                                                                                          Nope, I'll take the one over there with the swag and a smile every time.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: staughton

                                                                                                                                                            yea, I'm with sunshine on this. so long as both are competent and doing a good job I'll pick the fun one every time. i don't find fun and competent to be mutually exclusive.

                                                                                                                                                            now i do admit that how the 'fun' is expressed is very different at We Are Pizza vs. Chez Chequebook, but there is still room for some discrete fun.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                              Actually, and in very general terms, I usually find the "fun server," to be the better. The moody, stiff and indignant one is usually "elsewhere," at least in their mind.

                                                                                                                                                              Naw, life is short, and should include fun.


                                                                                                                                                        2. re: staughton

                                                                                                                                                          Oh, if patrons are not a source of a server's fun, then you have never dined with me.


                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                            I usually end up with hugs to our busser, wait staff, chef and hostess...speaking Spanish and laughing and scratching.

                                                                                                                                                            I can't wait to dine with the beloved Hunt's...some day.
                                                                                                                                                            ; -)

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                                                                                              Somehow, we WILL make that happen!

                                                                                                                                                              Hope that the "charm" is still working then.

                                                                                                                                                              Not being fatalistic, life is too short to NOT have fun. I want all around me to be having fun. That often (though not always) translates to a better dining experience. Same with flying, which is not that much fun, any longer - for us, the travelers, or for the cabin-crew, who are often flying more legs, and dealing with all sorts of "stuff." While I expect a lot, most cabin-crews are never the target of my anger, or frustration, and they should never know how badly my flights have gone.

                                                                                                                                                              They are all people, interacting with people. I try to give all the ultimate respect, state my needs clearly, and then have fun.


                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                                                                                          Being a parrothead I appreciate the joke,but those are buffetts, not buffets.

                                                                                                                                                      1. NO NO NO NO NO NO.

                                                                                                                                                        1. no. it's not. very simple.

                                                                                                                                                          i know people do it; i know sometimes it works out. i agree with those who point out that "hit on" is different from "flirt with", and definitely different from "ask out".

                                                                                                                                                          NEVER ok to hit on someone working hard, doing their job to pay the bills.

                                                                                                                                                          if you like her THAT much, don't stalk her. have a little respect. if you go to the restaurant semi-regularly, you may see her again and you can work from there. but for heaven's sake have a little respect, leave her alone while she's working.

                                                                                                                                                          1. I hit on my favorite bartender all the time. Then again, I do live with her...


                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Burghfeeder

                                                                                                                                                              Then, that is totally allowed!

                                                                                                                                                              Enjoy life,


                                                                                                                                                            2. "lovely LITTLE waitress"?? If I ever refered to a woman that way my sisters, wife, and boss would string me up while my 6'1 SIL laughed his @ss off. Dude- are you aware a great many single waitresses wear wedding rings to fend off unwanted admiration?

                                                                                                                                                              31 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: demitasse04

                                                                                                                                                                "Dude- are you aware a great many singer waitresses wear wedding rings to fend off unwanted admiration?"
                                                                                                                                                                The most grotesque part is that the poster who said it seemed to think waitresses enjoyed being hit on by him. Reading it I didn't know whether to laugh or laugh some more and try to shake off the concept.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Parigi

                                                                                                                                                                  What amazes me is that in 2012 these so-called "men" don't know as much about how to treat a lady as I did when I was 12!! And they call us southern boys backwards!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                                                                                                                                    Or is it too much to ask that one simply respects the woman as a professional, since one meets her in a professional situation?

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Parigi

                                                                                                                                                                      Yes -- I despised going out to eat by myself, because there are idiots out there who don't respect a woman sitting at a table by herself, wearing a business suit and reading, as a professional...why would think that the waitress was any different?

                                                                                                                                                                      (actually, they DID assume I was a professional...but of a rather older profession than the one in which I hold a master's degree.)

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                        That is such a shame.

                                                                                                                                                                        My wife, a noted CEO, and Regional President, also finds herself dining alone, in some instances. She has begun "ordering in," just to get privacy from folk, who assume that any lady, dining solo, is "available."

                                                                                                                                                                        When I am dining solo, other than a nod and a smile to a lady seated beside me, I will not likely to even comment, unless she asks me about the wine(s), that I have ordered, or perhaps a comment on a certain dish, that they are considering. We should all expect a certain modicum of privacy.

                                                                                                                                                                        Now, if a lady asks to join me, I am not adverse to that, but other than polite conversation, there is nothing else anticipated, implied, or even desired. Maybe that is because I have been happily married for 42 years, and am NOT looking for anything, but great food and wine. Conversation is optional.


                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                          S842 - they offer classes and accredidation in the one you didn't pursue?

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                            Not that I'm aware of...but I've heard you can get a license to practice in Vegas.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                              Ha! but I think it's not strictly legal in Clark County, why all the regulated, uhh, 'establishments' are way out in the desert.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Parigi

                                                                                                                                                                      Years ago when I waited tables, I had a guy ask the EVAH so classy question, "Do you have any German in you?" You can guess how that was supposed to go down. And mind you, this happened in a conservative, upscale, white tablecloth house. The restaurant gods took care of me though, when this fine young man ordered one of our spicy oyster shooters. His order received a double dose of fresh made Habanero sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                                                                                        If that's an urban myth, good one.

                                                                                                                                                                        If it's true, intentional poisoning is always funny. Haha. Certainly beats a more professional yet boring approach such as kicking him out. If this actually ever happened. But bioterrorism is always good for a laugh. Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Leonardo

                                                                                                                                                                          Give me a break, since when is Habenero sauce poisonous?? get a life.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                                                                                                                                            Not poisonous, but c'mon -- putting blisters on someone's lips or rendering the dish inedible because they asked a stupid and clumsy pickup line in an attempt to make a connection?

                                                                                                                                                                            EVAH so classy.

                                                                                                                                                                            (when asked that I just fixed the guy with a direct gaze and said "why yes, as a matter of fact, my father is German, and I have a German passport"....and then wordlessly let him sit and squirm in the unpleasant pile of mess that he's made for himself. Neither is true, but he didn't need to know that.)

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                              Maybe a little overboard but he ordered a "spicy oyster shooter" and got extra it extra spicy. It's not like he ordered a glass of milk and given a glass of dave's insanity sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Dax

                                                                                                                                                                                but still. Culinary retribution just isn't cool.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                  ...and is the kind of antic that could prompt a complaint bringing an overzealous unamused health inspector eager to ding them on anything and everything.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Dagney

                                                                                                                                                                          Attribute it to being terribly naive, or plain stupid or grossly socially inept, but what was wrong with the guy asking if you were German?

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: singlemalt

                                                                                                                                                                            the implication is that HE is German and wants to know if you'd *like* to have a little German in you. Later. With emphasis on LITTLE, obviously.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: singlemalt

                                                                                                                                                                              "plain stupid or grossly socially inept"

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: singlemalt

                                                                                                                                                                                which brings up the best "crash and burn" I've ever witnessed -- college bar, college-age crowd (happy hour, probably with free food) -- guy thinks he's being a too-cool-for-school wiseass and sidles up to the woman standing next to me, with his buddies standing just a few feet away.

                                                                                                                                                                                He winks at her, and says "Hey, baby, what's your sign?" (I swear that's what he said)

                                                                                                                                                                                The dark cloud passed across her face, and she snarled "STOP. Why?" Utter silence, gulping like a goldfish.

                                                                                                                                                                                She'd shut him down completely, and he slunk back, tail between his legs, to his buddies, who proceeded to humiliate him even more than she'd already done.

                                                                                                                                                                                Tired, over-used lines just don't work, guys, no matter how adorable you think you are!

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                  I could see "what's your sign" getting a smile from a 40-50ish lady but I'm probably wrong. I'm about the luckiest man on this planet for finally (at age 40, 12 years ago) finding somebody that would have me. Ironically, she was my boss.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kengk

                                                                                                                                                                                    "I could see "what's your sign" getting a smile from a 40-50ish lady but I'm probably wrong."

                                                                                                                                                                                    Yeah, you're wrong. Unless I was falling on the floor laughing at the idiocy of it (or maybe if the guy were wearing a polyester jump suit), then I might be smiling. Why would you think a woman might smile at that? It wasn't a good line in its hey day.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                      "if the guy were wearing a polyester jump suit"

                                                                                                                                                                                      Sounds irresistible.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Parigi


                                                                                                                                                                                        I thought back, and back, and then back, and cannot think of my having owned one, even when many others did. Maybe I missed one?


                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                          My niece treasures the photo of my dad wearing a sky-blue leisure suit with a navy-blue polyester shirt and HUGE sideburns. He was a stylin' dood.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842


                                                                                                                                                                                            You bring back memories, and for me, maybe not the BEST memories. My B-I-L just had his 60th, and also his 40th wedding anniversary. He had plenty of old photographs from the past, and I appeared in several - let's just say that some were NOT pretty, but I dressed in the style of the day. Maybe I can live those photographs down... should I live to be 120!


                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                              Not to worry, Bill...eventually, everything comes back in style!

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                                                                                Well, I keep hoping that my "bell-bottoms" will make it... though I am not holding my breath.


                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                        "Why would you think a woman might smile at that? It wasn't a good line in its hey day."

                                                                                                                                                                                        Because it is such an obvious cliche ?

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kengk

                                                                                                                                                                                          " "Why would you think a woman might smile at that? It wasn't a good line in its hey day."
                                                                                                                                                                                          Because it is such an obvious cliche ? "

                                                                                                                                                                                          The word then would not be "smile" but "laugh".

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Parigi

                                                                                                                                                                                            "The word then would not be "smile" but "laugh"."

                                                                                                                                                                                            a laugh of such loud and derisive manner, delivered with such vigor that small beads of spittle find their way onto the schlub's face.

                                                                                                                                                                                            but I would like that jump suit. Halloween is coming up after all.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: sunshine842


                                                                                                                                                                                      As I read along, I was expecting a slightly different punch line - one that involved a single digit on one hand. I like your story better than what I was thinking.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Thank you,


                                                                                                                                                                            2. While I understand that the service industry is full of people "playing nice", I don't think it means you have to completely rule out asking someone out in that situation. I agree that it's important to not overly hastle or harass the server, but I don't think there's not a way to do it.

                                                                                                                                                                              There are so many areas where asking someone out is truly inappropriate or comes with genuine risk of being sued (professor/student, management/subordinant, doctor/patient, etc.) that this just appears to me as being overly cautious. The chance of misreading cues (being friendly vs genuinely flirting) and the chance that this server gets hit on all the time and will automatically reject everyone may be higher - but I don't think that means you have to automatically rule out the option.

                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                                                                                                I don't think that it is appropriate to "HIT ON ANYONE"...I dated and lived with one of my customers for one and half years....she was so beautiful, that I had to hold my self back...she always said she hit on me...but so what, it worked...I now feel that if it is there, why not ask,,,,,,,but do not be obtrusive or obnoxious about it.....if the chemistry is there, then maybe after two or three meals...prod...but not after one encounter....be clear and conserative...

                                                                                                                                                                                .I remember my freshman english instructor telling me to come to her apartment that night for a party back in 1972, to hang and be cool.....I did not know that I was the only attendee....(I was 18 she was 22..)....I guess she hit on me.....................

                                                                                                                                                                              2. I see this is an older thread...but I thought WTH.

                                                                                                                                                                                Treat your waiter/waitress just as you would any other working professional. Stockbroker. Maid. Attorney.

                                                                                                                                                                                It's a good rule of thumb in life. Plus, you never know where karma will take you!

                                                                                                                                                                                p.s. I just reread and I'm sorry your waitress was little. I hope she could reach your table.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. Hey 'hounds -- this thread is just going around in circles at this point, so we're going to lock it.