Thursday, August 13, 2009

THE FRIENDLY FEMINIST: a Hooters experience

The flat screen above plays clips from a sports channel, but I can't hear a thing over the Jimmy Buffet cover playing and the indistinct chatter amongst these young men. I catch an old man looking at me and waving, as if we've met before. We haven't. His 20-something daughter nibbles at her food as my eyes glaze over. I'm still soaking in where I am.

There's a sign that spoofs a warning on the high level of peroxide in the the air, and its effect on our brains.

But I'm pretty sure any effect isn't from that.

Maybe it's the way my waitress in spandex shorts sways toward my table. Maybe it's how exclusive I'm supposed to feel when she writes her name and a heart in scripty listick on my napkin. Maybe it's the wink her sultry, heavily made-up eyes give me when she's done taking my order.

Afterall, no one comes for the food.

So what's a feminist blogger doing in a place where women are paid for their boobs and flirty demeanor?

For starters, I was curious to how this Hooters differed from the previous one I went to. Most importantly, I wanted to know how on earth a woman worked knowing her income rested in her assets.

So when it was finally my turn to order, my question boiled inside. I decided this girl deserved a warning.

"Can I ask you a personal question?"
"Sure ... "
She looked around a bit, and I continued.
"I don't want you to get offended, like, I just want to know, seriously -- "
"Just ask."
I could tell she was irritated and trying to maintain her poise. I figured if I tried to warn her any longer, her claws would come out and toward my face.

"How do you feel working here and being objectified?"
She looked around the same impatient way she did before.
"I just ... work. I don't think about it. I just work."
"So do you get guys that like can't look past your boobs?"
"Oh yeah. I get those."

I tell her I'll take some curly fries, and yes, that will be all.

A part of me is glad this chick is getting her money's worth for what she's got and milking men by looking good. A bigger part of me is afraid. Afraid that she can't separate business from personal life. I can only hope she has a good head on her shoulders. It's an EXCELLENT thing to be smart, pretty, and know what you want.

But what if she's just pretty?

Because when you realize you're worth as much as you look, do you pay much attention to anything else?

I don't know.
That question will have to wait until next time.