An Ode to Mean Girls

I like mean girls.

I’m thrilled when a mean girl is my server. I’m ecstatic thinking about a counter person who simply wants to hear my order and nothing else. I’m charmed by a hostess who feels no need to engage in small talk, who will show me to my table and not look back, as she deals with fellow patrons asking her ridiculous questions about why they have yet to be seated.

Why? Because being nice fucking sucks. It’s exhausting. It’s emotionally taxing. It takes all of my energy to be nice because being nice often means asking questions I don’t care about the answer to (“Yes, I do think it’s very cold outside.”) or engaging in conversations I would never want to be in if I weren’t behind this counter, obligated to be here and having asinine conversations like this: “Is this a bar? Can I get a drink?” a large, obnoxiously loud patron asks. “I guess the barista doesn’t think my jokes are funny, huh?”

You can probably picture the above conversation in your head — me, a girl, wearing my Resting Bitch Face as this man, who expects women to fawn over his tasteless jokes, walks in. And that’s why I don’t mind a mean girl: because women are the ones who have to deal with this insane behavior. A man would never waltz into a business filled with a bunch of dudes and start telling jokes to stroke his ego. Nor would a man be admonished for not laughing at a patently unfunny joke. What’s up his ass? Nothing because that question has never been asked about any man’s sour attitude not once not ever.

Mean girls take no shit. They’re not mean because being mean is fun (but it is sometimes), but because they have to be. Being mean is the only way to shut it down. Being mean is the only way dumbass men stop saying dumbass stuff to us, expecting us to laugh and giggle and throw our hair back and our vaginas in their faces. You can’t engage. You can’t tell them simply that sir, your joke was not funny and I’d appreciate if you didn’t say those things to me. Then your worse than a bitch — you’re a prude. Or worse yet, you’re a lesbian because that’s the only way a lot of men can imagine a world where we don’t laugh at their jokes or want to hop on them.

Being kind and being nice aren’t the same. I’ll make sure to make your drink exactly the way you want it, or entertain your requests for a quarter caffeinated, half soy half regular no foam latte. That’s fine. My job is to make your drink and make you feel safe and comfortable ordering and drinking it. But my job is not to give you part of me. My job is not to beguile you or flirt with you or laugh at your jokes. We don’t expect men to be nice. We expect it from women.

So let’s give a hand to our mean girls. The ones that can make a killer drink, knock out a line of customers, answer all their questions, and shut down a dick demanding more from her than she needs to give. Tip an extra dollar to the ladies who show up everyday and are harassed by someone, everyday, who are no longer willing to take it anymore. Show love for women who have decided that their lives and bodies are no longer available for public consumption and have said, “NO MORE! This is my space, and I will not be held to a higher standard of service simply because of my gender.”

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