The Boxes They Put Us In (a former female bartenders observations)

You may be wondering why I specified “female Bartender" as opposed to saying Bartender. The reason is simple. Female Bartenders have a whole other dynamic in the workplace to deal with and you guessed it! Gender inequality, harassment, and objectification.

When I was 19 I was in College and like many other students needed a job to be pay rent, bills and save for what would be a massive student debt upon graduation. Oh, Canada!

I was lucky enough to start at the hottest place in town, in fact, when I showed up for my interview there was a line out the door and down the street. The role? Coat check girl. Yes, 3 nights a week where I greeted people, kept watch over their belongings while they drank themselves silly, and ensured they received those belongings at the end of the night. $150 a night in tips plus my wage made me happy. I ended up staying there for 3 years and eventually moved my way to a serving role and occasionally a bartender.

The best part of this establishment? The people. The same group of beautiful, intelligent, hard-working women also remained happy employees there for those 3 years. It wasn’t a flashy place and all of us had most often gone to work in a black tee and black jeans. It was more of a pub than a club and was praised for its pints and welcoming atmosphere.

I remember one night when I was working the bar with Erin. Erin was popular with all of our customers as we all had a following. She had a Jennifer Aniston thing about her, very friendly, sweet and approachable. Also, a hard worker. Erin, like the rest of us was in school and on The Deans list for graduation. A high accolade given to only a small percentage of students who remain at the highest level of academic achievement throughout all of their years of study.

This particular night we had been serving drinks to two lads who seemed nice, they were chatty, but also respected we had a job to do with an endless pit of customers to serve.

It was clear that the one guy had a thing for Erin. He said to his friend that he would be interested in asking her out but was trying to build the courage.

His friends advice? “yeah man, she’s hot but she works at a bar. You don’t want to date a stupid girl. I mean if you’re just looking for a hookup go for it but she’s too dumb to consider anything else"

Really?!?! Yes. Really.

I was quite happy to inform both about Erins academic achievements as well as fill them in the fact that we probably make twice as much as they do (bartending could be $300+ per night plus our wage) and asked how they planned to pay off their student debt.

Why is that a smart girl can’t be pretty and a pretty girl can’t be smart? Can we just not accept that every woman is capable of amazing things with the right support cheering her on? Some women really do have it all and we need to celebrate one another.

Luckily, even if Erin had been asked on a date that night she would have said No. You see, she already had a boyfriend, they met in Junior High and he’s smart enough to know a good thing when he has it and not let it go.

Until next time 🙏