(photo @ artfullyinappropriate )
The year before I headed off to live and work in South Carolina, I worked as a waiter/bartender at a country club in Marietta, GA. It was a fantastic job. The pay was great, the schedule was reasonable, you got a free gym membership, and you saw the same customers every day.
By the way, that last part about always seeing the same customers was fantastic 95% of time. But 5% of the time it could be an absolute nightmare.
A tip? Here's tip for you...'the help'
should never make eye contact with me.
Sometimes we got a chance to mingle with the general public when we were called upon to work a wedding reception. On what was generally a joyous day for all involved, we often discovered that there are some people that should never be allowed to leave the house. When these folks are given a combination of alcohol and their favorite 90's dance tunes, things can quickly turn very awkward and uncivil.
On a May evening in 2003, I was working the outdoor bar at a reception that had a fair number of intoxicated female attendees. I had learned that weddings (and nearly all large social gatherings) that involve alcohol tend to divide women that have had too much to drink into 4 distinct groups:
Group 1: The Screamers
This group, while very friendly, will also make you strongly consider a life of celibacy. Everything that they say is screamed at an obscenely high decibel level. It is also usually followed with a hearty "WOOOOOO!" regardless of the context or appropriateness of such a guttural exclamation.
"It's a real shame that Johnny couldn't be here to see his brother get married. "
"I KNOW, RIGHT? CANCER REALLY SUCKS!!! WOOOOOOO!!!!"
Group 2: The Barely Staying Awake/Upright
This group is usually divided into single units around the bar and dance floor. Each one has anchored herself to some type of stationary object so as not to fall flat on her face. They also think that if they keep their eyes half closed while trying to remain conscious, it makes them look "exotic," but they actually look ridiculous.
Group 3: The Criers
The combination of alcohol, raging hormones, and new marital bliss that does not involve them has turned this group into a sobbing mess. Whether it's due to realizing how much they love everyone, how amazing their friends are, how they may never find true love, or a DJ's unfortunate decision to play Total Eclipse of the Heart, the tears and awkward hugs flow in abundance.
While this group may seem to be filled with kind and tender souls, they will do whatever physical harm to their fellow reception attendees that is necessary to catch the bouquet once it is tossed.
prince will finally make a home with me and my 12 cats!
Group 4: The Angry Belligerent One
This "group" is usually made up of one person that already has a fairly abrasive personality to begin with. After a few drinks, you now have a raging psychotic banshee.
As luck would have it, young lady fitting this description decided to visit my bar area during the latter half of that evening's wedding reception.
The door to the dance area opened and one of the bridesmaids sauntered over to my bar. She looked at me with a mix of contempt and craziness and said "I need a beer."
I smiled and began to say "What type of beer would you like," but before I could finish my sentence, she barked "I want an import!"
Our bar was fairly well stocked with a variety of beers, so I asked her "Any particular brand that you would prefer? We have..."
"I SAID I WANT AN IMPORT!" she screamed with the fury of million exploding suns. I instantly reached down and pulled the first thing I could find, which was an Amstel Light. When I handed it to her, she looked as though she had just been presented with a fresh piece of dog crap.
"I said I wanted an import..." she hissed through gritted teeth. At this point I thought it best not to bring up the fact that Amstel Light is a Dutch beer that is made and bottled in the Netherlands. Instead I reached down and found a Newcastle. This had been a fairly popular beer that evening and it was made and bottled in England. Maybe this was what she was looking for.
When I presented the bridesmaid with the new beverage, she nearly lost it.
"I SAID I WANTED AN IMPORT!!! WHY WON'T YOU JUST GIVE ME AN IMPORT???"
"Ma'am, both beers I tried to give you are from Europe..."
"I DON'T CARE!!! JUST GIVE ME A ####ING IMPORT!!!"
At this point I was at a bit of a loss. Perhaps this woman had a bad experience in Europe...or maybe she didn't realize that Europe wasn't part of the United States. The problem was, almost every other beer that we had was from that part of the world. I was deathly afraid that if I offered her a Beck's, I may face physical retribution.
I decided to try and stick to North America by offering her a Dos Equis. This was a beer made in Mexico, which she probably thought was the 51st state, but I was out of options.
I don't always hate my job.
But when I do, it's because of times like this.
As I attempted to hand the irate bridesmaid my final attempt at satisfying her mystifying need for a non foreign imported beer, her eyes filled with rage and her face turned bright red. I'm also fairly certain that she levitated off the ground and began speaking Latin in a deep voice, but at this point I was too confused to be certain of anything.
As the sky turned red and the winds increased to nearly unbearable levels of intensity, the bridesmaid glared down at me and bellowed "WHY THE #### WON'T YOU JUST GIVE ME A ####ING IMPORT?!!"
I struggled to hang onto the edge of the bar while her tentacles lashed out near my face. As the earth beneath us was torn asunder and hellfire spewed forth into the sky, I was finally able to complete a desperate sentence: "Ma'am, every beer that I have tried to give you has been from a foreign country!"
May I also add that your crazy demon face
eyebrows are in serious need of some maintenance!
The bridesmaid slowly floated back down to earth, her eyes went from blood red back to normal, and she curiously cocked her head to the side.
"Oh..." she said with a confused stare. "Isn't an import...wait...no...I want uh, American....I want an export."
Yes, an export.
I assumed from the context of her previous/post demonic babbling that she meant a domestic beer. I confidently reached behind the bar and emerged with one of the most American beers possible: A Budweiser. To my shock, her eyes began to glow red again.
"I don't want a Budweiser...I want a BUD LIGHT!!!"
I'm pretty sure she also said "Here we go...STRAIGHT TO HELL"
I quickly reached behind the bar and emerged with her desired beverage. She snatched the drink out of my hand, whipped around (knocking over a table with the spikes on her tail), and headed back onto the dance floor for what I can only assume was a night of wondering why everyone was avoiding her.
I realized through my encounter with the bridesmaid from hell that even if you do everything possible to please the customer, copious amounts of alcohol combined with a bad personality can still create an unavoidable confrontation. Maybe I should have just kept a map of the world clearly posted behind my bar.
...and a priest that can perform exorcisms.