Another segment of a project The Rise and Fall of a Saloon In The Latter Part off The Twentieth Century. These excerpts are not chronological. In fact very little logic prevails…
There is almost a ballet, a juggling act, to watching a good bartender work.
The good ones work best under a little pressure, or so it seemed… hundreds of memorized recipes and no time to write down the requests shouted over the din of a deliriously loud band.
Their hands a blur lining up the proper glasses, add the ice, mix, pouring the alcohol, sometimes holding multiple bottles in each hand. The blender screams like a chainsaw that lost a link and magically, the drinks come out right.
If a waitress was on duty she would be helping by adding the final touches, the olive, the onion, the fruit wedge, stir sticks and straws. Four hands instead of two in a flurry of alchemy, making the drink what it needed to be. Seldom are two alike and each must have the exact finishing garnish to be correct.
Periodically, a waitress on a busy night will come up with a tray of dirty glasses and empty beer bottles to offload even as she shouts her next order. Then off she goes with a delivery of what can be to ten items, more if they carried a couple of long necked bottles of beer in the hand not holding the tray.
From its opening until it finally shut down The Bar had the best looking cocktail crew in the area for an easy fifty miles. The faces and forms would come and go because cocktailing is a draining occupation and there was quite a turnover. The Bar had basic requirements and the scheduling followed a formula. During lunchtime and “Happy Hour” one waitress usually sufficed. Two, sometimes three, very pretty girls working on band nights.
But day or night, “Very Pretty” was the standard…
She was a piece of work.
The pretty legs, the nice figure, the sensuous walk and the paint… she had really lovely, soft, hands (Vargas hands) and knew how to wear rings… small and simple rather than garish and showy, to show her perfect manicure. She moved with a practiced sexuality when she wanted to, stirring lustful thoughts…knowing this but not really caring because she wasn’t looking for a man. However having the ability to raise lustful thoughts usually meant larger tips.
It’s a balancing act. Make the men like her but at the same time she manages to let the women know that she’s not out to Steal The Boyfriend.
She did it very well when she was feeling good…all with a trayload of drinks balanced and high…
Dolly Parton would have understood her completely but Dolly’s presentation was an act that she turned it into a multi million dollar business.
Were all of the cocktail waitresses like the one described above?
But all of them had some of those qualities, some more than others but the only quality they all had was the “when she put her mind to it she was a Helluva waitress”.
They were a kaleidoscope of beauty… tall, short, girl next door types, striking model types, some were gamine and cute, others were heartstoppingly beautiful, beautiful enough to be actresses. Some were slender, some were not, some were tall, some were not, but all had their admirers. Few were older than twenty five. Most had problems, in that respect it was just a matter of degree… seemed that way sometimes…
Some of them were going to school…working their way through college. Some were just ‘going’ stopping at The Bar to see if it was any different than the last one they worked at. and usually finding that the set may change but the script does not.
Some, the new girls saw it as a way to make money for doing almost nothing…
Consider the left arm of a waitress…
What does a trayload of drinks weigh? Ten pounds? Twelve…?
Held at an Egyptian Dancers angle or at a frightening, arm straight overhead height as they glide miraculously through a crowded room …never spilling a drop.
We won’t try to describe how precarious it is to tote a tray full of empty long-necked beer bottles through the same crowd on the return trip. A crowd steadily getting more inebriated, a crowd mostly concerned with its own pleasure. Empties are less stable than full bottles. What keeps them from falling off the tray? What keeps the drinks from spilling?
It’s a secret that ancient slaves figured out thousands of years ago and passed on to all servants bound or free and the secret is…
“They won’t spill if you don’t look at them”
…and they don’t!
A miracle of physics, of balance, based on blind faith that not looking at something keeps it steady.
Ah, yes… for a large part of the run of The Bar I hired the waitresses…
Stay tuned… I have stories and fables…