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In The Weeds: I Heart Gay Waiters

April 20, 2010
The Bristol

The Bristol in downtown Kansas City

This weekend, Kansas City enjoyed two of its 11 annual days of perfect weather. It couldn’t have come with better timing because we convinced my dad to forgo golf and Dallas temperatures to fly to KC and celebrate his 60th birthday with his wife, my sister, her husband, me, my husband and our combined litter of 2, 3 and 5-year-old boys. I wanted everything to be perfect for his birthday weekend so I bought his favorite Scotch, prayed for great weather, sedated the kids and taught them to say things like, “Tell us about that time you went fishing and caught a whopper, Grandpa!”

On Saturday night, we sprung for a babysitter so we could take dad out on the town.  Luckily my sis is preggers again — between the two of us, there’s always a DD.  I booked one of my favorite restaurants (shout out!), The Bristol Seafood Grill in downtown KC.  Being a monumental birthday – or as dad cheerily put it, “the birthday that marks the beginning of the last 15 good years that I’ve got left” – I wanted Saturday’s dinner to be the most perfect part of a perfect weekend.

Upon arrival, everything was looking pretty good.  The Bristol’s atmosphere is a perfect mix of traditional luxury and sleek trendiness, making for a killer first impression.  Dad said, “Wow, look at that bar,” and we all turned to our left to eye the long glass shelves lined with sparkling bottles stacked 20 feet into the air.   It was 7 p.m., and the restaurant was busy but not manic.  There were swarms of prom kids at more than a few tables, and I smugly thought, “Some lucky server is gonna be glad to see us.”  Actually, I think I said that out loud.

At any rate, we checked in, and I looked forward to striding through the dining room to our perfect table where wine and tears would flow as sentimental gifts and toasts were given.  Instead, the hostess said, “Follow me” and we all took off at a good pace behind her only to arrive crashing into the backs of each other two paces later like in a scene from Willy Wonka.

Bar Table

Our table with unusual chair to table height ratio.

Our table was in the bar a few feet from the front doors and could only be described as furniture designed for a fun house.  It looked completely normal but upon sitting, my chin narrowly skimmed the top of the table.  At 5 foot 8 inches tall, I was the shortest person in our party.  My step-mom inches me out, my sister hovers around 6 feet and my husband is the shortest of the three men at 6 foot 4.  They looked like kids at the grown-up table with the bread plates hitting them at mid chest level.

While my family laughed and joked about the table and my dad ordered wine and appetizers,  I was busy scoping our escape to better furniture.  I mean, a bar table for a 60th birthday reservation?  Really?  My step-mom was the first to notice, “Uh oh.  CJ’s not happy with this table. Do you want to move?”  I muttered something about being right back.

I HATE asking for a different table – actually, server diners hate asking for anything – on a busy Saturday night.  I know they’ve planned out the reso book all day like a puzzle, and a six top on the move could really cause a meltdown.  And I knew our server in the bar had already gleaned that we were going to be a great table, and I hated to break his heart.  But I took the long 3-foot walk back to the host stand focusing on my dad’s special night and found a manager.

The manager reminded me why eating at a great restaurant is so great.  She was truly eager to help us and went above and beyond to do so.  She communicated about the status of our new table in the semi private dining room every couple of minutes.  And when the prom kids finally paid for their waters and split Caesar salads, she helped us move our whole operation.

After that shaky start, I settled in and hoped the rest of the evening would go as planned … that is to say, perfectly. (You’ve noticed my perfection fantasy? Yes, it’s a problem).  And then, as if on cue, the background noise faded and an illuminating light seemed to beam down upon on a tall, thin waiter dressed in black who was rounding the corner out of the kitchen.  My eyes were fixated as I watched him sashay in slow mo through the dining room and towards our table.  Could it be?  Please oh please oh please let him be ours.  “Hi, how is everyone tonight?  My name is Andrew.*”  Yes!!  A gay waiter!  Thank God.

Is there anything better than a gay waiter?  I mean, honestly.  Not only are they a blast to work with, always with the snarky jokes and hatred of children, but a gay waiter truly knows how to handle a table.  A gay waiter has that perfect blend of attention to detail, well-timed humor, ever-so-slight superiority and ungodly amounts of food and wine knowledge.

My dad has his own strong opinions about how servers should serve, and I relaxed knowing that we were now in the capable hands of Andrew.  I could stop playing the server role and trying to deliver a perfect evening, because no matter how talented I ever was at waiting tables, I was never a gay waiter and therefore never even a waiter at all – at least in the eyes of gay waiters worldwide.

Tim Gunn

Don't you wish Tim Gunn was your server?

Andrew glided, uncorked, spieled, cleared, poured, appeared, disappeared, explained, sold, refilled and turned with all the effort of a feather floating on air.  He was everything his slender hips, upturned palms and willowy fingers promised he would be, and my dreams of a perfect were achieved.  Thank you to Andrew and gay waiters everywhere for the memories.  And happy birthday, Dad.

*Name changed in the way-off chance that Andrew is really just a very fem hetero who serves tables with skills equal to those of a gay waiter.


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14 Responses to “ In The Weeds: I Heart Gay Waiters ”

  1. Mr. Smarty Pants on April 20, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    What’s the Scotch of choice for yer dad?

  2. FrothygirlzCJ on April 20, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    I’ll have him answer you directly on your post. I just texted him your link. He got 25 year McCallan for Christmas last year. But I think his everyday drinking stuff is 12 year Glenmorangie.

  3. Pancake on April 20, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    Charity – you are a treasure, when are we going to see each other?

    Also, great post!

  4. Dad on April 20, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    Mr. Smarty Pants,
    CJ is correct. I am a big fan of the Glenmorangie Distillery and ALL of their scotch is wonderful. The 25 year old is sinful.
    Recently have discovered Ardbeg. Completely different from GlenM but they too have great vintages. Ardbeg is one of the highest rated scotch by Michael Jackson (not the singer).

  5. Mr. Smarty Pants on April 20, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    I’ve been meaning to try the Glenmorangie, so thanks for the tip!

    Also, I assume you’ve been over to Malt Madness by now?

    (They come from opposite ends of the island, so that explains the totally different flavors.)

    Yeah, the reason I reviewed those particular 5 single malts is because that’s the sum total of single-malts that the tiny little liquor store closest to my house carries. I’ve exhausted their inventory, and now must search different (nicer) booze-eries for other Whisky adventures!

    I think I’ll write a letter to Discovery Channel to see if they’ll sponsor me in a Scotch version of “Man vs Wild”: I’ll talk with a horribly fake Scottish accent, and have to drink my way out of famous (and infamous) Scotch bars all over the world. The highlight of season #1 will be where I eat Haggis, and then get Andy Murray really drunk, and then whip his ass in singles.

    PS ~ Happy (belated) birthday!

  6. Dad on April 21, 2010 at 7:34 am

    Mr. SP
    You can buy scotch direct. used them several times with no problem.
    Prices are not bad

  7. bigcrockofgold on April 21, 2010 at 8:11 am

    Aw Gawd…The amount of times I’ve been asked “Are you Gay?” after giving a flawless dining experience, kills me.

    I often felt like I should do one random mistake as a way of saying “I’m not gay ladies.”

    Great to see the ManLove over Scotch on here…

  8. nativenapkin on April 21, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Although I have worked with a few gay waiters that weren’t really the “All That and a Bag of Chips (snap-snap)” that they thought they were, I agree wholeheartedly. And it is always comforting to discover, on that rare occasion when we get to go out and be served by someone else and are spending some real dough (nothing comped because you know the owner, Chef or Manager, or used to work there), that your waiter is as good or better than you are. Like you said, I can then relax and get out of the “If I were waiting on this table, here’s what I’d be doing and how I’d being doing it” mindset.

    We had a recent dinner in Atlanta recently where we almost walked because of the inept bartender and cocktail server ( but stayed and got totally buffed out by “Carolina Karen”, a true pro. And while not a gay man, my wife’s “Gaydar” read “Lesbian” on her, so there you are…

    Truly great writing and a very funny post (the picture of the table is the kind of stuff you just can’t make up!); and I am linking it to my site, if you don’t have any objections!

  9. Joy-Mari Cloete on April 22, 2010 at 6:16 am

    While I appreciate you mean no harm, positive stereotypes are as harmful as negative ones. So stereotyping gay waiters as ‘absolutely darling, dahling’ is as harmful as saying that gay people are sexually promiscuous.

  10. Mr. Smarty Pants on May 10, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    Can’t we all just sing “Fuck Anita Bryant” and get along? ;)

    PS ~ Got me a bottle of the Glenmorangie 12-year.

    Pants = Happy

  11. Mark on May 25, 2010 at 9:40 am

    To Dad and Mr. Smarty Pants

    After living in NE England for a few years and traveling to Scotland more than my fair share, I have some suggestions that aren’t too bad to try either.

    Oban 14 – Great daily drinker, very smooth
    Ancnoc 1993 Vintage – I would wager this against your 25yr old GM…

    And for a real special treat, try the Dalmore King Alexander III, that usually makes one see God…

  12. Dad on June 10, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Glad I reviewed some old posts. I am ordering your suggestions today.
    Where do I send bill (if I don’t like ‘em). Will honor your name if your recommendations pan out

  13. Dad on June 22, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    Tried the Dalmore King…..did not see god but did get the spirit!!
    Very, very nice.
    That’s the nice thing about single malts….they are so personal.

  14. Aformerwaiter on July 2, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    Years ago when I waited at Friday’s they still wore hats and striped shirts. I got bored one day and traded one of the girls for a tiara. I played flaming gay all the way to the hilt for two weeks, flirted with every woman, in front of their husbands/boyfriends, they all flirted back, and I made 20% more than I usually did as a nice, competent, straight waiter. Everybody loves the gay waiter.

    Also, as an aside, the absolute best table to ever wait on is one that has a bunch of old guys drinking scotch. They tip great, they’re hilarious, and they’re never PITA complainers.