In The Weeds: I Heart Gay Waiters
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.
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.
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.