I have two friends who each work as wait staff in different restaurants in the Los Angeles area in California
One works at a Yard House, which is owned by Darden Restaurants (a corporation that also owns Olive Garden and Red Lobster).
The other works at California Pizza Kitchen, which is owned by Golden Gate Capital, a private equity firm that also holds substantial shares in On The Border and Romano’s Macaroni Grill (Romano cashed in and peaced out after a year and a half).
At Yard House, the wait staff have the option of choosing to share tips with hosts and busing staff. Tips are presumed to belong exclusively to the wait person assigned to the table.
At CPK, the restaurant has a mandatory “tip out” policy (a system of mandatory tip sharing), which requires the wait staff, before leaving at the end of a shift, to pay an amount equivalent to 3% of their receipts to be shared amongst other service persons: busing staff, hosts, and bartenders.
Because these two friends are engaged and because I’m in the bridal party, I have been led to believe that I have certain “social obligations.” In an effort to shirk those, I’m going to answer legal questions instead.
Their question to me: is this mandatory “tip out” legal?
About a year ago I stopped drinking. Some of my classmates know this. Mostly the ones I used to drink with.
However, there was an end-of-classes champagne toast which I chose to attend because, you know, rituals.
FRIEND: Hey, what are you doing there? [Indicates champagne flute I’m holding.]
ME: Oh, I’m still not drinking. I’m just holding it.
FRIEND: … why’s it empty then?
ME: I took a full glass. When Gabe finished his, I traded with him. I got it refilled. We traded again.
FRIEND: Oh. Why?
ME: Just to avoid long explanations with anyone right now about why I don’t drink, just to save time, cut back on exposition, that sort of thing. I’m not hiding it, I just never announced it either, and I don’t particularly want to, especially in a setting with professors, administrators, and classmates whom I’m less close to. Normally I skip these events entirely just to avoid that kind of interaction. I didn’t want to get into any protracted exchange that leaves people wondering whether I’m an alcoholic, or unpredictable, or going to engage in some grossly irresponsible behavior. Also people sometimes get self-conscious drinking around people who aren’t drinking. So it’s easier to, if possible, subtly let people think I’m drinking, rather than going through the trouble letting them know I don’t drink, diffusing any concerns about alcoholism, reassuring them that I don’t mind if they drink, declining to provide stories or evidence of my past drunken escapades, or explaining why I am choosing to not even have “just one drink,” or surmising whether I’m capable of having “just one drink.”
FRIEND: That makes sense.
ME: Yeah, so I do it for brevity’s sake. It is working great so far.
There’s a guy in my neighborhood who dresses like Jesus Christ. He walks around Fountain, in Hollywood, just doin’ his thing - petting dogs and saying “hi” to everyone. Jesus My Neighbor, and most of the people in L.A., are pretty great. I’m super lucky to know a lot of smart, kind, weird and…
Erin Gibson is MUCH kinder to DJ Lubel than I am. I think two references to wanting women, who would unequivocally not sleep with him sober, to be drunk enough that he can take advantage of them, is fucking monstrous.
In 2004, I was entering my senior year of high school. Like virtually all well-adjusted teens, I resented my parents deeply for continuing to treat me like the child that I legally was, and I subsequently lashed out by spending as little time at home as possible.
At age 15, I acquired two jobs. I hoarded leadership roles in student organizations, and then I joined more organizations. I started programs. I pathetically wrested responsibilities from other leaders, insisting that they were less devoted than I was and that I would do the job better.
This was true, but I was also a complete and utter piece of shit about it.
It was easier for me to do these things, since I had mostly stopped sleeping. I carried No Doz with me at all times, which was reassuringly advertised as “safe as a cup of coffee!” Each morning, I made myself a latte with several shots of espresso, frequently burning myself during this quotidian ritual. I paired the beverage with a first caffeine pill to start class, and then a second one near the end of class if I still felt tired. I continued to take them throughout the day. I only began to scale it back when I noticed that my pulse appeared to have developed a very hip (and wholly irregular) backbeat.
This is all to say that, as seventeen-year-olds go, I was quite busy.
I did still make time to occasionally visit my dad at work. And, in 2004, my dad was working on a little something called Serenity. I knew little about Serenity—just that it was based on Firefly, which was a television show that my favorite cousin Liz had highly recommended. I did not heed her recommendation at the time, in large part because I was very busy. Also because I had not yet learned that I would agree with Liz about most entertainment-related things.
The show was unceremoniously canceled shortly thereafter.
I visited my dad at work and walked around the Serenity ship set, politely interested but not terribly invested. My dad remarked that the actors would be back on set soon and intimated that I could likely meet them, if I wanted. But I had not seen Firefly and, prior to Firefly, most of those actors did not have huge recognizable credits. Firefly was their calling card. What could I say?
“Hey, Nathan Fillion, I really liked what you did with that short arc on Buffy. Really nailed that soulless vampire look”?
“Oh, hey! Funny blond man! I remember you being funny and blond in A Knight’s Tale! Also that pirate thing you did in Dodgeball! ”—which is what I would have said to Alan Tudyk because I did not yet know his name.
In fact, the most established actor might have been Adam Baldwin at that point, although I’ve no doubt that my reaction would have been to tell him he looks like a Baldwin, which—as someone with no relation to the more famous Baldwins—he undoubtedly loves. Just ask Donald Glover.
If I were being genuine, I’d tell them, “Someone with very good taste once recommended your show to me. I did not watch it then, and I heard it was canceled. I blame myself. I hope your film receives exactly the level of acclaim that it deserves.”
None of these options seemed satisfying to me. Moreover, much like my story of not meeting The Rock, part of me felt guiltier having an enviable experience that I would not appreciate than foregoing the opportunity entirely.
So I politely declined. “They’re very friendly,” my dad reassured me.
“I’d have nothing to say. They’d know. It would be embarrassing.”
As a wrap gift, my dad received a box set of Firefly DVDs. Still laden with an enigmatic form of guilt, I set to watching them immediately.
They were good.
No, better. They were really great. I found myself in a position that I have rarely experienced since, eager to consume episodes as quickly as possible and pained as I realized how little there was, how little was left with each episode I watched. I was a man stranded on an island with exactly one Boston cream pie and a gardening spade for an eating utensil.
Worse, watching it did nothing to alleviate my guilt. The show was still canceled and nothing could be done about it.
It merely paired the guilt with the regret of not meeting the crew of the Serenity back in 2004 when I had the chance.
In 2009, Nathan Fillion visited my local Borders. I had a Spanish class during that time and opted not to miss class to meet him. A friend of mine who worked at Borders communicated my regret to Mr. Fillion, to which he allegedly replied, “Well, I guess she didn’t want to meet me badly enough.” Mr. Fillion, that is unfair. I am merely very assiduous.
I attended ComiCon in 2010 and watched Fillion crash a Whedon panel, but I did not meet him.
In spring of 2011, my Borders employee friend indicated that Nathan was set to visit again but that a date had not been selected. I persisted in asking until the chain went under (for reasons unrelated to my persistent asking, in case that was unclear).
Earlier this year (2012), I attended the Paleyfest panel for Castle. I, again, failed to meet Nathan Fillion. The regret has, by now, eclipsed the guilt and rewatching old Firefly episodes brings only pangs of what might have been.
(What might have been: a polite interaction in which I express sincere admiration for Nathan Fillion’s work and maybe a hug.)
Someday, Nathan. Someday.
I saw a new stylist a couple weeks ago. A middle-aged Armenian woman with a fairly thick accent who does my mother’s hair.
STYLIST: This isn’t your natural color.
ME: No, I’m naturally a dark blonde. I used a temporary dye—a light brown with hints of red—several months ago, and it just won’t come all the way out.
STYLIST: My daughter—she’s a lawyer. She had blonde hair for long time, and she interviewed and she got no job offers. She says, “Mom, they don’t take me seriously with the blonde hair.” So we dye it. She goes, she interviews, she gets the job. She says, “See mom? Blonde hair, no job offers, brown hair, I got the job.” You will be lawyer very soon. You dye your hair to be taken seriously?
ME: …I dyed my hair to look like an X-Man for Halloween.
Not only are you wrong, but you’re really starting to grind my gears.
Whenever a Nice Guy makes another tired joke (and rest assured, the only shtick more tired is women shoe shopping) about women being fixated on rich men and overlooking really Nice Guys like him, just because those guys are broke, I cringe an indignant cringe.
“Well, fine,” they inevitably respond. “Maybe you’re not like that. But most women are.” At that point, I hand them my headshot so they can file it with their black male friend who isn’t a rapist, their Asian friend who’s never been in a car accident, and other rarefied species. Label it “non meretrix.”
You know Latin. Don’t pretend you don’t.
Let’s consider a woman whom you’re interested in for a moment, who is not interested in you,
poor (as in pitiable, not financially),
broke (as in financially, and maybe emotionally),
sweet (like Splenda)
There are two possibilities: that she only cares about money or that she does not only care about money.
Let’s assume she only cares about money. Let’s assume that she is willing to disregard what a sweet, funny, interesting, attentive, creative, ambitious, intelligent, respectful, loyal and supportive catch you are because BABY DON’T CARE BABY WANTS TO BE DRENCHED IN ICE. I’m willing to accept that Kim Kardashian is a real person, in some meaningful sense of the word, so I guess this “person” exists. The question is, why are you attracted to a person who evaluates life partners exclusively based on wealth? This person is so shallow that they literally will not speak to, consider, or give any value to someone without substantial wealth. You are attracted to a caricature of Marilyn Monroe.
Nice guys don’t date women with obvious bad character. Shallow guys date women with bad character because they care more about tits than character. When you lament that someone will not date you because she is shallow and materialistic, you’re saying that you care nothing about the values of the people that you date. And that’s not Nice.
But you’re a Nice Guy! You’re so nice, you probably go to bed every night wishing that Mother Teresa hadn’t died and had instead abandoned the convent to be your girlfriend. You’re not shallow, which means you would never be interested in a woman who only cares about a man’s money (because, at minimum, you want her to be focused on her modeling career too, since you like ambitious girls).
So let’s assume you like three-dimensional women and she cares about other things. This is most women, since we—like all noncatatonic humans!—are autonomous individuals.
Perhaps there’s some other reason she’s not interested. Maybe you have disparate political or religious views. Maybe you don’t have common interests. Maybe you expressed an admiration for Tucker Max once. Maybe she doesn’t find you very funny or interesting or physically attractive (the same reasons you didn’t ask out any number of women who weren’t her).
In light of the myriad of reasons why any given woman might not be interested in you, presuming that reason is monetary is the ultimate in arrogance. It’s saying, unwaveringly, that despite the complexities and subjectivity of human attraction, you are the Rosetta Stone of What Heterosexual Women Want. Your personality is type O-negative: objectively perfect for universal acceptance. After all, are the King Arthur of Nice Guys, aiming only to pull (put) Excaliber (your penis) out of (into) the stone (all the vaginas).
And maybe your dick is the skeleton key that opens every conceivable heterosexual lock. Maybe she has great character because you’re a Nice Guy who wouldn’t be interested otherwise. Maybe with all of your admirable attributes, it is just an absolute mystery—if not because of your dearth of funds—why she won’t date a Nice Guy like you.
At this point, it’s important to remember that you’re not a nice guy. There are no Really Nice Guys Without Girlfriends Because Women Only Care About Money.
Because nice guys don’t call the women who won’t date or fuck them whores.