America's Most Critical Journal (since 1999)
By Alexander Carver
9 August 2016
I’m currently dating a Hooters waitress. Her name's Jamie and she works at the branch that just opened here in Santa Monica that still has the orange and white, overly-inflated, grand-opening balloons flapping around out front. The restaurant's located on Santa Monica Boulevard, about a half block east of the 3rd Street Promenade. Just in case you live in the general vicinity and you’re looking for a restaurant with eye-popping ambiance and a half decent American cuisine. Try the naked buffalo wings. That’s what I usually order. The Caesar salad’s not bad either. Although ask for extra dressing on the side because they tend to go a little lite on the dressing on all their salads, probably figuring you’ll be too distracted to notice or too intimidated to complain. Successful businesses know where to cut costs. Anyway, Jamie, the “Hooter’s Girl” I’m courting, as you may have already guessed, is quite gifted physically. She tells customers who ask (and you’d be surprised at how many do) that she’s a C cup. But trust me she’s just being modest, trying to get the attention off her chest and onto her budding singing career. The tags on her bras read: 36 DD. As far as the rest of her is concerned…she has almond shaped green eyes, an upturned little nose, full, sensual lips, and a thick mane of chestnut hair, featuring long willowy bangs, which are always carefully arranged so that they sweep across her face, obscuring her left eye from view. This styling choice adds a mysterious and alluring quality to her appearance, but costs her fifty percent of normal vision. A hazard she doesn’t like to admit could be life threatening.
“I think you look very exotic with your hair like that,” I told her once, as we were driving down Sunset Boulevard in her lime green Bug, ten miles per hour over the speed limit, “But isn’t it a little dangerous to drive using only one eye?”
“Not at all,” she said. “I actually drive better this way because it forces me to focus harder.”
“Oh…okay, but couldn’t I just move your bangs off to the side a little bit until we get to the party?” I said, reaching towards her face.
“If you touch my bangs I swear to God I’ll drive us right into a parked car!”
I withdrew my hand and dropped the subject, in favor of being the type of non-combative, agreeable boyfriend no woman could ever justify dumping.
As I think I already mentioned Jamie's hoping to make it big in the music industry. Her dream is to be a country music star like her hero, Faith Hill, even though she doesn’t have southern roots–hailing originally from Quebec. She told me she would also settle for being a famous actress if her singing career doesn’t pan out. Or possibly both if one success feeds the other, the way it sometimes does for beautiful and talented people. Most of the girls working at Hooters want to break into the entertainment industry in one capacity or another. You should see how aggressively they behave when the buzz gets around the restaurant that such and such a producer is sitting at such and such a table. They become like a flock of seagulls competing for a single French fry on the beach, clawing and cawing their way into his field of vision. And the “poor” producer ends up leaving the restaurant with a stack of 8 x 10 glossies of beautiful, well-endowed, often hosed-down waitresses, wearing little more than dental floss, and posing their full-figured bodies in postures that seem to say, “Put me in your movie and I’ll make all of your naughtiest fantasies come true”.
Anyway, I guess I should finish my description of Jamie before I move onto the story of how the two of us met. I feel I’d be leaving your already moistened sensibilities out to dry if I didn’t mention the fact that she also has an exquisitely shaped derriere from the Kim Kardashian more is more school of thought. If somehow Jamie doesn’t get to you as she's walking towards you, she’ll certainly get to you as she's walking away. And as far as any physical imperfections are concerned, there are very few. In fact, as I sit here racking my brain, trying to think of one, the only thing that comes to mind is the size of her feet. It’s possible that they may be a tad or two on the large side. Although every time I try to get a good look at them when we’re in bed together, they quickly scamper under the covers like frightened mice, well…frightened cats. She told me she wears a size 8½, but when she was in the bathroom one morning, brushing her teeth twice, “once for cleansing and once for shine” as is her custom, and I was lying in her bed reading Vogue, I reached down onto the floor – where all our clothes were mingled from a passionate frolic the night before – and picked up one of her L.A. Gear high-topped sneakers. The tag had been cut out of the inside, so I was forced to estimate the true size of her feet by holding her sneaker sole to sole with one of my Doc Martins, and discovered that hers was bigger than mine. And I wear a men’s size 10. I’ll leave it at that. Except to say that for less than a minute, I actually considered breaking up with her. Jamie stands 5 feet 6 inches tall and her current measurements, which I imagine you’re also curious about, are: 36, 24, 36. Curves, curves, curves. Like Lombard Street in San Francisco. My current measurements are 32, 32, 32. Just to give you some perspective on what the two of us look like in our bathing suits as we stroll hand and hand along the Santa Monica shoreline. Which we've actually never done before because Jamie says she doesn’t like the feeling of sand in between her toes.
Okay, now that I’ve described Jamie, and hopefully painted the sultry, 9.99 out of 10 portrait I was trying to paint, let me tell you about how the two of us met, since it’s kind of an interesting story. It happened several months ago when I went into Hooters at lunchtime to order take-out...
“Hi! Welcome to Hooters! Table for one?” a jubilant voice said from behind the hostess stand as I entered the restaurant.
“Oh, no thanks. I just want to get something to go,” I said, as I tried unsuccessfully to avoid dropping my eye-line from Jamie’s angelic face down to her bedeviling cleavage. Jamie had gotten a job at Hooters a couple weeks earlier, and was paying her dues as a hostess, while waiting for one of the other waitresses to quit, get fired, or pregnant.
“Take out? Wow, you’re the first guy to order take-out in the two weeks I’ve been working here,” she said in a voice adorably similar to Mickey Mouse’s, which attracted the attention and subsequent googly-eyed stares of the mostly middle-aged men sitting rigidly at nearby tables.
“Really?” I said, blushing under the knowledge of my unique status.
“It’s okay. I love gay men,” she blurted out conversationally.
“Oh…I’m not gay.”
“No. Why? Because of my haircut? I just got it cut yesterday and Christopher always cuts it too short, no matter how I tell him to style it. I don’t even know why I waste my time saying, ‘Keep the bangs long’ because I know he’s gonna cut them however he pleases. Because, let’s face it, everyone thinks they know best how everyone else should look. How they should style their hair, what clothes they should wear, who they should date, where they should go to get the best hamburgers–”
Luckily, Jamie interrupted me before it was necessary to ask if there was a psychiatrist dining in the restaurant.
“No, I only asked because, let’s face it, there aren’t many straight guys who’d come in here and order take-out. Most guys like to sit and eat a two hour lunch and sneak peeks at us as we walk by. We’re famous for our boobs, not our burgers,” she said.
“Well the truth is I was considering eating here, but I didn’t want to look like some kind of a lonely pervert sitting by myself at a table.”
“Oh... So do you wanna just go ahead and order take-out then?”
“Well, if I eat here will you be my waitress...Miss...uh…?”
She pointed at her name tag located high up on the shoulder strap of her tank top, where it wouldn’t impede the customer’s view. “I’m Jamie,” she said.
“Hi Jamie. I’m Andy.”
“What’s up, Andy?”
“Not too much, what’s up with you?”
“Not too much.”
“So, but, anyway, will you be my waitress if I...?”
“No. I just started working here and I have to pay my dues as a hostess first before I get bumped up to food server. I’ve only been working here for…”
“Right. Two weeks. How’d you know that?”
“You mentioned it earlier.”
“Wow, you’re a good listener.”
“I said you’re a good listener.”
“Oh. Thanks. But I can’t take all the credit for that. You see, when I was in college I was dating this girl named, Danielle, and one night while we were eating dinner at this wonderful Chinese restaurant near campus called the Double Dragon, she was telling me a story about her childhood, which was a bit of an unhappy one because her Dad was a real womanizer, and I guess my focus must have been on something else, and she got really angry at me and said, ‘You know why this relationship is dying, Andy?’ And I said, ‘No. Why is this relationship dying?’ And she said, ‘Because you only listen when you’re talking.’ She was really angry. And about a week later while I was taking a bath–”
This time my rambling was interrupted by the Hooters manager, a tall, skinny guy with bulging green eyes–the unnerving intensity of which caused me to look him in the forehead as he spoke to me, instead of in the eyes. “Excuse me Jamie, I realize it’s a bit slow today…” He angled his bulging eyes towards me and confided, “Monday lunches are notoriously slow,” then turned back to Jamie and said, “…but I always like to warn our girls against inviting their boyfriends to stop by to–”
“Oh, this isn’t my boyfriend. He’s just a customer,” Jamie said.
“A customer? Oh, I’m sorry, I completely misread the situation. I apologize. That’s terrible. I just assumed... That’s awful. Again, I’m sorry, can I show you to a table, sir?”
“Um, well, actually...”
“He wants to order take-out,” Jamie informed him.
“Take out?!” the manager said, in a booming voice that must have reached the ears of the cooks in the kitchen.
My eyes darted tensely around the corners of the restaurant, registering the appraising looks on the faces of customers, who had momentarily taken their eyes off of a prancing pair of legs or a jiggling pair of breasts in order to get a good look at the guy, wearing tortoiseshell glasses, who had come into Hooters to order take-out.
“Ooooooh, I see!” the manager said. “Listen, I completely understand. In fact, if I walked into this restaurant for lunch, I’d order take out, too. If you catch my drift.”
“Oh, no, uh...”
“And you know what else? I don’t think they would have hired me to manage this place unless I was the type of guy who would walk in here and order take-out. In fact, the last manager who worked here was not the type of guy who would walk in here and order take-out, and as you can imagine there were big problems.”
“Andy isn’t gay, Bobby. He just doesn’t want to sit alone at a table,” Jamie said.
“Oooooh, I’m sorry! I completely misread the situation again! I apologize. I hope I haven’t offended you in any way.”
“No. Of course not. I have tons of gay friends. In fact, I consider it a compliment to have been mistaken as being gay.”
“Oh, well...that’s an interesting thing to say,” Bobby said. “Now, I’ll just get out of your way and let Jamie take your order. I’m sure you’re probably starving, and here we are standing around nitpicking over your sexual orientation. Again, I apologize for any incorrect conclusions I may have drawn. I hope you enjoy your lunch and have a wonderful afternoon.”
He hurried off into the kitchen, bursting through the swinging doors, and barking out orders…but appeared again momentarily in the circular kitchen door window to appraise me one more time.
“I recommend the Grilled Mahi Sandwich,” Jamie said. “I had it yesterday and it’s really good, but not fried, so it’s pretty healthy.”
“That sounds great. I’ll have that,” I said.
Fish makes me nauseous, but I had no intention of contradicting a suggestion from a goddess like her.
“What would you like on the side?” she asked. “Beans, coleslaw, or potato salad?”
“Good question,” I said, enthusiastically studying the take-out menu. “Is the potato salad good here?”
“Not bad. A little mustardy, but it’s pretty good.”
“Let’s go with the potato salad then. I’m a huge mustard fan,” I said, idiotically.
“Anything to drink?”
“No thanks... Actually, yeah...a Coke, please.”
She examined my face for a moment and then said in a shy, staccato delivery, “Isn’t that funny...Bobby thought you were my...boyfriend?”
“Yeah, ha, ha, ha!”
“It’s weird, isn’t it?”
“It is weird. There must be something about us that makes us look like...we might make a good couple, ha, ha, ha.”
“Oops, I better put your order in before you die of starvation,” she said.
“Okay. Cool. Thanks... I’m psyched for that fish sandwich, it sounds amazing.”
She hurried off through the swinging doors, her hips swaying powerfully inside her Hooters issued, high cut, silky orange shorts. While she was gone, I turned and scanned the restaurant to get a quick look at some of the other Hooters Girls who were strutting about in sparkling white high tops, short shorts, and tank tops–all looking a bit like background dancers in an Olivia Newton John music video from the 1980's. They were a mesmerizing blend of blondes, brunettes, and red-heads, Caucasians, Latinas, and African Americans, all very attractive and built for success, but none of them as beautiful, wonderfully shaped, and deserving of a Hallelujah chorus as Jamie.
Jamie reappeared holding my Pepsi. “Here’s your drink,” she said, handing me the large Styrofoam cup and a straw. “Your food’ll be ready in just a few minutes.”
“Great. Thank you. You've been absolutely incredible,” I said, again idiotically.
We looked into each other’s eyes anxiously, the momentary pause in conversation having thrown off the rhythm of our flirtation.
“That’s really funny that Bobby thought you and I were dating, before he thought you were gay” she said, heroically resuscitating the subject of our previous discussion.
“Yeah. We definitely must have great chemistry or something.”
“It is funny. Very funny.”
We shared a laugh that I made sure was identical in pitch and duration. Another awkward silence followed our harmonic laugh, during which time I tried to find the courage to walk through the open doorway leading to a happier tomorrow. This was too good an opportunity to pass up: a Hooters Girl! You know, Billy, when your Grandfather was a young man, he once dated a girl who worked at this very restaurant...
“Well, I guess maybe there might be something to it,” I said to Jamie. “Maybe we should find out if it’s true.”
“Maybe we should,” she said.
“Okay, then hand over that phone number,” I said, forming my hand into a gun and pointing it at her.
She didn’t seem to get the joke, but generously laughed anyway, and said, “Okay”, before writing her name, number, email address, and Instagram account down on a cocktail napkin with a handy purple magic marker. Her handwriting matched her personality, bubbly and large–so large she needed a second cocktail napkin to get all her information down.
Soon my Grilled Mahi sandwich and potato salad arrived, and I was off after giving her a parting hug and a romantic smile that didn’t quite come off. As I happily walked home along the 3rd Street Promenade, I ate the potato salad and gave the fish sandwich to a guy with a scraggly beard, who I thought was homeless, but, in hindsight, may have been Brad Pitt.
Alexander Carver is a produced playwright and screenwriter, as well as a published author. His short stories have appeared in ZYZZYVA, Dark Matter Journal, and Foliate Oak Literary Magazine. He writes and resides in Santa Monica, California, where he is recently completed his first novel: O Jackie.