The Heimlich Position
Sex is part of the restaurant business. Think about it. Eating and sex are both activities physically linked to the emotion governing limbic system of the brain. How often have you heard someone describe the taste of food as “orgasmic?” Enjoyment of food often leads to the enjoyment of sex. I know this is true because several couples have told me they conceived their children after eating in my bistro.
Just so long as they didn’t conceive the kid in our bistro. That bathroom sink can only take so much.
Every night, waiters the world over lubricate the age old process of boy meets girl, boy buys girl dinner, girl makes boy breakfast. Isn’t it funny that after performing the horizontal rumba what a lot of people do? Eat more food! How many of us have raided the fridge after an evening of libidinal delight? Yes, eating and sex are linked. And if you’re really creative you do both at the same time.
When you go out to eat, getting laid, or the fantasy of getting laid, is often the unspoken desired result of the evening’s festivities. Good waiters know this and try to promote that possibility. When people know they’re hitting the sheets they tend to leave good tips.
But waiters are not immune to the Siren call of carnality that surrounds them. Working in stressful hot cramped quarters, bodies rubbing up against each other, watching customers tango in the dance of seduction, and the sensuality of food insure that us hooking up with one another is not only probable – it’s inevitable.
A few months ago two of my waiters, lets call them Dylan and Erica, did just that. They actually make a cute couple and, gratefully, do a good job of keeping their personal bullshit out of the workplace. (Whenever two waiters hook up – if you have a problem with one you sometimes have a problem with both.) Dylan and Erica seem to be getting serious. I wish them well. Love is priceless in this world.
Of course the other servers couldn’t leave the situation well enough alone.
Before you could say “Brando and butter,” the giggles, laughs, and innuendos started flying. Dylan and Erica took it in fairly good humor. That is until…………………
I arrive early before the dinner shift and clock in. Shlomo, our token Jewish waiter, is counting the days take from lunch. He’s wearing an evil grin.
“Look behind you,” he says smiling.
I turn around. Right next to the POS system hangs one of those “What to do if someone’s choking” posters. You’ve all seen them. By law it’s displayed in a conspicuous place. The poster’s cartoons show the proper technique for applying the Heimlich maneuver. One of the drawings demonstrates what to do if the choking victim loses consciousness. Basically, you lay the poor bastard on the floor, sit astride them, straddling your legs on either side of their lower torso, leveraging your arms to apply sharp upward abdominal thrusts to dislodge a foreign object. On our particular poster the victim is male and the rescuer female. I guess you know where this is heading.
Some miscreants labeled the figures “Dylan” and “Erica” and drew dialogue balloons all over the poster containing a variety of orgasmic vocalizations. Use your imagination.
The piece de la résistance was a cigarette drawn dangling from “Erica’s” mouth accompanied by the caption, “You’re the best Dylan!”
“Well I’ll be damned. The Heimlich Position,” I comment dryly.
“Got to add that one to the Kama Sutra,” Shlomo chirps.
“Somehow I don’t think that’s what Dr. Heimlich had in mind.”
“Well, you know what happens when you talk with your mouth full,” Shlomo guffaws.
Trust Shlomo to take it to the most prurient level. “Who did this?” I ask.
“Don’t look at me,” he shrugs.
The other waiters amble in for work. Dylan and Erica see the poster and are mortified.
“Real mature guys,” Erica bitches.
I give the mandatory “cut this shit out” talk and the waiters chortle silently, promising nothing like this will ever happen again. I’ll bet.
After the meeting breaks up I cover up the dirty bits with a magic marker. We don’t have another poster to replace it. Out of sheer perversity I leave the cigarette dangling from the figure’s mouth.
Customers look at the poster and giggle. The kitchen guys pass by, kiss their fingers, and touch the poster as if it’s some shamanic potency enhancer. Dylan and Erica ignore it. I ask Fluvio to get a new poster. One day a customer, or inspector, is going to freak.
Six months later and the poster’s still there – an amateur pornographic testament to waiter lust and the never ending confluence of food and sex. Fluvio keeps promising to get a new one. Someday.
If you choke in my restaurant you might be in for a surprise.