Today we were supposed to go out for a lunch date with my nephew, Zach. We were celebrating his 17th birthday, and we (wife, daughter, daughter’s BF, and Zach) were all going to go to Carrabba’s Italian Grill in Westminster. I was in the mood for Italian food, so I was actually looking forward to this. But, Zach has come down with some sort of bug, which had him in bed early, up during the night to throw up, and in no mood for anything to eat. Well, when life gives you lemons, you mix it with vodka and have yourself a party. (Tip of the hat to Ron White).
I decided that today, the first reasonably warm Saturday in a month, that we should go visit the Hooters in Loveland, CO.
It’s about an hour drive from Brighton. A drive of that distance for the sole reason of visiting a Hooter’s restaurant seemed borderline obsessive. So of course I decided to rationalize to make it all better. We (Margo and I) would not only visit a Hooters restaurant, but we could also go over to the movie complex right next door (relatively speaking) and see Alvin and the Chipmunks II: The Squeakquel, or whatever the new CG rodent movie is called. This sounded like a lame attempt even to me, but it was the best I had, so I took a shot. I must remember to buy a lottery ticket, because she went for it!
Now I don’t know if she finds my Hooters writing entertaining, and she thought it was time for a new story. Or maybe, she was stunned that I would offer to take her to a movie that I wasn’t particularly thrilled to see.
Or, possibly she was overwhelmed by cabin fever, and the thought of getting outside in sunshine and 40 degree temps had her in a state of delirium. But whatever the reason, 20 minutes later (a relative instant concerning my wife), we were on our way!
Close up. I love my new camera
I made pretty good time getting to the land of Orange and Owls. I know that surprises you. When we got there I took a few pictures of the outside with my brand new camera. This was a surprise gift from The Greatest Wife in the World, and I was anxious to break it in. What better way than to take pictures of pretty girls in a place with the motto “Hooters Makes You Happy”?
We walked in and was greeted by a hostess, something not every Hooters has.
You can tell their position in the company by their khaki shorts. As every red blooded American (and at least one enlightened Irishman) boy knows, Hooters girls wear very brief shorts, in a shade of orange that would make an Hunter’s Safety Instructor proud. The hostesses wear normal kaki shorts and try to focus distracted males on choosing a table, so the business of food and beer can begin. Luckily, I was accompanied by my undistracted wife, who would lead me to a table. I was startled out of my daze when The Greatest Wife in the World, who has an occasional lapse in judgment, was about to seat me in the chair that faced the wall! Had she lost her mind! Did she forger where we were? I considered that for the briefest of instants, and concluded that it was just force of habit. She always like to people watch and chooses the side with the best view. Not today, dear.
Owls are Hooters. (really)
Soon our Hooters Girl (official title) came over.
She went through the pleasantries, placed a notepad size piece of paper on our table, which she wrote her name on, took our appetizer and drink order, and disappeared. She was very pretty (duh?), but seemed a little off the normal Hooters Girl standard, at this point. Usually Hooters girls are very cheerful, a touch flirty, and almost always flash enough teeth to embarrass a used car salesman. Ashley was just at normal waitress level right now. I know these girls have to put up with a lot of annoyances through the course of their day. Both my daughters have worked as waitresses and it is not a job for everyone. These Hooters Girls are also supposed to be actresses playing a part (It says so in their Employee Handbook!), and not all guys are respectful. Me, I’m a little angel. If I wasn’t my wife would beat the crap out of me.
Birthday party in progress
Anyway, as I was contemplating the myriad of things that could have Ashley off her game, or maybe I was staring at another Hooters Girl, I forget which, Amelia makes an appearance.
Amelia is another attractive (imagine that) young lady dressed in the modern Hooters uniform (Hooters changed the shorts the girls are required to use last year. As a trained observer I picked right up on it, and pointed it out to my wife. She rolled her eyes.). Amelia brought us our drinks and appetizer and ended up taking our food order.
The Hooters Saga
When Amelia sauntered, sacheted, walked, or whatever Hooter girls officially do when they approach a table (I must confess that usually all I see is jiggling, but I am easily distracted), Amelia had signed her name on that same notepad piece of paper. I have seen waitresses write their names on napkins or such, so their patrons would remember their names. But since Hooters name tags are strategically placed, this is usually not a concern. So here was a mystery of sufficient proportion to snap me back into reality.
Had Ashley gone on break, and Amelia taken over as our Hooters Girl? Had Amelia usurped our table? Had we become the inadvertent catalyst in a peroxide turf war? Would there be a cat fight, over the privilege to serve me? (Stop laughing, Padraig. It could happen)
or something like that
I was all a dither waiting to see what would come of it. Surely when our food was brought this mystery would be solved. Amelia would bring it, and confirm that she was our new server. If Ashley was absent, it would mean she was on break and civil war was averted. If Amelia returned with our food, and Ashley witnessed this breech of protocol, surely there would be blood, tearing of cloths, and possibly a wardrobe malfunction. If Ashley brought our food and noticed the treachery of the new name defiling her note, we would be back to the blood, and loss of clothing part.
I ask you could this drama possibly take place at Chili's?
The paper that started it all
Ashley returned laden with beef and potato products. As she gave us our food, asked me if I needed mustard (ketchup is already on the table. Such efficiency.) she glanced at the note. This was it. The answer was at hand. I was very curious as to how the loathing would register in Ashley’s eyes. Would it be shock and then explosive rage? Or would it be a narrowing of the eyes that told us this had happened before, but would be the last time? When I looked into her lovely brown eyes, she just smiled and asked if I needed anything else. I was so shocked I almost forgot to stare at her orange shorts as she walked away.
This was truly a puzzle.
I contemplated this for several seconds, before something distracted me (I don’t recall what), and soon half of my meal was gone. It was then that a second Ashley visited our table to find out how we were doing. Personally, I was doing just fine. Pretty girls were making a point to visit my table and talk to me. Some of them would bring me food or beer. All were wearing skimpy clothing, and my wife was not shooting daggers out of her eyes. I’m sure this must be similar to the Waiting Room while you are processed into heaven. Just before she walked away with our mostly empty appetizer dish, she added her name to the paper. Curiouser and curiouser.
Testing the zoom on my new camera. (it works)
This was getting distracting. I was almost forgetting to look at the five Hooter girls as they went about their tasks. A full 60% of the staff had visited my table, and I didn’t know why.
I was about to conclude it was my wit, charm, and charisma when a 4th lady made her way to our table. She immediately added her name to the crowded little note. Reason having eluded me, I concluded that I had to ask her what this was about.
Trying to get a good shot with my camera. (Amelia)
Amanda (Did they only hire girls with name that start with “A”?) sweetly informed me that it was a new combination policy and competition. As each girl visits a table to bring food, beer, remove dishes, or otherwise assist with the Hooters experience (so to speak), they write their names on the paper. The papers are then turned into the manager at the conclusion of the meal. At the end of a period of time, the girl with the most names wins a prize. The person who thought of this is a genius! Give incentive to have the pretty girls all circulate to all tables around the room, leaving joy and smiles in their wake.
Tips increase. Breast intoxicated men return again and again. Money flows. The economy is saved!
I felt it working on me. There was this magical pull. I felt the overwhelming need to have another beer. So I order one. I was even pleased when Ashley the Original didn’t bring it when she came near our table again, as I decided to change my order, and she got to come to visit me again. I asked Ashley about getting a photo. This particular restaurant would gather up all the girls for you and take a picture with their own camera and make you an 8 x10 print for $10. In the interest of economic stimulation I decided I must have one.
I also asked Ashley to take one with me, with my own, brand new camera.
She brightly agreed. By the way, her overall Hooters persona had returned much earlier. I suspect earlier she had been dwelling on the Broncos season, as today was the first day of the playoffs. That depressing series of thoughts would have brought any normal person to tears. It is a testament to Ashley’s fortitude and dedication that she was only at normal waitress level before, and not crippled by suicidal thoughts.
I am persistent
Anyway. Picture. Margo, the Greatest Wife in the World, but not the most mechanically inclined person, was operating the camera. I had my arm around Ashley’s waist, as Margo fumbled with the unfamiliar camera. Tragic, having to wait like that. Compounding this was the fact that Margo did not like how the first picture turned out. She claimed it had a glare. I take it back! Margo is not the Greatest Wife in the World; she is the Smartest Wife in the World! If she got me in the proper befundled and distracted mood, my wallet would be putty in her hands.
The opportunity for further economic stimulus would be huge! Somebody should tell Obama about this. The taxpayers would be saved a lot of pain.
Ashley looks suspious. Perhaps she has figured out what Margo was up to
Once the second picture was taken, Ashley proceeded to the front to the restaurant and began to clap her hands. Through my numerous visits to Hooters Restaurants across this land, I have come to recognize this as the Hooters secret summoning charm. Harry Potter ain’t got nothin' on them. The girls all were magically pulled to the front of the restaurant. I felt a pull as well. Suddenly I was standing before five beautiful ladies, one of which asked if and I quote “Do you want to be in the middle?” The words “Hell, Yeah!” burst forth from my lips without conscience thought. The Smartest Wife in the World had already unsheathed my camera and was taking full advantage.
She got a shot off before the manager (HE was not nearly as pretty as the ladies) appeared and took the official picture.
My autographed picture. Aren't you jealous?
We had already taken care of our ticket back at the table, so while waiting by the gift counter, for our picture to be printed, the Smartest Wife in the World asked “Should we get this for Jessi?”, motioning to a shirt. “Hell, yeah!” again made an automatic appearance. I think I saw an evil smirk on The Smartest Wife in the World, but I could have just been confused. She soon led me to the car and motioned towards the outdoor mall. “The theater is over that way.” “Hell, Yeah” was heard, and then we were gone.