Graphic: Nicole Antonuccio | Photo: Teri Dixon/Getty Images

Dear Salty,

If a customer finds you attractive, is it weird for them to leave their phone number on the check? Thanks in advance.

Jack

Hey Jack,

Are you coming on to me? Oh, you were talking hypothetically. Right. That’s how it always goes for me these days.

Your question—as with all matters of the heart—is complicated, and depends on the details of your particular situation.

My first question is: Are you a regular at the particular spot where Miss Jessica Rabbit works? If so, you’ve got a bit more to lose than a non-regular. If she’s usually working while you’re there, things could feel awkward if she doesn’t text you, or they could get even more awkward if she does.

As you may remember from my answer to “Would you ever sleep with a regular?”, I’ve been there, banged that, sort of regretted it. I lost a perfectly good, steady customer over a messy one-night stand that the older and wiser Salty knows to avoid.

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This isn’t to say you should never try to ask a server out if you’re a regular, just that you need to tread lightly and think of what’s at stake. Are you going to be hurt if she doesn’t call? Will you stop eating at a perfectly good restaurant over it? Most days, I’d rather have a great chicken sandwich than a boyfriend, so I’d personally err on the side of the restaurant.

My second question is: What’s motivating you to ask her out in the first place? Do you know much about her? Has she shown any interest in you? (Note: Being polite is not an indication of sexual desire.) If it’s just a fleeting physical attraction for her, Jack, there are lots of pretty fish in the sea, including ones that don’t work at your regular lunch spot.

Finally, I’d urge you to think through exactly how you leave your number. Do it as simply as possible to avoid being creepy: Just your name, and your number. No hearts, no poems, no “I’ve been watching you serve my tuna melt for weeks now.”

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A colleague of mine was telling me how she once left her number for this cute bartender, and got a polite text back that night: “Hey, flattered you left your number but I actually have a girlfriend. Have a good night!” This is about the most ideal brush-off possible—no bruised egos, no awkwardness. But keep in mind, your server’s response might not be so kind, if it comes at all.


Got a question about dining out etiquette? Or are you a server/bartender with a horror story the world needs to hear? Email us: salty@thetakeout.com.

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The Salty WaitressSalty Waitress is The Takeout’s advice column from a real-life waitress that will teach you how not to behave like a garbage person while dining out—and maybe in real life.