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I was recently at a sports bar with my parents, and we had an attractive waitress. We had a few interactions that made me think she was flirting with me. First, she said she liked my mustache; then, she asked me how old I was and seemed surprised to hear I was only 21. Finally, when we left, I caught her looking at me. It seemed like she was giving me the look.
I didn’t do anything in the moment—but when I got home, I visited the restaurant’s Facebook page and found a picture of her. That led me to her personal Facebook profile. I thought about messaging her—should I?
—Star-Crossed at the Sports Bar
Baby. Angel. My little choco-nana pancake. Look at me. Look at Salty. You lookin’? All right, read my lips, which are coated in the same shade of lipstick I’ve been wearing since before you were born:
Do not track down your restaurant server online.
Please, please, crackers and cheese, do not do that. I’m not trying to make you feel like a creep—you seem like a sweetie, and at your tender age, there’s a good chance you’re not yet acquainted with the ways of the world. Still, I’m gonna tell you exactly why it’s inappropriate to find your server—or any hospitality worker—on social media, unless they explicitly encourage you to do so.
Your server is just doing her job. Serving is a customer-facing hospitality role, and it requires us to keep a bright, shiny smile on our faces, even when the going gets stickier than the Maple Syrup Incident of ’92. As a server, making friendly conversation is part of the gig. Sometimes, that includes complimenting a well-appointed mustache. Sometimes, it involves teasing a regular about their khaki pants. It’s fun, harmless banter, and it often makes the difference between a so-so service experience and a stellar night out. (Which hopefully translates to a solid tip.)
I’m not saying that your server wasn’t genuinely complimenting your ’stache. She could’ve been into it! But, Star-Crossed, you have to remember that women in the hospitality industry have an especially high bar to clear with each and every customer interaction. If we’re feeling quiet or pensive, we’re labeled as bitchy. If we let our smiles falter, we risk a shoddy tip. We’re often expected to fawn over our customers—much more so than our male coworkers do.
“But, Salty,” you might protest. “What if it’s a genuine meet-cute? What if we’re soul mates?” Sweet pea, you could be soul mates. But tracking down a server on social media isn’t the way to find out.
If you feel like you’re really clicking with a server, my advice is to leave your number with your receipt—and a large tip—as you’re leaving the restaurant. That way, the ball is in your server’s court. They can ignore your digits and pocket the tip, or they can reach out after their shift and set up a little somethin’.
Don’t ask them out in real time; they’ve got enough plates to juggle without having to let you down easy. But feel free to leave a nice note and invite them to connect if they’re interested. You and your server could end up as cozy as a pair of poached eggs on toast. You never know.
I know, I know—reaching out on social media is a lot easier and less nerve-racking than leaving a note on the table. But sending a message directly to your server’s personal Facebook profile sends another, more sinister message. It reminds servers that their customers have access to them no matter what, even after they’ve clocked out. That’s not a good feeling.
In conclusion, Star-Crossed: You seem like a nice fella. But Facebook-sleuthing isn’t the best way to get a server’s attention.