Women working in the service industry often face the uncomfortable truth that male customers more often than not misinterpret professional courtesy as flirting.
For male employees in bars, restaurants and cafes, being polite is rarely interpreted as something more than what it truly is – doing one’s job. When it comes to waitresses and female bartenders, though, being nice, smiling and sounding interested can often be seen as romantic or sexual interest.
Female staff working in hospitality frequently share stories how their professionalism has been misunderstood as flirting, and the numerous awkward, if not uncomfortable situations that often arise as a result.
Perhaps a problem as old as humanity itself, an English bar has nevertheless found a creative and effective way to deal with it. To avoid having to deal with such situations and their implications, as well protect their female employees from uncomfortable interactions and possible harassment from customers, The Beer Cellar in Exeter, Devon have created a handy sign for those confused about their female bartender’s intentions.
The bar’s sign might be perceived to be somewhat on the blunt side as it states the bleedin’-obvious, but if reason did prevail during these interactions in the first place, it seems like there wouldn’t be a need for a sign at all.
Bartender Lauren Dew explained how rough nights were the main motivation behind this corporate decision:
“We basically just printed it out after we had a very sex-pest heavy weekend about three months ago,” she explained.
“People really laugh, people support it. One percent think it’s a bit offensive, which is funny to me because those are the people it’s aimed at. I wanted to make it clear that female staff are nice to you because they have to be! And, of course, most of us are decent human beings and would be nice to you anyway, but in no way does this mean we’re dying for your ****.”