I always thought the being an unemployed writer who writes unpublished novels and lengthy essays about random topics with tangential asides was the hardest job out there, but after yesterday and last night I know it’s not. Last night’s event was the Hooters Super Pool Party, which, beginning in the afternoon, gave me a chance to observe these wild and only somewhat understood creatures, a chance that convinced me their job is much harder than mine.
I’m not being sarcastic. On top of the obvious lack of magazines pictured above, it really does seem like a pretty tough job. From a distance it might look as though they just hang out and smile and try and spread non-holiday cheer like a small army of non-seasonal Santa Clauses, but that’s from a distance. Spend a few hours at an event and in the VIP lounge with them and you’ll see a whole other side to the existence of a Hooter’s calendar girl.
The night started with an hour of calendar autographs for a line that seemed to keep growing as it moved through, like one of those little black tabs you light on the fourth of July that snakes into a spiraling cylinder of ash. I’m not suggesting the signing of calendars is tough, I’ve covered the backs of dozens of diner receipts with signature practice in case I ever found myself in such a situation, but signing again and again for an hour without breaking your smile for a second all the while complying with what I can only guess are all kinds of interesting address requests isn’t something I’d enjoy.
If you’re like me, you might be thinking it’s only an hour of work before they get paid to party in VIP lounges all night, because in passing, that’s what it looks like, but only in passing. We hung out in corner of one of these lounges for a stretch and actually talked to a few of the girls. They were nice, engaging and even seemed comfortable, but they always looked as thought they were waiting for the next guy to ask for a picture or carpet-bomb them with compliments. And, of course, when the brunette from North Carolina started chatting to my friend Matt about her idea for an iPhone app (which was a really good idea), a venture beyond the top level “you’re attractive” conversation I’m sure they’re drawn into constantly, she got interrupted for a picture (one I’m sure was much less awesome than the one we took below with Matt and another girl).
Don’t get me wrong, I am sure they love their jobs, they have to be any good at them. You can’t get paid to smile if you aren’t happy. But after hanging out with them for a while and watching them defy the cool Atlantic breeze in scant outfits while reaching for iPhones only to remember they had no place to put them, all the while making sure hundreds of guys were having a good time, I definitely have a new appreciation for what they do.
After the girl pictured above beat Matthew in Checkers on one of those cool Surface tables, and Uncle Cracker* finished rocking out his last unyetrocked riffs, we headed out on the town. The first bar we went to had glasses of bacon out on the bar as though they were peanuts. After a few beers and some hearty laughs I found myself crunchy on salty sticks of late night pork, a final affirmation that there are definitely jobs that include less bacon and are much harder than mine, and a Hooters Girl is one of them.
*I wish I had a funny joke about Uncle Cracker and Mr. Peanut, but I can’t think of one. Darn sleep deprivation.