A spectre is haunting my weekend– that spectre is Hooters.
My group of close friends doesn’t get the chance to hang out often, but when we do, there’s an elephant in the room. That elephant is wearing a tight tank top, orange shorts, and nylon leggings.
It all started a few years back. The golf course we frequented was located within a close proximity to the world famous breastaurant known as Hooters. After a solid morning round, it just seemed natural to drop by for some cold beers, sports, and wings, because that’s what guys do. It was harmless at first. Once a month, or so. But once a month soon became twice a month, and twice a month turned into once a week.
Before I even realized what was happening, my weekend foursome had turned into regulars at a place you really don’t want to be regulars at. That’s not at all meant to besmirch the delightfully tacky yet unrefined establishment. The wings are above average, the chicken sandwich is vastly underrated, and the game watching scene is respectable. But, the stigma attached to being a regular at Hooters is less than ideal.
This is hard to write because I’m normally more self-aware than this. The fact that I didn’t pick up on the signs that were blatantly obvious is downright embarrassing. Waitresses began calling us by name, some were even friended on Facebook, and the pregnant hostess who barely looked 16 knew exactly what section we wanted to sit in before we even got through the door. How could I be so blind?
When it finally dawned on me, I remember exactly where I was. It was a Friday afternoon, and I was feverishly working the group text looking for something to do that night. Naturally, nothing concrete came from my inquiry, but one response left me petrified at my desk.
Well, I’m at Hooters already so I’ll be good to go whenever.
I couldn’t believe it. I had to know more.
What are you doing at Hooters at 1 p.m. on Friday?
Looking back, my question probably harbored a judgmental tone. And rightly so.
Came by for lunch after my meeting was canceled. I’m just up here by myself watching SportsCenter.
My stomach sank. I grabbed my trashcan because the chance of me losing my lunch was very real. Even though I wasn’t there, I may as well have been. My friend represented our entire weekend golf group, and he had just crossed the threshold. He was officially a regular. So was I, by proxy.
He went rogue, and I’ll never know why. I don’t know if it was the dark haired waitress who he thought he had a real chance with, or maybe he just genuinely enjoyed the atmosphere and wings. It didn’t matter, though. We were forever going to be “those guys” — those guys who normal Hooters patrons, the ones who stop by for novelty purposes after a game look at and think, “Those guys must never get laid.” Those guys who are requesting a specific waitress by name when they enter. Those guys who don’t even open the menu when they sit down because they already know what wings (bone-in), and what sauce (hot) they’ll be ordering.
I can’t go back. I haven’t gone back. Each weekend, I find a new excuse for why I can’t cap off a nice Sunday with a few wings. I’ve used diet, errands, money, and exhaustion as excuses, but I haven’t worked up the courage to admit to the group what we’ve become. And that’s on me. I’ll even offer up sensible alternatives, but to no avail. It all goes back to Hooters. But I don’t. Not anymore..