I was in Nashville recently and we popped into one of the million bars on Broadway on a Friday night to drink, dance, and be merry. The band was – to nobody’s surprise – amazing. Pure heat. Auditory cocaine. The night was off to a great start; we were on a torrid pace.
Me and my small bladder were ready for a pee break pretty early on. So I did like the locals do and went to the bathroom. And low and behold, there was a bathroom attendant in the shoebox of a bathroom at this Nashville bar. Crap. I looked at my phone, saw it was only 10:30, and realized I had about four hours’ worth of bathroom breaks left with this guy (unless one of the countless Pedal Tavern bachelorette parties that came rolling through wanted to take the party to their hotel). But seeing as how my bachelorette party fantasy was probably more unrealistic than Jordan Rodgers actually being into JoJo for the right reasons, I estimated I would have probably six more interactions with this bathroom attendant.
And guess what? Surprise! I hated it.
Look – I’m not a bad guy. I hate people in general, but overall I’m a people person. So of course I was friendly with the guy. Chatted him up. Told him I was from Boston after he pumped a bunch of soap on my hands (sidenote – bathroom attendants are the only people on earth who think taking a leak warrants assaulting your hands in Dial). He told me he respected the Patriots as he brushed the lint off my shoulders; a savvy move if you’re looking for a tip, if you ask me. And then once he shoved about a half a tree worth of paper towels into my hands, I walked out.
No matter how hard I danced, I couldn’t sweat out all the Tito’s and soda. Believe me, I tried. The bathroom and the attendant loomed large. I couldn’t help myself from thinking “Would he remember me? Would he recognize my awesome Travis Matthew T-shirt I snagged over at Man Outfitters? If so, he’ll know I didn’t tip him the last time. If he asks me where I’m from again, don’t tell him Boston.” When I zipped up, he was doing the whole song and dance with some other schmuck. I saw a hole to the door, like a lineman set me up with a perfect block. I whisked myself out the door.
Okay, at this point you’re probably saying to yourself “wow, Brostonian is a cheap dick.” You’d be wrong. About the cheap part, anyway. I didn’t have cash so I didn’t give the guy a few bucks, but it’s not the money I was worried about. It’s the principle of the thing. I can have an absolutely perfect bathroom experience sans attendant. It would be like if your work put in a valet in the front of the building. You can park your own damn car. Or like if a bartender poured you a drink. Hellooooo, I can just reach across and do it myself.
I don’t want this bathroom attendant thing to catch on. I really don’t. But they seem to be at a lot of bars that try to masquerade as higher end joints. I don’t want it shoved down my throat. Especially when I’m being a sloppy drunk at a bar. Maybe at a nice formal event it’d be nice to have a lint roller ran across the back of my suit. But at the bar? No chance.
As for the money: it’s 2016. It’s rare that I’m ever carrying cash. So if I don’t tip the guy, it’s because I don’t have any bills. And this just puts me in an awful spot. If I chat with him, he’s going to be really tuned in to the fact that I didn’t tip. And if I blow past the guy, he’s going to think I’m ignoring him because I don’t want to pay him the time of day, which isn’t entirely true. If I knew I could chat with the guy and there would be zero judgment when I don’t tip him, then there wouldn’t be a problem. But that’s not realistic. He’s going to judge me eight ways ‘til Tuesday, and that’s the part that irks me. Instead of cash, can I just buy this guy a beer before his shift ends?
The next night, by varying circumstances, we ended up at the same bar. And there he was again, the bathroom attendant. But this time, I was prepared. I had some money – because I learned I needed to tip the band – and made it a point to drop in a few shekels for the attendant. I wished him a great night, and was on my way. It was fine for a night, but seriously, I really don’t want to get in a habit with this thing.
I know a guy’s gotta make a buck, but I’d prefer it be done outside my bathroom. There are too many awkward situations that we’re forced to deal with, and worrying about navigating the bathroom at the bar shouldn’t be one of them..
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