24 June 2010

A Reaction to Working at Hooters

Awhile back I wrote about how the Hooters blogosphere is seemingly disappearing one blogger at a time.  Where there used to be a handful of bloggers there now seems to be just one - me.  K.H. was the original blogging Hooters Girl.  As I started my blog I stumbled upon her writings and aspired to her seeming awesomeness; she was my Hooters blogging idol.

Then one day her entries simply stopped and months went by without so much as a peep from K.H.  She had seemingly vanished just as the other blogging Hooters Girls had done.  Suddenly blogging became very, very lonely.  But I blogged on because I love Hooters and I love blogging - blogging about Hooters was thus natural.

Then, as I was getting used to being the lonely blogging Hooters Girl, K.H. posted something.  A few days ago K.H. returned, but she didn't blog as she once did.  Rather than spreading Hooters witticisms and biting sarcastic humor, K.H. told about her departure from Hooters.  Here is an excerpt from what she wrote:

"It has been nearly six months since I last donned a pair of fluorescent orange hot pants and giggled over tired puns and clumsy double entendres from men twice my age, while simultaneously juggling greasy plates of wings and trying to make scrunch socks and nylons with sneakers appear sexy, all in an effort to generate income. The decision to depart from my position as one of the world famous Hooters Girls was not a difficult one to make, nor is it one that has left me with any regrets. A number of factors were involved in making the choice that I did, not the least of which was the dismal realization that my job was causing me to view roughly fifty percent of the world's population with disdain and a scornful wariness. You see, though the majority of the customers that I served during my time as a Hooters Girl, first as a waitress, then as a bartender, were basically good people, there was a small but impactful and seemingly always present group of regulars whose treatment of me, my coworkers, and women at large left a great deal to be desired, so much so that they, being the people whom I saw the most of at the time, were coloring my perspective of all men for the worse. I was avoiding going out in public alone, preferring the comfort of having my boyfriend present to deter the attentions of other men. I was no longer taking pride in my appearance, forgoing makeup and eschewing even the most mildly suggestive clothing in favor of loose sweatshirts and baggy jeans. I walked with my head down, avoiding eye contact and refraining from smiling. My formerly almost gregarious personality morphed in to one that was brusquely reticent. I simply wanted to go completely unnoticed by others, as at that point I associated any attention as being negative attention. Each of these alterations and the corresponding reasons behind them were made as a direct result of the treatment that I received while at work, and though the changes were not made consciously, they did not go unobserved, either. Of course, it was not long until I grew weary of scurrying through life in fear of being acknowledged, of the feelings of loathing derision each time my defenses failed and I heard the murmured words of appreciation as I hurried past yet another leering man. My new manner of living was only fostering the contempt that was growing inside of me, both for the male gender and for myself."

Reading this, I was frankly alarmed that working at Hooters would cause a person to have such a negative personal life experience.  In over two years of working at Hooters I have never seen such an adverse reaction to donning the orange shorts.  I have seen a number of woman dislike the shorts, but never become a seeming different person.  While I was worried about K.H., I was more worried that what she wrote made it appear as if this was a common occurrence at Hooters.  It makes it seem as if Hooters can kill a woman's self-esteem.  It makes Hooters seem like a bad guy.

I cannot disagree more with K.H.'s assertion that Hooters destroys one's self-esteem.  Personally, I think Hooters has made me more confident and more comfortable in my skin.  Hooters has not made me less gregarious, but made me less self-conscious of being goofily outgoing.  It has not negatively colored my perception of men, but rather made me realize most people are generally good, kind and polite.  Obviously there are exceptions to this but these few exceptions hardly cause me to judge men or people as a whole.  To do so would frankly be close-minded.

Now I'm not saying K.H.'s experience is invalid or untrue; I feel bad that she feels her job has done this to her.  What I am saying is that this experience is hardly the norm.  In the end each person reacts to situations differently due to a vast number of individualized traits and experiences.  This was just one reaction to the situation that is working at Hooters - it is hardly the normal reaction. 

So what is the normal reaction to working at Hooters?  From my own experience, and the experience of many of my coworkers, I would say Hooters makes you more confident.  Not so much confident in your looks or body (thought it certainly has that affect on many), but confident in yourself as a person.  It takes a certain personality to be a Hooters Girl and that personality thrives on confidence.  A confidence that grows at Hooters.

I wish K.H. the best in her future endeavors whatever they may be.  While it is obvious Hooters perhaps wasn't the perfect fit for her I still aspire to her awesomeness.  H.HHH

20 comments:

  1. Wow, that is really sad that her job caused her so much emotional turmoil. I cannot speak about that specifically, but jobs in general have a habit of making people jaded perhaps. I work at a life insurance company and deaths=large sums of money out the door. So in times of market volatility, where we take those life insurance premiums and hedge them into the open market - deaths leave us with less money to invest in market. This causes some of the people I work with to remark disdainfully at the dead, but it is like...whoa dude...what are you saying? They died...You might have to do more work to get your desired effects due to the deaths when it comes to your portfolio performance...But your inconvenience is nothing compared to the people who died. I mean it is the end for them, whereas you are still breathing and have the luxury to complain about having to process more papers/contracts...whatnot. The euphemisms are even worse, rather than death claims...we label them withdrawals/surrenders. Is that sick or what? They lost their life, but we consider that a withdrawal of their assets or a surrender of their investments since they "surrendered" their lives. Also once you meet strangers at bars as an "investment professional" people grill you about the best investment choices, but they really do not understand how complex the market can be and how their meager savings are chump change compared to long horn investment companies...but that is neither here nor there maybe.

    Glad you have a good and positive outlook about your job. They say that if you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life.

    Cheers!

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  2. jonsouthard@gmail.comJune 24, 2010 at 10:02 PM

    You are so a typical Hooters girl. I bet you ask for directions and you are blonde too. Stop wasting peoples time letting the world know you are brainwashed by Hooters. Punk is taking over baby. Email me jonsouthard@gmail.com. Let's get kinky and down baby.

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  3. I'm a hardly a typical Hooters Girl. But then again, I'm not so sure your idea of a typical Hooters Girl even exists. I'm glad that you took the time to pigeonhole me without even taking the time to read anything I've written. The whole point of this blog is dispel all the Hooters cliches. But you obviously didn't get that far.

    For the record I'm not blonde and I don't need to ask for directions because generally I know where I'm going. But what's wrong with asking for directions anyway?

    Punk is dead...be original for a minute.

    Oh and I hope lots of people email you since you left it so nicely in my comments!

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  4. Sauce, K.H.'s post sort of hit a chord with me and what I am going through in my life and my recent choice to leave Hooters. Aside from Kory being in OR, I found myself feeling somewhat (maybe not so depressing or dramatic) like K.H. I loved the atmosphere, the people, the fun job and fast money ...but I started to feel jaded and hate the attention (this is coming from someone who posts dancing videos on facebook ;) )

    While I still am confident and maintain a high self-esteem, I feel like I owe some of it to Hooters, because like you, I found that my personality and goofyness makes me attractive (which is refreshing sometimes when all you hear are creeps commenting your chest).

    I suppose some people have a better tolerance for becoming "hootered-out" than others, or are able to brush bad days off their sholders, or can refuse to let the owner 'get' to them, I dont know...maybe there is some Hooterific gene that some of us are born with?

    Anyways, sorry to ramble :) You are a very talented and refreshing Hooters Girl and as we come and go through this era called 'Hooters' we will always have orange shorts :)

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  5. http://frugalfashionista-kate.blogspot.comJune 25, 2010 at 6:17 AM

    johnsouthard@gmail - guys like YOU are the ones that make women not want to leave the house in flattering clothing. way to leer at her after she took the time to point out all guys aren't creepers... you are obviously one of the ones that make hooters a bad experience for these girls!

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  6. 5 years total I spent in the Hoots world and I would go back to it in a second.....if you are having the type of problems she talks about.....it's likely you need to look within. Any experience is what you make of it and what you take from it and you have the choice to care about your appearance and demand respect. In 5 years I only had 2 customers ever disrespect me....and I let them know about it right away. I made one leave and I announced it to the rest of the customers... without eating and made him pay before he left. I litterally drug the other one out by his ear and told him to come back when he learned how to respect women!!! Did I mention he was with 26 of his close friends who witnessed the entire thing and paid for his food that he didn't get to eat since I would not allow him back in the building. People treat you the way you want them to and it you don't have the ability to demand respect they won't!!! Kudos girl I love the blog!

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  7. K.H.'s reaction to her Hooters experience seems to be quite dramatic and as you mentioned, probably quite atypical. Reading through her blog post though, I kinda felt bad for her. But I suppose as with anything in life, everyone reacts differently, right?

    And as for jonsouthard@gmail.com... ugh. He's the type of guy that gives guys a bad name.

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  8. jonsouth sounds like a weirdo, but i am sure you are used to putting up with weirdos, at least YOU are happy, forget about the rest!

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  9. Yeah, I actually can understand how working at Hooters could make someone cynical about men or have certain kinds of issues, but K.H.'s post is obviously very extreme (having trouble going out in public and all that). I can also see how working at Hooters could make someone more comfortable with themselves and other people though. I had one friend at a different "breastaurant" (same idea as Hooters, but somewhat skimpier outfits), and her experience of it was that on any given night, most of her tables were just like normal tables at a restaurant, and one was on the creepier side. But there are things you have to deal with in any job and, look, waitressing, especially at a place like Hooters, isn't meant to be a lifetime position. You can make good money, from what I understand, and have fun for a while. Probably most people will get tired it of it sooner or later too, in which case, quit. And if you're having trouble going out in public or anything like that, obviously, quit. The only other thing I would add is that of all the places and ways that women are judged on there appearance, my impression is that Hooters isn't the worst by far. It's still not going to be for everyone. But I've seen nothing which leads me to believe that many, or most, young women couldn't handle it.

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  10. I think jonsouthard@gmail.com was just joking around...ya'll need to take a chill pill if that is really Sauce writing, it doesn't seem like her who wrote that comment.

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  11. I must say that I'm surprised that women are calling K.H.'s response to her job "extreme."

    I've never met a person that wasn't somehow emotionally invested in their work, and if her investment brought about bitterness (due to a negative work environment), that is actually quite typical.

    Her comments are not at all strange. The idea that she needs to look "within" is valid for all of us. We must all be invited to see our true selves, what really motivates us, what really ticks us off, and etc.

    I think it is honorable that K.H. was so honest about how she felt. I don't work at Hooters, but when I'm in a position where men are too forthright or too overbearing, it does affect the way I carry myself, the way I interact with other males. That's 100% valid.

    If I worked with a man who was constantly ogling my breast, I would be more inclined to wear high-necked shirts.

    And if I had to deal with that every day, I would be emotionally affected after some time.

    By writing this blog, you are asking us not to be critical of your choices. Yet, these posts and this reply to K.H. seem very critical.

    She is not weak because she felt uncomfortable. She's human.

    TJM

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  12. It was not my intent to seem critical of K.H., I was just trying to show that this response is not typical of experiences of working at Hooters. I was also quite concerned - as I tried to make obvious - that K.H. did have this negative experience.

    I really do apologized if I seemed brash or unconcerned because this certain was not the case.

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  13. TJM writes "If I worked with a man who was constantly ogling my breast, I would be more inclined to wear high-necked shirts. And if I had to deal with that every day, I would be emotionally affected after some time."

    I understand this. I wouldn't be comfortable with it either. But then wouldn't the obvious thing to do be not to work at Hooters in the first place? The fact is, many women can and do handle it though. And since I used the word "extreme" in my post, I just meant it in reference to K.H.'s apparently trying to avoid going out in public. Whether or not that was understandable, it's still an extreme situation to be in. That's all I meant by using the word. And if someone is in that sort of situation, obviously they need to try to get out of it, as she did. But I don't think that working at Hooters has that effect on most young women is all.

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  14. Hey Sauce! I know it seems dissapointing that K.H. had such a bad experience, but I can say that I had a bad experience working/training at Hooters for that one week I worked there. I would say that you are VERY lucky to work with such great coworkers and the like, because I know for a fact that it isn't the case in many other Hooters. Maybe it's because you work at a corporate Hooters and that your general experience has been a positive one. As for me, I worked at a franchise and just being there for a few days killed me. I was objectified by mostly management and other HG's and to tell you the truth, it was very sad. The managers and girls were very mean to even applicants and would insult them in there face. If you haven't read my post on the experience then please do..message me if you want to know a little more. Anyways, in K.H.'s defense, I can see how it may have hurt her perception on men "/ . On another note, as an ex-HG, I do enjoy your blog very much and continue to follow you because of your great writting skills. I hope to one day get back in my orange shorts and feel good about working there. :)
    Sincerely,
    N.K

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  15. I actually don't work in a corporate Hooters, it's also a franchise, but being new corporate still visits us from time to time.

    That's the world of franchises - their all different.

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  16. I visit your blog first time it is so nice and lovely. These girl are lovely. I am sure your find the way to do this.

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  17. I stumbled on your blog by accident while looking up the Hooters I work at here in St.Thomas (a franchise) and I agree with you. I love working there and i have gained a lot of confidence ever since. The orange shorts?? not a big deal, yeah the outfit could be updated but whatever, the new shorts are much better. All the girls i work with look forward to Fridays and event nights so we can wear black- our fav! I go to school, but i always come back during my breaks to work and make money. Hooty Hoo! ;)

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  18. I think it's sad when a girl feels like her self esteem is lowered by the place she works- if K.H was feeling like that, i absolutely agree with her decision of leaving. However, I definitely agree with your view on the topic- working at Hooters takes balls, it's clear to see even when you're just a customer; people will make lewd remarks, and it takes a lot of courage that people don't like to give the Hooters girls credit for.

    I think a blog like this is so important, because it shows that Hooters girls aren't just pieces of meat with fake boobs; they're people with brains and from what i've seen when eating there, they have an extra ordinary amount of control not to bitch slap some of those assholes across the face. Kudos, Sauce, I love the blog. Keep writing!

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  19. I'm completely agreeing with k.h. I've been at Hooters for 3 years. I've worked every position possible in my store. I used to love my job but after regulars treating me like complete shit on a daily basis, I despise it. Working at Hooters is coming close to making me give up on all faith in humanity.Every single day regulars call me a bitch and tell me I'll never finish my schooling and that I'll be working at Hooters forever. Managers do nothing about this.

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  20. I've been working at Hooters for four months now. I am trying to save up for a car, and thought it would be easy, fast cash (which it mainly has been) however, I can completely already understand that young woman's disdain to Hooter's already. For example, I'll start with the regulars. They are mainly annoying. They ask you over when the answer has been no a million times before, they get antsy and irritated when you spend time other tables, and many make completely inappropriate remarks to boot! Now, I know what I signed up for when I applied at Hooters...men will be men, and we are working in an image based company. However, I still fully expect to be treated with respect, this is not a strip club, and there are so many days I DO NOT want to go in just because I know I have to prepare myself mentally to listen to these men's life stories, laugh at their unbearable suggestive/corny jokes, and wear those awful panty hose. This all sounds like my general feelings towards my job are negative, but there are aspects that I love about it as well. I love my friends there, my management, the easy cash, and it is overall the easiest waitressing job I have EVER had. If you are one of those women who are already heavily jaded by men however, this may not be the best job choice to consider. This job can make you more wary towards men, but you have to stay strong and stay focused on that money!

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