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