I now present my new friend Shawn in his own words:
When Sauce first mentioned that she wanted to blog about me, my heart kind of stopped for a second. When she told me she sometimes gets upwards of 1,000 views a day and also writes for the Hooters magazine, I began looking for a defibrillator! Over the course of five years and 249 previous Hooters stores visited since I lost the now-infamous Steelers Super Bowl bet of 2005/06, I’d actually managed to keep a fairly low profile. Yes, I’ve got 1,300 friends on a Facebook profile that documents the crazy adventures of my French Maid alter ego, Shawna the Maid. But by and large, I’d successfully avoided anything approaching real media.
The panic passed, though. I knew Sauce would treat me well. And she was even sweet enough to post pictures that obscure my identity because, as she mentioned, I do have a real life running two businesses … and clients who might see the humor – but not the professional benefit – of personally knowing the Official Bitch of the Hooters Girls.
|Shawn with the ladies of Tallahassee.|
Then Sauce extended me a very generous invitation to share a bit of my story – in my own words – with all of her readers. She asked me to tell you all what it’s like to be Shawna the Maid. And because Sauce was so wonderful to me – during my visit to her store AND in her blog, writing a guest post was the least I could do in return.
So one thing you probably ought to know about me is that doing something so outrageous … so embarrassing … is so completely out of character for me. I’m not the guy who parties too hard, makes a fool of himself to everyone’s amusement and wakes up with his friends’ crude penis drawings all over his face. I’m the guy who doesn’t drink, let alone get drunk – the guy who never does anything boisterous or inappropriate. So it was quite an adjustment for me to accept all the embarrassment and attention those first dozen or so times I walked into Hooters wearing a frilly French maid’s uniform, fishnets and six-inch hooker heels!
But I pressed on because I don’t go back on my word about anything. And I found ways to deal with the embarrassment in time so that it wasn’t always so bad. The most important thing was realizing that I needed to loosen up – way up – and give myself (and everybody else) permission to laugh and have fun with the whole thing. That’s made all the difference. And if I’m being honest, I actually have to say that despite all the embarrassment, it’s been one of the most incredible, fun experiences of my life – though maybe not for the reasons you might imagine.
|Some girls take the "bitch" title very seriously!|
First, let me explain the whole “Hooters bitch” thing Sauce mentioned in her post. Way back when this all began, the girls at one of the stores were taking lots of pictures with me and thought it would be hilarious to pose making me do some “maid’s work.” So there I was dumping plates of half-eaten wings into a bus tub when one of the girls burst into laughter and said, “Hey, it’s like you’re our bitch!”
Well let me tell you – that’s not the kind of thing that has a short shelf life. For the rest of that visit, the girls just called me “bitch.” As in, “Hey, bitch, come help me clean my tables.” Or, “Bitch, come spot sweep my floor.” They weren’t being mean; they were genuinely having fun with it, and I played along. Why? Because I knew that if I refused to do their cleaning or if I balked at being called their bitch, it would shut down their fun. I didn’t want that, so I decided my policy would be that I’ll go along with whatever the girls want so long as it’s safe and legal. I’ve questioned the wisdom of that policy a few times in the five years since, but overall it’s served me pretty well.
Anyway, after that visit, Ava (the girl I lost the bet to) came up with the idea that I should get a certificate signed by the girls at every store proclaiming me their official bitch. The certificates would make each visit “official.” They’d also be a unique momento, and getting those signatures would ensure I spent an adequate amount of time in each store. Turns out, though, that a lot of girls won’t sign that certificate until they’ve actually found plenty of ways to make me their bitch!
|An official certificate with hard earned signatures.|
When I visited Sauce’s store (on what happened to be my birthday), she and the girls – and even the manager – really did put me to work. I swept the floor, dusted the blinds, cleared and set tables. I even dusted every surface in the small casino adjacent to the restaurant. And that was a store where the girls went easy on me!
In other stores, I’ve been made to clean for hours. I’ve been “ordered” to walk with the girls up and down the sidewalk holding signs advertising happy hour specials. I’ve been made to sing the Hooters birthday song; to dance the Hooters Hokie-Pokie; and to try countless times to hula hoop, a skill I will never, ever develop. In store after store, the girls have come up with creative, playful ways to embarrass me. They announce me to the crowd. They take pictures and videos galore. They tease me endlessly about how “hot” I look in my fishnets and heels. And I’m not gonna play lie – for a guy, I rock that shit!
Then, on occasion, the girls find ways to take the Shawna the Maid experience to a whole new level. For example …
|Floors cleaned upon request.|
In some stores, the girls make a little mess for me to clean if the place doesn’t need any real work. They might crush up some crackers or tear up some napkins for me to sweep up. But in Bradenton, Florida, the girls used ketchup and mustard to write things like “Shawna is our bitch!” all over the floor throughout the restaurant, and then simply handed me the cleaning supplies. I spent more than an hour on my hands and knees, cleaning every last trace of it from the floor while they took pictures, teased me and laughed like it was the best night they’d ever had.
In Indianapolis, Indiana, the girls started handing me quarters – one at a time – to go feed the parking meters where their cars were parked … some as many as three blocks up and down the busy downtown street on which the restaurant is located. Let me tell you … if you want to know what embarrassment is, parade yourself up and down the streets of downtown Indy in a pink French maid’s outfit during lunch hour on a Friday.
|Shawn and a Hooters Girl hit the club.|
There are so many more examples – like the time I was “kidnapped” by a Hooters girl and two of her girlfriends as her shift ended. They drove me half an hour away from the restaurant in a town with which I was not familiar, and they led me down an alley to a dance club. I didn’t know until they walked me through the door – still in full maid attire, mind you – that we were walking into the town’s hottest gay nightclub! I’m not at all homophobic, so it was totally cool, but I definitely was surprised.
I’ve been ordered to take part in an impromptu photo shoot with the girls on a Saturday morning when the store was dead. I’ve been made to work as the store hostess on Wrestlemania and UFC pay-per-view nights with standing-room-only crowds. I’ve been made to clean the shoes of every girl working on a fully staffed Friday night.
It’s important to note that my visits work because I’m not creepy. There are a number of guys who wish they could do what I do – who fantasize about it. There have even been a couple who have seen me online and been emboldened to try it. And they’ve creeped out everybody in the place because it’s so obvious that they’re getting off on it. But that’s not what happens when I make my visits because people realize pretty quickly what I’m about. Once they meet me and hear about the lost bet, they get that I’m not perving on the girls. And I’ve had girls remark on the fact that I spend all my time when we talk looking them in the eyes instead of the breasts. Of course I appreciate the beauty of all the girls I meet, but I actually respect them. I’m not there to sexualize them, which makes it OK for everybody to just have fun with my visits.
|Signing a hat for an adoring fan.|
It’s funny how many times people have approached me to find out what I was all about and wound up buying me drinks and even whole meals because they appreciate what it takes to live up to one’s word like this. I’ve had families ask to take pictures with me. Senior ladies, too. And I’ve even been asked to sign a couple of autographs, which is a totally surreal experience.
The fact is, I have met some truly amazing people (and Sauce is right at the top of that list) since this whole thing began – people I never would have met otherwise. I’ve met girls who are studying to become doctors and lawyers; single moms who are making sure their children don’t want for anything; artists and poets and musicians who are hoping to someday be discovered.
And it’s a funny thing … after the girls have their fun making me their bitch, more often than not we find ourselves talking about things that have nothing to do with Hooters or the bet I lost and everything to do with the lives that we live.
|Hanging out with a few girls after an official visit.|
I’ve made friends during these visits that I’ve kept in touch with for years – girls who have encouraged me through break-ups and personal setbacks and many others who I’ve counseled through lost love, family tragedies, illnesses, addictions and crises of faith. I’ve been in a relationship with an incredible woman for a little over two years now, and I never would have met her if not for one of the wonderful friends I’ve made as Shawna the Maid.
I can’t recall the number of girls I’ve prayed with and for over the last five years. And I’ve lost count of the number who have not only kept in touch but have sent me Christmas letters, birthday cards, baby pictures and even wedding invitations.
When I think about those people and those experiences – and how much richer my life has been these last five years because I am Shawna the Maid, Official Bitch of the Hooters Girls – I look back and don’t think I’d change the results of that bet I lost for anything in the world.
Of course, I’m still nervous every single time I show up at a store “in uniform.” I don’t think that’ll ever go away. But I don’t dread it the way I did in the early days. In fact, because so many of the girls know me through Facebook and are expecting me when I arrive, I can usually be confident that it’s going to be a good time despite the nerves. And that makes it a whole lot easier listening to my heels click on the pavement as I make that “walk of shame” from the car to the front door.
I'll let the Hooters Girls take this post out...