Welcome back to Restaurant Confessionals, where we talk to the unheard voices of the restaurant industry from both the front-of-house (FOH) and back-of-house (BOH) about what really goes on behind the scenes at your favourite establishments. This time, we hear from a new bartender working at a casino who fell for his boss.
My boss was fire—she was absolutely beautiful.
She was the cocktail manager and I was the lowly, new-hire bartender. It was one of my first bartending jobs at a new restaurant inside of a casino in LA. It was the type of spot where cholos went to pre-game before an oldies concert or a Pacquiao fight, and all I poured was crappy beer and vodka-tonics.
All of the women employees wore tight referee shirts and skimpy black skirts, that was it—including the boss. I had my eye on her since the first day I started. One day, we sat close to each other during lunch and it slowly progressed into us having dinner after our shifts were over, at the mariscos restaurant across the street. One night, we ended up in the backseat of my car in that same restaurant's parking lot. But as amazing and natural as everything felt as it was happening, I had no idea that fucking your boss ultimately meant kissing your job goodbye.
I took her to eat fondue at The Melting Pot, 'hood-romance style.
I knew that it was on with her when she started to schedule my lunch breaks at the exact same time as hers. If you work in the drink or food industry, you know that the concepts of breaks are more like a luxurious suggestion rather than a necessity. It was crazy because I found out that she was married and her husband was a sheriff, a jiu jitsu fighter, and an old cholo veteran. Nonetheless, we hooked up in my car in the same parking lot of the mariscos restaurant for two straight months. She was always paranoid because her husband was well-known in the neighborhood, and according to her, would tell the rest of the sheriffs to keep an eye on her while they did their patrolling.
It progressed into us making it into a regular thing. We did things totally incognito, 007-style. We met in dark corners and industrial alleys around the casino, would smash, then we would go back to our cars and show up on the next day and work like nothing ever happened. However, while all of this happening, I noticed that I started to get special treatment from her and the rest of the casino's staff. I would get the five best shifts available in the week, and the rest of my co-workers were exceptionally nice to me. No one would get pissed whenever I had to void drink orders that I got wrong. I would come in late on some days and no one cared. I even got free chicken fingers from the kitchen whenever I wanted. The list went on and on, it was an indirect type of special treatment.
While all of this was happening, I started to get crazy in my own head. Call it being whipped or call it whatever you want. After this, the relationship started to end progressively. She started to want to go out on dates and we did try that once. I took her to eat fondue at The Melting Pot, 'hood-romance style, and as much as we tried to enjoy each other's company, she was extremely paranoid and always looked over her shoulder during the dinner. At that point, I knew it was only a matter of time until her dude caught on. I knew I had to end it but me being a young dude, I knew that I had to hang out with her one final time, so I invited her one last time to the crib the next day to hook up.
She just wouldn't stop pecking at me, turned everyone against me, and made my work a really, really uncomfortable place—eventually forcing me out.
After we slept together, she started talking about her man. I told her that I was worried because I was catching feelings for her but I didn't want to get beat up by a bunch of Norwalk city cops. She didn't get it and thought that I was breaking up with her. "I risked everything for you!", she shouted at me, and took off. Naturally, I was worried because I didn't want her to tell her husband about me. I was genuinely scared.
I got to work the next day and there was only silence. All she did was mad-dog me and punk me around. She told me, "I need this by then" and "I need that by now." She told my other boss that my drinks were taking way too long even if they were not. She would complain and also tell my other boss that I had been drinking the night before or that I didn't shave. She would say that I was late even when I was not late. There came a time when even the casino's security guards started to harass me after I thought they were cool with me.
She just wouldn't stop pecking at me, turned everyone against me, and made my work a really, really uncomfortable place—eventually forcing me out. I quit, and that was it for me at that establishment. All because I messed around with the boss. I'm not particularly proud of my actions but it takes two to tango.
I've never been back.
As told to Javier Cabral