Devin Dearing Preston: NYC writer, playwright, and storyteller

Are you an actress?

August 30, 2009

Every so often you get the table who is dying to know more about you. Why is not always clear. Usually, at least at my restaurant, they are flirting with you. I know this is true because two woman dining together will never ask. Well, two lesbians might. Men mean it as a compliment. They are so taken with your ability to get them food and drinks and how fetching you look with no make-up on in a baggy men’s button down, tie, and bun. I’ve heard it all.

“Are you Irish? Where in Ireland are you from? You don’t do this full time, right?What are you studying at school? How does your boyfriend feel about you waiting on tables?I bet your an actress?”

And most of the time I play along(you get better tips that way.)

I have a few canned lines I feed them right back.”Yes, very. Just outside of Dublin. No, I do it for fun. You’re so sweet to think I’m still in school. How does your wife feel about you hitting on waitresses? I bet you ask all the waitresses that.”

Its a routine I’ve been perfecting for, well, years now. In general, most tables think that they are the first table to ever ask you these probing questions. They don’t know you have already heard it three times. Today. And it’s only 12:30. Truth is, its usually just harmless flirting with well meaning old men, but every once in a while they will catch me on a bad day.

A very special day when I have been busy asking myself as I make 8 skim decaf cappuccinos “What are you doing here? You’re not a waitress. Aren’t you an actress? Shouldn’t you be on an audition, getting into costume, performing for 1000’s of people?”

On those days, the unlucky man who dares to ask, “Are you also an actress?” never knew what hit him. He thinks he is so lucky to have found one of those “rare” actress/waitresses he has heard so much about. He doesn’t know I’m about to serve him a little dose of reality to demolish his fun actress/waitress fantasy. It’s especially fun when they think they know all about your little cliche life and want to prove to you they know everything there is to know about your struggle for stardom. I use to play into this. Now, I just unabashedly speak my truth.

“Oh, well, what are you doing right now?”

Me, “Serving you steak”

“Would I have ever seen you in anything?”

Me, “Do you see much theater in Syracuse?”

“What are you more Broadway or Hollywood?”

Me, “Why, are you casting?”

Then they want to tell you a story about their friend’s nephew/cousin/step child who was an extra in a movie/ star of their high school play/a contestant in their local talent show and really wants to move to the city and live the dream. Do you have any advice?

Me, ” I’m a very talented trained actress, with a good look. I’m a member of Equity, I have an agent, and I’m serving you steak right now.I  have only been in two shows in 4 years. It’s not as hard as everyone says it is. Its much much harder.”

Categories: Waiting is the Hardest Part

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