Hooters waitresses are people, too.
Sometimes it's hard to look past their blindingly shiny orange short shorts and low-cut tanks on the billboards, but there are real people lurking underneath all those marketing ploys.
I know because I went to Hooters for wings last night.
It wasn't my first Hooters experience. A few of my guy friends suckered me into going when I was a freshman in college. I think they thought it would be funny to see me, a fiercely independent female college student neck-deep in women's-lib courses, duke it out with girls who have no qualms about relying on their physical endowments for tips. I know it sounds harsh, but lets face it, Hooters is the strip club of chain restaurants.
So there I was, angry that we weren't, in fact, going to the fun rain forest restaurant in the mall closest to my college campus like they promised, but rather the testosterone-driven beer and boob fest that is Hooters.
I don't remember much other than the wings were surprisingly good. And that it was impossible not to stare at our waitress' chest because it was practically heaving out of her shirt at she struggled to breathe beneath all that Lycra.
This time around was much the same. The wings were just as good as I remembered and our waitress' chest was appropriately Hooterriffic.
I went with a few of my coworkers when they invited me along, and despite the stereotypes that it's geared toward guys, I'm pretty sure it's my boss' favorite restaurant. She loves hot wings and has taken a new interest in NASCAR, so off we went to grab dinner with one of the photographers who was scheduled to work the weekend shift.
At first, our waitress was all business: perky, polite and a bit flirty -- even with a majority female table.
"Yeah, it's impossible not to stare when they're right out there, huh?" I asked the rest of the group after she took our drink order.
But after an accidental slip up, I saw the real person beneath the Hooters.
I was mid-story when our waitress was delivering our food, and right when she was about to ask if we needed anything, my story included a giant "Shut up!"
And she did. She clamped her mouth tight, visibly stiffened and just sort of stared at me, wondering why I would say something so rude for no apparent reason.
"Oh my gosh! I'm sorry, I didn't mean you! ... I was just telling a story and ... I guess it came out at the wrong time!"
She played it off like she knew it all along, but we shared a moment. Me and the Hooters girl. I made a joke and she laughed. We were friends.
I'm still appalled that someone, probably an entire executive board of men, has deep pockets because young girls have boobs and are willing to shimmy into revealing uniforms. But, well, they could choose to work at Olive Garden or Red Lobster. But they don't.
So I guess I shouldn't judge.
And if I can find a bumper sticker that says, "Hooters have feelings, too" ... I'm so buying it.