Hi. I'm a middle-aged guy who regularly comes into where you work and eats (or drinks coffee) alone. Usually I'll also be reading the paper or working on my computer.
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As you may have noticed, there are THOUSANDS of me out here.
As you've also noticed, we all really want you to like us, because you're pretty and nice and (usually) younger than we are by at least a decade. More often than not, you're also good at your job, so we know intellectually that your niceness is probably more professional than personal. But on some level we desperately want to believe that there's something more going on, that you secretly find us fascinating and attractive and would love to get to know us better.
Maybe you do. I'm a nice guy, I have all my hair, I listen to some of the same bands you do, and it's not completely absurd to think that if we were thrown together by circumstance -- a sudden thunderstorm, say, or a terrorist attack -- we would find that we have much in common, and maybe even fall rapturously in love. Anything's possible.
And. Yet. Because I respect you and like you, and because I respect and like myself, I have made the following New Year's resolutions, which I invite my fellow middle-aged single straight male diners to join me in observing:
1) I won't expect you to remember my name, my usual order, or my personal history. If you do, that's great, but I will always be aware that you see hundreds of people every day and that I am only one of them. If I see you outside of where you work, I won't assume that you recognize me.
2) I won't use your name except to greet you or get your attention, and I will never use it in conversation with other people to make it sound like I know you better than I do.
3) I won't tell you long stories or indulge in self-serving monologues while you have other customers or prepwork to attend to.
4) I will always tip at least 20 percent, and more if I'm taking up a whole four-top during a rush.
5) I will not make any comments, however complimentary, about your body or your face. I will allow myself to compliment you on beautiful or unusual jewelry or tattoos, or on your hair IF I'm a regular and you have recently changed it in a particularly noticeable way. If I have questions or comments about what's on your T-shirt, I will address them to you while looking directly into your eyes. Having established what's on the shirt, I will not let my gaze linger on it further.
6) I will NEVER, EVER ask you out while you're working. I assume that if you're really interested in me, you'll figure out a way to let me know. But I can leave and you can't, so as far as I'm concerned, you've got the ball.
7) I won't bring you gifts unless we have together clearly created a context for this through many previous conversations, and even then the gift will not be embarrassingly valuable. (E.g., I might bring you a snowglobe from Branson, Missouri, if Branson has become a running joke between us over the course of several weeks or months.)
8) If I do bring you such a gift, I will not read acceptance of said gift as proof that you are harboring deeper feelings for me.
9) I will ask you how you're doing and I will listen to the answer. I will never ask, "Are you in a bad mood?"
10) I won't sit over my third coffee/beer/flan and make sad eyes at you while you're trying to work.
11) I will reserve the right to treasure, deep in the darkest recesses of my ravaged heart, the incandescent possibility that someday we will share a sleeping car on the Orient Express as part of our yearlong trip around the world. But I will never inflict this dazzling vision on you without explicit permission.
It's the least I can do for you. You rock.
So, guys: Are you with me? Let's make 2006 the best year for interactions between cute waitresses and single straight middle-aged dudes EVER!
Full of eggs and wist,