WEBCommentary Guest

Author: Larry Simoneaux
Date:  July 20, 2008

Topic category:  Other/General

As regards serving me coffee.

“Proper.” If there’s a term I’ve come to miss, “proper” would be near the top of my list. Growing up, I couldn’t count the number of times I heard that term used to describe behavior that was outside of what someone who wished to be respected would do.

My maternal grandmother, Cora Wells, understood this term well and drilled it into me almost daily.

“Lawrence, you give your seat to that lady standing over there. You sitting while she’s standing isn’t proper.”

“Lawrence, you tuck that shirt in right now. Wandering around looking like some no-account isn’t proper.”

“Lawrence, you watch your tongue. Using language like that isn’t proper.”

And that was just a sampling.

It wasn’t just family either. Teachers, pastors, scoutmasters, coaches and neighbors all chimed in to let me know that there were certain things that just weren’t “proper.”

I’m bringing this up because of something I recently saw while stopped at a red light.

I looked over and there was a young lady working at a coffee stand wearing what amounted to dental floss around her waist and a bit of fabric here and there in the vicinity of her chest.

It bothered me, but I didn’t give it a lot of thought at the time. Then I happened to receive several e-mails from readers asking me what I thought about it all and here we are.

For one thing, it’s probably not illegal. Nor is it really immoral. I’m not even sure, in this day and age, if it causes many any concern at all.

Still, I don’t think it’s “proper” and I only wish Cora Wells were here at the keyboard to lay it out as only she could.

I’ve always looked at a job as being the place wherein the skills you’ve mastered would pretty much be the deciding factor as regards your success. Naive, maybe, but I like to think it works that way in more places than not.

Be ugly as sin, thin as a rail, big as a house, pretty as a picture, black, white, red, yellow, green, whatever. It’s all ancillary to your ability to get things done on time and in a competent manner while providing the customers with whatever it is they’ve come to buy.

If it’s serving coffee, all of the above apply with the added provision that things like neatness, courtesy, and cheerfulness will likely bring us back for more. However, when you bring sex into the equation, you’ve got something else altogether going on.

For the young women out there (who’ll never read this, but might have it brought to their attention by their parents), I’ll just mention that showing a lot of skin will most certainly attract attention. Some of those attracted will be merely curious and will tire of dropping in quickly. They’ve come for a cup of coffee and hold all the foo-foo juice, thank you very much.

Others, however, will enjoy what amounts to a free peep-show and will become regulars. But then there are those out there whom you wouldn’t want to meet in your darkest nightmares. Pray you never raise the interest level in one who’ll keep coming back until he sees his chance.

I know, I know. It can happen no matter how you’re dressed but, if you’re honest, being nearly naked sure changes the equation and not in your favor. So, to my mind, you’ve got to ask yourself if it’s worth the risk.

Then, too, you might also want to ask yourself if you really want to be using your body rather than your product, brains and ability to bring the customers in. You see, being paid to expose yourself fits nicely into several job descriptions that have absolutely nothing to do with serving coffee. Yes, the tips may be good, but the propositions that may accompany some of those tips could get downright creepy.

Don’t even start me down the road of having a daughter who’s not yet 18 being asked to do something like this. That would be another whole column.

So let’s just say that I don’t like the idea because I don’t believe it’s proper.

Call me a prude or any other thing that comes to mind, but that’s the hill I’ve climbed and I’m sticking around to defend it.

Larry Simoneaux

Biography - Larry Simoneaux

Larry Simoneaux is a regular columnist for The Everett Herald in Washington state. He is a retired ship driver for the US Navy and NOAA.

Copyright © 2008 by Larry Simoneaux
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