Lady of the Night

We have entertained more Chinese customers in the past few weeks. I was on standby the other night when I noticed one of the Cantonese clients waving at me. I paid no attention to him at first because I thought his gesture was meant for another, but then I realized I was alone and so reciprocated a polite nod before I averted my gaze. One of the chi-mamas came by soon after and told me that I was requested. The client who requested me was accompanied by his friend and a Japanese girl who, judging from the exchanges, was his girlfriend. His right arm was tattooed to the wrist and had cropped, colored hair. Yumi, one of the girls, was already servicing them, so I was immediately alerted to this particular request. Apparently, he requested me out of curiosity, as I did not appear to be like the other girls, who only spoke Japanese. Sure enough, he started prodding my language abilities, switching from English to Cantonese to (heavy-accented/poor) Mandarin and Japanese. He had an undue air of arrogance to him, and kept tapping his finger every time I refill his glass. It was a Chinese custom for the men to tap on the table as a gesture for more fill, but his timing was delayed too much for it to be effective. Instead, it only supported his self-entitlement as a paying customer. I felt rebellious against his motivation to gauge me so I kept to English the entire time while trying to distract him by engaging him in other topics, and got out of him his supposed occupation: A delivery truck driver for a local mushroom farm. He was quite persistent, though, and kept directing the conversation back to inquiries about my background and languages. I managed to get him to try a song, but regretted it as soon as he vomited out the first note of Aerosmith’s “I don’t want to miss a thing”. Rather than sing the song, he literally butchered every note, every verse into singular efforts and screamed them out. It was horrible. When the song finished, he returned to grilling me about my language abilities. Eventually I threw the questions back. He was slightly perturbed, and started drinking more to avoid prolonging the awkward silence. I, too, also asked for more drinks, but unfortunately that got his notice and he began interrogating whether my orders contained any alcohol. When he found that I had none, he took to ordering a tequila shot and insisted that I take some. I looked to Yumi, who was talking to his girlfriend, and secretly hoped that she would want it instead, as she was one of the girls who were fond of them. However, she seemed already satisfied with her ample orders of Red Dragons (a neon-colored tequila drink, a favorite amongst the girls here) and could care less for one more. I declined as politely as I could, knowing that I risked the clients’ displeasure. As expected, he tried to pressure me by telling me that I was not giving him and his friend face and even compromised saying that I need only to take 1/3 of the shot to make them happy. However, I did not give in. Irritated, he proceeded to tell me that a non-drinker would not last long in the industry, as if it was something I did not already know. He threatened to tell the manager, but I simply smiled and told him that it was already a known fact that I do not drink – in fact, I was still hired despite of it. It must have sounded awfully conceited and disrespectful of me to describe it so bluntly here, but I toned it down as much as I could at the time and kept engaging him in conversation. Finally, seeing that I was adamant about not drinking, he dismissed me; I smiled and returned to stand-by.

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