Remember when Nerve's Ben Reininga wrote that post about the different couples a waiter observes? Well, now he's back with the flip side: the server-pick-up!
Anyone who's worked in the service industry knows the drill. You chat with people. You laugh. Sometimes you even flirt a bit. It's really not artificial; you get into a more animated, hyper-social zone where you're connecting with people on a completely different level and genuinely enjoy it. As Reininga puts it,
Now, most servers I know are pretty sincere people whose smiles aren't faked - real enthusiasm is part of helping everyone have a good time. But that doesn't mean that the happily married bartender doesn't sometimes wink back at a woman he'd ignore after work. It's not deceitful; it's part of the job.
Sometimes, this leads to inevitable diceyness: uncomfy "when do you get off" moments, creepy customers who come and stare (okay, this is one friend's recent trauma), drunks who get fresh, as my grandfather would say. Some people- bartenders especially - are absolute experts at deflecting and diffusing these situations. One friend, a bombshell bartender I know, is so good at it that, although she's hit on nightly, she never loses a customer to embarrassment or discomfort.
Then there are of course the real love connections: my aunt met her husband when she was his waitress at the Empire Diner; another friend has been dating her boyfriend (whom she met while he was serving her and her parents dinner) for ten years. But it's a delicate balance, starting things up - even when there is a real connection. If you're willing to take the risk, Reininga provides some real-life advice to make it happen with minimal creepiness and discomfort.
That said, even if things pan out, all goes well, it's love - there's still the risk of fallout down the line. Lovers' discounts and comped drinks are swell, but Cupid taketh away, too. So just to be on the safe side: keep romance out of your absolute favorite restaurants and bars in the world. "Don't shit where you eat" may be a revolting expression, but when the shoe fits - go with it.