| On-duty at my regular restaurant gig|
Restaurant gigs are one of the primary jobs for many belly dancers. They can be very lucrative, and they’re usually lots of fun because the dancer gets to interact with the customers up close and personal.
However, while we sometimes are completely in the moment and being transported by the music, there’s also a litany of “dancer problems” that go hand-in-hand with these intimate shows, which are often done in very small spaces, with no stage, dancing among the tables.
I’ve been dancing at restaurants for twenty-seven years…and that pretty much qualifies me as having seen (and heard) it all… or at least pretty close to it!
While the general public is getting a beautiful floor show, the scenario in the performer’s mind- masked by a dazzling stage smile- is often quite different than what the audience is experiencing.
Here are some of the thoughts running through my head at various times during restaurant sets.
Can you relate?
1. Please don’t even entertain the notion of tipping me with your greasy hummus fingers!
2. Humiliating the birthday boy or girl is not in my job description.
3. Holy crap, this song’s almost over- how the hell did that happen?
4.Yeah, uptight-lady-hanging-on-tightly- to-your man, it’s sad but true: the only real reason I’m dancing here is because I want to seduce your fat, balding husband… who by the way, has zero table manners.
5.Please God, don’t let me get my period.
6.Why does this veil feel so heavy tonight? It’s just a piece of silk!
7. If that waiter crosses in front of me one more time to refill water glasses, I’m gonna cut a bitch!
8. Sorry dude, but your business card doesn’t count as a tip.
9. Surprise! I speak English- and even though you seem to be an authority on this insane theory you’re espousing so loudly, I didn’t get any ribs removed to be able to dance this way.
10. Not taking my top off. It just ain’t gonna happen.
11. I saw a zero on that bill- please let it be a fifty-oh please, oh please, oh please.
12. I hope the audience can’t tell that my foot is bleeding like a stuck pig from that glass I just stepped on.
13. While I appreciate your concern, would you please quit yelling about-and pointing to-the dollar that fell on the floor?
This isn’t an isolated incident… it’s happened….oh, a couple of times before.
14. Can you keep your toddlers under control?
15. Can you keep your pubescent son and his testosterone-infused teenage pals under control?
16. Can you keep your absolutely shit-faced party guests under control?
I7. I you try to offer me a tip that’s held in your teeth, I will pat you on the head like a dog. I might even go “woof woof” to see if you respond in kind.
18. I got you up to dance cause it seemed like it would be fun…for a minute or so! Do you think you could possibly manage to sit down before my shift is over?
No? Well then how about before I retire from my dance career?
19. Please God, don’t let me sneeze into these nice people’s dinner.
20. You aren’t “offending" me by offering a tip. If you knew how much this costume cost you’d probably puke up your baba ganoush right on the table!
21. Contrary to popular belief, a one dollar bill from a party of fifteen-plus diners is not a great tip. Save it for the valet- he’ll be only slightly less horrified than I am.
22. Oh no… I think my right eyelash is about to fall off!
23. Where in the actual fuck did you get the idea that “most belly dancers are fat and have mustaches”?
24. Do. Not. Try. To. Poke. My. Belly. Button.
25. I hope still I have some Chardonnay left at home…