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Cheeks

by Alex Engel 11 months ago in advice

A sordid account of public nudity, a candid seam-splitting personal nightmare, and a life lesson hidden as humiliation.

Every server has that nightmare. You wake up in a

sweaty panic thinking you missed your alarm, were

assigned five tables and are naked running drinks.

Oh, and you forgot the Ranch.

This is a story of a serving nightmare come to

life – and how it expressly became my personal

standard for awkward situations.

I was serving at a casual-fine dining restaurant.

One fateful shift, I decided to go commando under

my tight new leggings. What could go wrong?

It was a busy lunch rush and the restaurant

was under-staffed. I was sprinting between

drinks, coffees, orders, food, refills, desserts

and bills as quickly as possible for the

hungry guests. And then doomsday hit.

My beautiful leggings gave way from all the running

around. They couldn’t handle the pressure and

abandoned me in my hour of need.

Split.

Right down the middle seam, perfectly lined up with

the crack of my freshly baked buns.

I didn’t notice. I kept serving. A full dining room getting

dinner and a show.

Finally, one of my guests politely asked the other

server, “Excuse me. Could you please tell our waitress

she’s split her pants?”

The other server ran into the kitchen – where I was

making a new pot of coffee – and looked down.

“Alex, your pants!”

“What?” I craned my neck around to look at my

traitorous backside.

Yup. My peachy beefcakes were hanging out for the

world to admire.

My face turned beet red. I slowly put the coffee pot

down and softly sighed. “Shit.”

I gave the kitchen staff a death glare and said, “How

did you guys not see this? And tell me? How long has it

been split?”

“Oh, about 15 minutes. And we were enjoying the view,

Cheeks.” The chef winked at me.

Everyone exploded into laughter while I ran out to my

truck – cardigan tied around my hips. Luckily, in those

days I at least pretended to go to the gym and kept

clothes in my truck.

The worst part wasn’t the initial embarrassment. It was

the mortification of having to go back into the dining

room where I had just unknowingly exposed myself

to all of the guests. I was half expecting applause and

loonies thrown my way.

Nobody said or did anything. I wasn’t sure what was

worse. I carried on through that shift, head held high

and ended with a little more in tips than usual.

The point is – I went back in. It was my own form of

character-building.

I learned to hold my own that day. I committed to

finishing the job. I kept going.

No matter what you get yourself into or how far

you fall, get back in there. This is a lesson the gods

apparently wanted me to learn through public nudity,

and not, say, falling off a horse.

The staff and I became family that day. And as a daily

reminder, the nickname Cheeks stuck. It was a twisted

memento of respect from my co-workers. As the

reigning queen of the most indecent exposure in the

workplace, I willingly answered to it. Ah, the food and

beverage industry.

The episode taught me three major lessons: never

work commando style, never trust kitchen guys and

never surrender your dignity.

Sure, I flashed a few folks but I didn’t die of

embarrassment, I didn’t lose my job and I didn’t run

home crying. I straightened my spine, found a solution

and kept on working. This incident became a moment I

would forever measure against future haplessness.

Car won’t start this morning? At least you didn’t split

your pants.

Accidentally end an interview with “alrighty-roo Mr.

Jones”? At least you didn’t split your pants.

Feeling mother death pressing down in the hellfire of

schoolwork? At least you didn’t split your pants.

It’s a facetious token I’ve carried through my life. When

something annoying, embarrassing or difficult comes

up I can remind myself I’ve been through worse.

advice

Alex Engel

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Alex Engel
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