I have worked as a bartender in a very popular bar in New York City for the last eight years, and one of my greatest pleasures in the job can be described like this:
Pretty girl comes up to the bar. Orders something at the upper scale of the price range (Grey Goose cosmo. Grey Goose dirty martini. Grey Goose is very popular with the type of person I’m about to describe). I go to make the drink, and when I return the girl will have busied herself with something: looking at her phone, digging through her purse, something like that. She will completely avoid eye contact with me as I stand there looking at her, waiting for my opening to tell her she owes me eleven dollars. Sometimes, when the bar is busy and I have other customers waiting, I will leave her to finish her business, serve someone else, and then come back to her. By now, she will have let her guard down, and I lean down on the bar, as though beginning a conversation, and say quietly, “Can I ask you something?”
“What’s that?” she’ll reply conspiratorially, probably expecting me to offer her a shot or ask her where she’s from.
“Do you have eleven dollars for that drink?”
Her face falls. Obvious annoyance registers in her eyes. She comes close to actually shaking her head as if to say “Can you believe this prick?” but doesn’t. She can’t believe she is being asked to pay for what she ordered.
There are more egregious variations on this scenario. More often than you’d think, some pretty girl (usually not as pretty as she thinks she is) will announce (not ask for, announce) that she wants a free drink or even a free round of shots. I cannot tell you how much I love to tell this person “Absolutely not.”
Why do I take such delight in this? Is it because I hate women? Is it because I like to be a dick to women? No it is not. The best thing about the job– I’m only a man, after all– is the parade of beautiful girls that I get to bear witness to, briefly interact with, and then (most likely) never see again.*
The issue here is entitlement. The worst quality a person can have, in my opinion, is the conviction that they deserve special treatment without a moment’s effort to earn it. This quality is not exclusive to women, or beautiful women– most people, male or female, beautiful or otherwise, are nice, reasonable, and happy to pay for whatever they order– but in my experience it’s much more common to them.
It’s not all their fault: they are conditioned to feel this way by the many horny dudes that have bought them drinks, the many horny bartenders that have given them whatever they want for nothing, the horny doormen that let them in without waiting in line or paying the cover, the horny DJs that play whatever crap they ask for, the horny waiters that bring them appetizers they didn’t order.
But it’s still pretty gross. To believe that you are somehow better than everyone else just because of the genetic hand you were dealt– the luck of the draw, nothing more– makes you no better than Hitler. That’s right, Hitler!
I mention all this because I saw someone reading about the recent (and less recent, and generally ongoing) legal troubles of actress Lindsay Lohan in the Post on the subway this morning. She now faces felony theft charges for allegedly stealing a very expensive necklace from a jewelry store. A couple of years ago she was accused (but not charged with) stealing someone’s super-expensive mink coat from a nightclub. Last year she was accused of (but not charged with) keeping a Rolex someone left at her house (and then tried to get back). And as everyone knows, she has a long history of drunk driving, drug offenses, and behavior generally unbefitting a lady, notably including missing a court date because she didn’t want to come home from the Cannes film festival. (She claimed that she couldn’t come back because her passport was stolen).
This is all entitlement taken to its most extreme. Based on having been in a few movies (though I can’t think of any except the FREAKY FRIDAY remake, the LOVE BUG remake, and MEAN GIRLS**, only one of which I would even classify as “watchable”), this person thinks she has the right to do anything she wants and the rest of us are supposed to pick up the check, clean up her mess, and thank her for the privilege.
A friend of mine used to work as stage manager at a very exclusive nightclub here in New York, and she once told me of coming into contact with Ms. Lohan. It seems she was blocking the stairs and creating a fire hazard, and my friend politely told her so and asked her to move. Lindsay replied: “Do you know who I am?” My friend said, “I do, but right now you’re also a fire hazard.” Lindsay then continued about her business as though my friend wasn’t there and the conversation hadn’t happened.
What is that? That is entitlement. Should Ms. Lohan be convicted of the charges she currently faces, I think she should be given the maximum sentence. Actually, I think she should be given more than the maximum sentence: she should be given the death penalty. We need to make an example of her. Not an example to other celebrities, but to all those entitled assholes running around thinking just because their face is more symmetrical than the next one that they don’t have to play by the same rules as everybody else.
One other thing: natural redheads are rare and lovely. There could be no clearer sign that this jerk went Hollywood when she lost 30 pounds (not an improvement) and bleached her hair. Because movie stars are blonde and skinny, get it? And I’m a movie star! And where’s my champagne? I shouldn’t have to ask for it! Where’s my assistant? This is bullshit!
Seriously: death penalty.
*Being happily married is such a blessing in this area. Rather than get tongue-tied and awkwardly try to figure out some way to impress a beautiful girl– which I undoubtedly would if I were single– I am perfectly content to enjoy her like a walking work of art until the moment she leaves, and then never worry about seeing her again, getting in touch, finding her on Facebook, bumming out that I didn’t make a better impression, etc. Taking this weight off of interaction with the opposite sex is enormously liberating, and is one of the best things about (my) marriage.
**Ironic, isn’t it, that Lindsay got top billing in that movie and was unquestionably the star and the hottest property coming out of it, but now, a short seven years later, all of her co-stars (Rachel McAdams, Amanda Seyfried, Lizzy Caplan) are having far better careers, have all proven themselves to be much better actresses, and incidentally are all looking much (much, much) better than this entitled little prick. Lesson: Be nice and take care of yourself.