The life and times of a waitress in Cool Cape May… By Molly Stone
I’ve gone through a lot of looks. In middle school gym class, I sported neon sweat bands and safety goggles with reinforced prescription lenses. In my funky free-thinker phase, I chopped off my hair into an androgynous bowl cut. I’ve spent years being too thin (thanks to an unhealthy appetite for Vogue magazine), and years being too thick (thanks to late-night cheese fry runs in college). But one thing has always been the same; I’ve always been a blonde.
My hair has gotten me pegged as a bimbo, and perhaps that label has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’ve gone through jobs like the Fudge Kitchen girl goes through free samples. As a barista, I set the cord of a toaster on fire; as a lifeguard, I accidentally drained the pool; and, as a surfing instructor, I’ve explained to parents how little Suzy’s head could have been knocked by a twelve-foot board.
My reputation has followed me to Cape May. When someone drops a tray of martinis, or forgets to let the kitchen know about a shellfish allergy until a guest is covered in hives, the first thing I hear is: “That’s such a Molly thing to do.” Yesterday, feeling self-righteously defensive, I tossed my blonde hair over my shoulder and decided that I’d provide no more fodder for the “Molly things” conversation. I’d no longer be the resident klutz. I’d be cool and collected until “Molly things” became a term synonymous not with dumb blonde, but with witty remarks and genius resourcefulness.
And a wonderful thing happened. I got through an entire night without any mishaps. I didn’t spill coffee down the front of my shirt, drop a tray of greasy butter ramekins into a pan of sautéed calamari, or argue with the Spanish-speaking dishwasher about a lack of clean spoons. My check average was up, my customers were happy, it was a good night.
I walked into the kitchen with my head held high. What do you think of Molly now, I wanted to say. The entire kitchen staff, from the line cooks to the Mexican dishwasher, stared at me, undoubtedly impressed, I assumed, with my performance.
Then my manager gasped and pointed to my shirt. My buttons had popped and my entire bra (the least sexy, most grandma-esque one I own, mind you) was exposed. My face turned the color of the tiny pink bow on my under-wire. With hands full of menus and silverware, I did the best I could to finagle my arms across my chest. The kitchen erupted in laughter. The Mexican dishwasher pointed and said, “Areola.”
“Sure,” I said, slinking out of the room, “You don’t understand ‘spoons,’ but areola, you get.”
Which, in retrospect, was a pretty witty thing to say, I think. Perhaps, even, the kind of clever “Molly thing” I should be striving for… as soon as I get my buttons back.