The Maitre’ D Knows You’re Awful by Andrew Max Levy

Soho is beautiful; cast iron facades and cobblestone streets make this district a joy to explore. But it’s also the worst. If you work here, you’re in fashion. If you eat here, you’re a tourist. If you live here, you’re just terrible.

But, I try not to generalize.

Whatever you are, you are now here. You’re with five of your friends, it’s 8 PM on Friday night, and you’re more than a little drunk. One of your group is making a waitress extremely uncomfortable. You don’t ask me for a table; you “need” one. I ask if you have a reservation. You do not. Yet that doesn’t seem to faze you.

You drop a name. I wish I could say “I’m sorry, I am fully booked,” but my manager is tensed mere inches behind me, breathing on my neck, waiting for my reply. The name dropped is sometimes his, often the owner’s, but it always opens doors for you. Tonight, it serves you well once again. The manager relaxes, and drifts away.

Sometimes, the Maitre D’ must be an asshole. He doesn’t like it, because he’s actually a nice guy. He has both a cat and friends, a rare combination. At work, however, he displays a harder side of himself.

There is a family behind you, who made this reservation months in advance to celebrate grandmother’s 78th birthday. They don’t go out often; the children are in school, the parents are at work, and grandma is 78 for christ’s sake. This is their night to forget everything else, and celebrate. Tonight I am an asshole. Grandma will have to wait.

On your way out, you cooly slip a twenty in my hand, or a fifty, or a hundred if you’re trying to impress me. I shake your hand; the folded bill slips into mine, and is tucked into my pocket. I’m not impressed, but I thank you for the cab fare and the bottle of cheap wine.

You’re awful, but I try not to generalize.

Posted on Medium