To be clear, I have nothing against the cheap economically-sound rooms. I love my guests who refuse to spend the extra few bucks for an upgrade at check-in time. After all, without them, what would I possibly write about?
Let’s continue with today’s ramble, shall we?
“Mom! Dad said Miss Gillespie is a cougar! You’re not sending me back to that school are you?” – My daughter, Sarah, upon hearing me use the term “cougar” for the first time.
Trust me, this quote has its place in today’s “lesson”.
There are some who believe a man is a construct, a living machine of flesh and blood. I happen to share that belief and so I think it only fair to acknowledge those individuals, who, above all others, helped write the software at the heart of my CPU – the women in my life.
My grandmother gave me the courage to be myself.
Our neighbor, Mrs. Agnes McGillicutty, taught to never challenge a badger while on a bender. (Agnes meant well but she drank like a sailor on shore leave in Thailand.)
My mother allowed me the freedom to discover who I actually was.
My wife showed me how much I still had to learn – about everything.
My mother-in-law challenged me – in a good way.
My daughter has allowed me to see the world anew, through her eyes.
Ginger Lynn taught me… well, I’ll spare you the salacious details, but suffice to say, Ms. Lynn’s guidance has served me well throughout my entire sexual career – when I fly solo and with others.
All the women in my life have left me with lessons (some were easier to learn than others), that I utilize everyday of my life. My respect for women proves most helpful when dealing with the endless stream of Mrs. Robinson clones that slink their way through the hotel’s doors on a regular basis.
I’ve been raised to see past the gaudy clothing and garish make-up and concentrate on the lost little girl every cougar carries within her.
But let me tell you, they don’t make it easy sometimes….
On one particular Sunday morning I made my through the seemingly-endless horde of arriving guests before arriving at one of the hotel’s…. shall we say, “no-frills-whatsoever” rooms? The soundtrack of Wild Kingdom emanated from behind the thin wooden door, and so it took me several minutes to muster sufficient strength to knock loud enough to pierce the wave of multiple conversations taking place within. When the door finally opened I found myself confronted by eight cougars in a small space. At that moment I knew how that wounded gazelle in every nature program I’ve ever watched felt…
In common bellman-speak, I addressed my guests in the form of a question, “So ladies, where shall I put this?”
To be crystal clear, I was referring to the eight cases of wine laid out on my cart (one for each of them I guess!), and nothing else. A single husky voice rang out from the shame.
“I’ll tell you where you can put it sweetie!”
I responded quickly, in a clear, slightly elevated tone, “THE WINE, LADIES! JUST THE WINE!”
After the snickering died down – slightly – I was directed to a corner, where I was told to “drop my load”.
Seriously. Remember, cougars are just older, horny swamp donkeys with cash.
As I was, ‘dropping my load’ (and shuddering within my soul), one of our housekeepers passed by in the hallway and decided to send a greeting my way. “Hey, Hook!” resounded through the room. Every single cougar turned her attention to me and a collective smile crossed their botox enhanced lips. (I felt like that wounded gazelle again.) One of them, however, took things a step further and cocked her head to one side as her bloodshot eyes zeroed in on my crotch…
“Hey, ladies! (Insert Beastie Boys memory here.) The nickname comes from my last name, and nothing else!”
The snickering erupted and it appeared as though it was never going to die down. And so I took matters into my own hands. I knew it would have been impossible to phase these women, so I cut loose:
“Boy , you really are a pack of crazy bitches, aren’t you?”
My candor stunned them back to reality. The laughter faded slightly after they released a chorus of “Oh no, he didn’t!” They calmed down and even began to complain about the fact their room faced a wall, a detail they should have addressed with the Front Desk five seconds after checking into the room, not when the bellman arrived.
They had exhausted my patience (which isn’t as easy to do as you might think; my wife makes me sit through testicle-shrinking chick flicks all the time), and so they were not about to get any sympathy from me at that point.
“All you have to do is polish off a few bottles of this wine and the view should improve immensely!” was all I had to offer.
My humor (courtesy of my mom, wife and daughter), coupled with my direct nature (courtesy of Eastern European grandparents for whom economical conversation was necessary when speaking in a foreign tongue), has proven to be my defining characteristic as a bellman. More often than not, it will diffuse a difficult situation and even result in a sizable gratuity landing in my pocket.
Although, in this situation the tips were shoved deep, deep, into my pockets by multiple hands….
Such is the life of a bellman.
This bellman, at least.
See you in the lobby, kids…