Giant Sissy Bitch.

This is the backstory for why I was holding a knife and covered in blood from collar-bone to ankles by 8am every day.  I was the kitchen manager at Lone Star Steakhouse and Saloon.  In order to be a front-of-the-house manager, I had to be a back-of-the-house manager first.

I was at work by 6am, loading 100lb boxes of beef off the MBM truck.  Then I suited up with a mesh metal glove and body-length apron to clean and cut cold beef into filets, ribeyes, NY strips, and delmonicos.

Blood pours out everywhere when big slabs and loins of beef are pulled out of plastic wrapping.  It also splatters when the heavy pieces are maneuvered around the table.  There’s even more blood when the cutting begins.  I looked and smelled like a walking crime scene when I was finished.  Very sexy look.

It wasn’t pretty work, but it was rewarding.  Eventually.

It physically beats your ass, and the dudes in the kitchen treat you like shit because you’re a girl.  The chicks treat you like shit because you’re a girl.  All the MBM drivers who deliver everything to the back door treat you like shit.  Because you’re a girl.  It’s boot camp in the restaurant world, and that’s why they make you do it.

Essentially they think they’re going to break you, and that’s the goal.  Not because they’re mean – it’s because they want to know who will be able to bail them out on the grill when they have 37 tickets and the shit hits the fan on a Saturday night.

I’ve never been more exhausted than I was the first month of that summer.  I slept until 5pm on my one day off each week.  The shifts were 12 hours – it beats your ASS until you acclimate.

In addition to the ass-beating work, there was always an air of competition.  One of them revolved around “yields.”  That’s based on the most steaks cut out of the total pounds of beef that were checked in that week.  The results were read aloud by the General Manager every week in our staff meeting.

I earned the highest yields in the county by the second week and held my record for the rest of the summer.  Every steak has to be weighed before you put it on the tray.  If it’s too heavy you have to cut some off, and that extra piece is wasted.  If you cut it too light, it’s no good at all (although some would put two pieces of a filet together and wrap it in bacon and hope the guest didn’t notice or complain).  Anyway, the tendency is to cut heavy, and trim to the proper weight.  That is, if you’re a lazy asshole who doesn’t care about yields…

The first time I met each of the MBM drivers that serviced our store, they all asked for the kitchen manager.  When I said it was me, they rolled their eyes and walked back to the truck.  Note:  they’re only responsible for getting the boxes to the back of the truck.  The kitchen manager pulls them off, loads the hand truck and hauls everything inside.  They all assumed I would play the girl card, but y’all know me better than that.  I pulled off every 100 pound box and loaded every hand truck.  I only weighed 15 pounds more than the average box, so I had to take them in one at a time dangling off the back of the hand truck, but I worked it out.

It took a while to earn their respect.  Every week they would eyeball me waiting to see which week I would crack.  I never did.  Eventually they were all so appreciative of me pulling my own weight, they offered to load the hand trucks and take it all in for me.

I never accepted.

We had a mutual respect for each other and I wasn’t about to dick around with that.  We all had one thing in common.

We weren’t giant sissy bitches.

What was the hardest job you ever had?  Have you had to fight for respect at work?  What work have you done that you’re most proud of?


21 thoughts on “Giant Sissy Bitch.

  1. Interesting. I like the flow. It’s inspired me to write a story about surfing. I’ll share it with you when it’s done.

  2. This is BRILLIANT – I really, really admire you for this! I sleep, eat and breathe farming, and occasionally the men tease me because I weigh less than the sheep! It’s all in good spirit, mind you, but I earned my place working alongside them by following the first rule of farming for girls: you never let go. That ram may weigh 10og and be battering you to hell but you never let go, no matter what. Mainly because it provides great entertainment for the lads but you get a lot of respect for it afterwards.

    1. Oh man! That’s even harder than restaurant work! We lived on a farm when I was a kid – only had horses, some chickens and a few goats, but it was still hard! Kudos to you for being a ram wrangler – you go girl!!! I respect it!

  3. I worked in many a back kitchen in my youth and I can attest that restaurant work is brutal. I can’t understand why anyone would want to own one. The failure rate is extraordinarily high, not to mention the long hours and physical agony it entails. All due respect to you, but I’m glad I’m out of that game.

    1. There is no WAY I could work in a restaurant today. It’s hard on your body, you’re typically working on holidays and weekends, and 60 hour work weeks are the norm. This is precisely why I moved to LA and changed careers. Production is just as physically hard and the hours are even longer but at least it’s a sexy industry haha. Now I’m on the finance side of TV with a nice office and normal hours – yay!

  4. Hardest job I ever had was in a hospice. I’m afraid I was a sissy bitch once only during my time there. A patient bled out from cirrhosis and sprayed me with his blood from every orifice. It wasn’t the blood that made me a sissy, it was the time it took me to get his kids out of the room without being traumatized for life like the rest of us.
    Second sissy bitch moment occurred when I waitressed for one half of a day at 14, and the owner screamed at me cus I didn’t know how to make more coffee in the industrial sized m-f’er he had in his kitchen. I grew up with a Mr. Coffee in MY kitchen.
    Other than that, I am pretty much a stone cold bitch.
    Love your writing!

  5. I’m late seeing this post Miss Molly but I spent many, many years being the only chick on the electrics crew in both theatre and television. Same type of environment when it comes to having to prove your equality and worth. I picked up and carried giant rolls of multi-cable draped over my shoulder and then climbed 18′ ladders with it , balanced on top of said ladders while bending down to grab a 30-60 pound lighting fixtures from another crew member and then hefted them up over my head to hang off of a pipe and spent hours throwing pig iron onto and off of counter-weight arbors during load-ins and strikes. There was often one or two guys on a crew that had to try and mess with me. My first TV gig I was working with a bunch guys who had very little experience and the old union dude who was touring us around the catwalks pointed to power distribution box and said, “So if that fuse blows you have to replace it without turning off the main power because the main box is shared with the stage next door. So yeah, you gotta reach in there with your bare hand, pull the fuse out and put a new one in. Oh…and don’t touch anything or your DEAD!” I watched the four guys on the crew just solemnly nod their heads. I snorted and said, “Like HELL I’m gonna do that. That’s DC power you idiots, he’s not exaggerating when he says your DEAD! If the fuse has to be pulled out live then you get a goddamned fuse puller. But you jokers do whatever you want.” The old union dude just smirked wandered off. I was in the best shape of my life back then but honestly, I don’t miss lifting heavy shit for a living.

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