I have to do something I hate doing. I have to give Gloria Allred some publicity. Sure, I have to mention her only in order to say that I think she’s wrong and using the plight of women to further her own fame. But I still have to mention her, which is what she wants. It’s a great system she’s set up for herself: she wins even when people talk about how ridiculous she is.
But I can’t ignore Allred here because now she is messing with something near and dear to my heart: scantily clad cocktail waitresses in Atlantic City. That’s right, I live on the East Coast. That means I can’t easily get to Las Vegas or New Orleans. That means occasionally I have to go get my gambling fix in A.C. If you’ve never been to Atlantic City, imagine Vegas after the apocalypse: everything is broken and rundown and more desperate-looking. It’s pathetic. And you feel pathetic while you are there (until you start hitting some points and the table gets hot and you find yourself nailing a hard ten and it feels like the whole casino gives you a high five).
One casino was doing something about that depressing ambiance. It was getting rid of all of its old cocktail waitresses. Believe me when I tell you that this is an important move. Imagine sitting in A.C. down a grand at 4 a.m. and starting to think to yourself if there is any Swingers potential and then your watered-down drink comes back only it’s brought to you by a woman old enough to be your grandmother. And so instead of trying to figure out how to have sex with the waitress, you’re sitting there kind of thinking of how your mother would disapprove if she saw you in that moment. It’s enough to make you want to kill yourself.
It’s certainly enough to make you want to stop gambling. And now along comes Gloria Allred, trying to tell people that 50-year-old cocktail waitresses at casinos are still sexy, and can’t be fired….
The Newark Star-Ledger has the basics of the lawsuit:
Attorney Gloria Allred said the latest lawsuit was filed this morning in Atlantic City on behalf of nine former beverage servers who were told they were fired from the casino because they did not “meet uniform requirements.”
It follows a similar suit brought by other former Resorts servers in March, and another by former employees who performed other tasks and were let go when the casino changed hands in December.
“They were fired because they got older, because as beautiful as they are, they didn’t met someone’s definition of ‘sexy,'” said Virginia Hardwick, a New Jersey attorney participating in the case.
Here’s all I need to know about the cocktail-waitress plaintiffs:
Margie DePamphilis, 54….
Elsa Hernandez, a 57-year-old grandmother….
Marie Stewart, 66….
Stop right there. Just stop. Surely we can live in a society where we can say 66 years old is too old to be a cocktail waitress without risking litigation. Surely I don’t have to explain why maybe it’s time for the 57-year-old woman to start serving drinks at Bennigan’s instead of a casino.
And it’s not like this casino had some kind of age cap where waitresses were automatically fired after they reached a certain age:
[O]lder servers were told they had to audition for their jobs in the new skimpy flapper costumes, were given costumes too small for them and were photographed in awkward poses that emphasized body fat. A panel put together by an outside modeling agency recommended who should stay and who should go based on photographs of the auditions, according to court documents.
See, they weren’t fired once they got old, they were fired once they started to look old. Legally, that’s a big difference.
Umm… what’s wrong with that? No seriously, what in the hell is wrong with hiring somebody because they look young and sexy and then firing them once they no longer look young and sexy? You know who is 57 years old? Rene Russo. And through untold miracles of modern science, technology, and fitness programs, Rene Russo looks like she could still be a cocktail waitress at a casino. I’d hate to know what Russo puts herself through to look like that, but there you go.
Of course, not every woman looks like Rene Russo when they are pushing 60. And (newsflash) not every woman gets to be a Hollywood leading actress. Or even a simple cocktail waitress in a rundown town well past its prime. There’s nothing wrong with that. There’s no shame in that. What is up with these aging Boomers who believe they should still be able to do all the things they could do when they were 30 years younger? I’m in my 30s and I accept that I can’t do the same things I did during my 20s, but Resorts needs to explain to women in their 50s why they just lost their jobs to girls who have never used a rotary phone? I wonder how the women suing Resorts are going to react when somebody finally tells them that Santa isn’t real.
Look, I’m not saying these woman should be taken out behind the casino and summarily executed. I’m saying that 50-year-old women need to find something else to do besides walking around half-naked and serving drinks. And before the femi-nazi crowd tries to shove a calcium-enriched yogurt laxative down my throat, I’ve got two final issues:
1) At some point, everybody will agree that these women are too old.
2) Let’s not forget that the only reason these women want to keep their jobs is that they perceive flaunting their old asses in front of horny men will net them more tip money than having a “regular” waitress job.
To issue #1, how old does the lady have to be before it’s okay to tell her that she’s too old to continue being a cocktail waitress at a casino? Seventy? Eighty? Would it be okay for Resorts to look at an 85-year-old cocktail waitress and say “we value your long years of service, but your Lifeline necklace and titanium hips are really starting to freak out the guests”? At some point, people get too old. A civilized society provides old people with graceful transition to their golden years; it doesn’t dress them up in steel-reinforced bustiers and make them compete with 20-year-olds for tips.
To issue #2, Allred leaves us with this gem:
Allred encouraged Atlantic City casino patrons to take their business to one of the city’s 10 other casinos.
“Maybe (Resorts owners) think they can profit by using young women as bait to hook in young men to buy drinks, but it’s wrong,” she said. “Women are not just sex objects. They are real human beings.”
Blow it out your ass, Allred. These women, the women in the instant case, chose to be sex objects because it makes them more money. The casino is simply saying that these women aren’t allowed to objectify themselves for Resorts’ guests anymore. The whole point of being a cocktail waitress in a casino is to be a sex object. Otherwise they’d let them wear clothes! But to be effective and profitable bait for the casino, those babies need to float, not sag. I’m not an employment lawyer — maybe I should ask Jay Shepherd what he thinks — but I’m pretty sure being young and sexy is a BFOQ for getting me drunk while I blow my life savings.
For the women who can pull it off, the better tips make these cocktail waitress opportunities more desirable than regular waitress work. I bet when these women started, they pushed out some older, “more experienced” cocktail servers, who were past their prime.
I wish we lived in a universe where there was no physical downside to getting old. I bet every person over 30 would want to keep their current brain but put it in their 21-year-old body (and if you wouldn’t make that bargain you’ve either learned nothing or were a hideous-looking young person before you could afford plastic surgery). But that’s not how the world works. The skin loses its elasticity, wear and tear takes a toll on joints and sockets, the body cannot replace all of the dead or damaged cells quickly enough, gravity always wins.
And eventually, grandma needs to take off the cocktail underwear. There’s no crime in that.