Have you ever hit on a personal trainer who has elevated your pulse in more ways than one? Or jotted your phone number down on a cheque after a meal featuring particularly memorable (and attractive) service?
A recent poll at online dating site Zoosk showed that 53% of men polled and 39% of women have, at some point in their lives, made a pass at a server, bartender, masseuse or personal trainer.
The rules of engagement for mixing business with pleasure can be truly awkward to navigate. After all, these people are essentially getting paid to be friendly and attentive to your needs. And it’s not unlike that flirty bartender is less interested in you than in getting a good tip.
Sam, 25, has been a server for eight years. She can’t even recall the number of times she’s been hit on by customers because it’s happened with such frequency.
“I’ve been hit on in various ways over the years,” she says. Some would-be suitors have been more appropriate than others. “I once had someone leave me their number while they were on a date! No, thank you.”
There is a good chance that blatantly trying to pick up your server, bartender or personal trainer can lead straight to awkwardtown (population: everyone, at some point), especially if it’s not done respectfully.
That said, Sam says she’s dated a couple of customers seriously in the past. She is with her current partner only because she had the guts to hit on him at work.
When is it okay to make a pass at someone who has no choice but to hang out with you for the next hour or two and who you’ll inevitably see the next time you have a craving for Guinness and cheesy spinach dip?
“If you want to pick up your server or bartender or personal trainer, put in the work,” says Sam. “Ask about their life and try to find common ground and points of conversation. Also, know that you’re probably going to have to make the first move. My partner had a rule of not hitting on people while he was working.”
Sam says you should also be very sensitive to the signals they send back. Don’t be overly persistent. And don’t be that creep who comes back every weekend to try again. If they say they’re too busy to chat, do not be offended. Offer your sympathy and a smile and let them do their job.
David, a 37-year-old personal trainer, estimates he’s been asked out by more than a dozen clients over the years. He has also been directly sexually propositioned twice.
“I always try to stay professional with my clients,” he says.” I make sure that even if I’m highly attracted to them, I keep everything above board. If I ever did want to date a client, I would tell them once things became obvious and probably give them to another trainer to work with if we dated. Am I allowed (to date clients)? Yes. Would I? Probably not.”
According to Jane Barrett, marketing director at Zoosk.com, smitten customers should best proceed with cautious optimism.
“If you really think you have a connection with someone you meet while they’re at work in the service industry, go for it. See if they’d like to hang out away from their work environment, but remember to be respectful; they are at work,” says Barrett. “Don’t put them on the spot in front of a group of people; be subtle and leave them your business card … people in the service industry are paid to be nice to you. It is part of their job and doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re flirting.”
If you’re attempting to pick up the bartender, says Barrett, you’re missing out on all of the other available singles who aren’t trying to work.
DID YOU KNOW:
When trying to get a server’s attention, a woman may twirl her hair in her fingers or let it cascade in front of one eye, adding a sense of come-hither mystery to her persona, says AskMen.com.
Sexy Typewriter blogs about her dating failures – online and otherwise – atSexytypewriter.com.