Where the Boys Are? | Europe or Bust | The Non-Tipper

Where the Boys Are?

Dear Micah,

I am a slightly overweight single lady (but I am working my butt off to well, work my butt off) but I have people all the time tell me I am “cute” or “pretty.”  However, the people who tell me this are never guys or guys that I am interested in.  I am a smart and slightly nerdy girl and I am looking for a smart and slightly nerdy guy (Michael Cera is my dream guy) but I cannot seem to find anyone in Birmingham.  I have tried the bar scene as well as online dating – both disasters – and I am not financially able to leave the city.  Do you have any advice where a cute, smart, slightly nerdy girl can find a guy or is it just impossible these days?

Thank you so very much!


Dear Slightly Nerdy Girl,

Unfortunately the sad truth of the matter is that there isn’t a very happening dating scene in Birmingham.  I know a bunch of women in the same boat as you who have little luck finding a decent guy.  I think your best bet is to take less-traveled and less-obvious routes to meeting guys.  If you are a nerd, or a slight nerd, check out more nerdy venues.  Ask yourself, where do the nerdy boys hang out?  Where would you go to meet Leonard from Big Bang Theory?  A comic book store?  A public lecture at Samford or UAB?  Any coffee shop where you can bring your laptop and just hang out?  There are a number of places to meet up with a quirky kind of guy, but once you do, then you have a whole bevy of other issues to contend with such as how to get his attention, begin a discussion with him, and how to make your move.

It’s just far easier to use your friend network.  Alert all of your friends and family that you are seriously looking to meet a guy and that you are open to fix-ups and those awkward party introductions.  The holidays are approaching and that’s a great time to persuade a friend to host a little informal get-together where you can casually be introduced to one or more possible guys.  Cast a wide net and see what you pull in.  Just don’t get discouraged, even if it seems like you will never find the guy for you.  Things come in their own time.  Who knows, but that the perfect guy for you might be currently dating someone else and you just have to be patient and wait for fate to end their relationship and bring the two of you together.

If we were to fast-forward ten years, we may very well see you in a great relationship with a guy who is unavailable right now.  I know I’m not being any real help, and that’s just because there isn’t any real help for this problem.  There are way too many girls in Birmingham vying for a few decent men.  Everybody I know in successful relationships found each other through acquaintances or online.  There just aren’t many places to go to meet people in this town.  Just hang in there and join every group and club you can and volunteer time for organizations that mean something to you.  The ideal guy for you may be hiding down one of those avenues.


Europe or Bust

Dear Micah,

I have a major decision to make in my life and I would [like] to have your advice on the matter.  I am currently saving my money for my dream trip to Europe.  I would be gone for about two months backpacking and seeing all the things that I have always wanted to see.  The dilemma that I am running into though is for me to take this trip (which would be around next September) I would have to quit my job and when I came back I would still be living at home with my mother until I could find a job and build up enough savings to move out.  Normally this would be an easy decision for me but recently my boss has hinted at a promotion at work and I realized that I would be (by the time the trip rolled around) 27 years old with no job still living at home with my mother.  Is a trip of a lifetime worth leaving a company that seems like I am advancing in?  Or worth showing up to my high school reunion single, still living at home, and broke?  I guess what I am asking is, “What would Micah do?”

Traveling Bug


Dear Traveling Bug,

40 year old Micah would say “Go on the trip and screw the job.”  But 27 year old Micah might have been in the same dilemma you are in now.  It is so embarrassing to have to tell people that you live at home with your parents after you’ve reached a certain age.  Fortunately, though, many adults have been faced with having to do that at one time or another, so it isn’t all that unheard of now like it was thirty years ago.  I lived at home until I was 24.

To truly make the right decision, I think you need to ask yourself some important questions about this job you have.  First of all, is it a job you acquired after college, using a degree?  Did you work really hard to get it and have to jump through lots of hurdles or go through lots of interviews to get it?  Is it the career you’ve always wanted?  If so, then maybe Europe isn’t worth risking that.  One summer of amazing travel isn’t worth ditching all of your progress nor is it worth having to start a career over from scratch after investing so much of yourself into it.

However, if this job is just a job, one that you got walking in off the street with no special training or education, then I’d say go to Europe.  You can find another job.  Careers are harder to come by but jobs are pretty plentiful.  You may not immediately find a job as great as the one you already have, but you’ll be able to find one that will pay your expenses until you can find a better one with more opportunities attached to it.  If you stay and play it safe, soon years will run out and backpacking through Europe will never be an option again.  I think that if you are so valued at your current job that you are up for a promotion, you may stand a pretty good chance of getting hired back at this company if you are up front with them about your dream trip.  I have never seen Europe, and now at my age, I have too many responsibilities to be able to go anytime soon.

At 35, you are going to find yourself immersed in your work and family.  You will probably be married by then and have kids.  The dream of Europe will be out of reach.   As I get older, I realize that the old saying is really true that you only regret the things in life that you didn’t do.  Imagine how satisfying you’ll feel at your class reunion knowing you have seen the world—or a great part of it—as all of your friends are talking about their last trip to Destin. Sure, you may not be as advanced in your career as they are, but you will have some pretty important life experience points in your corner.  Besides, what a great excuse for not measuring up to the other classmates.  I can hear the conversation now as the class douchebag comes up to you and says, “Oh, did you hear Becky is a surgeon now.  And Brad is an accomplished tax lawyer.  What do you do?”  You can smile and reply, “Oh I am really just starting my professional career because I took time to travel this beautiful world of ours.  I learned so much about other people and other cultures.  I have so many stories to tell my kids about all the people I’ve met. Well, you understand… I heard you just got back from Six Flags.”


The Non-Tipper

Dear Micah,

Jack is great.  I like everything about him.  Good looking, charming, sensitive without being a wimp.  Everything is dream-guy material except that he refuses to tip our wait staff and bartenders when we go out.  This is really his only flaw, a flaw I have a hard time getting past.  I am so embarrassed when we go out.  It’s getting to where I feel apprehension when I know we are going to be dining out or going to hear a band play at a bar.  I talked to him about it once.  He said that waiters are paid by the hour and he isn’t paying them extra to do what they are already paid to do.  When I tried to tell him that they don’t get paid much his response was that they did get paid and if they didn’t like the amount they should get better jobs.  I know I am probably going to break up with him over this issue because it just causes me to dread our dates now.  I know you’ll have an opinion on this and I can’t wait to hear it!



Dear K,

Dump him tonight. Jack isn’t as great a guy as you think if he said what you said he said.  A statement like that shows a refusal to listen to another person’s point of view and a stubbornness that will keep him from ever admitting he might be wrong about something.  In short, Jack’s a dick.  Get rid of Jack.  You should be enjoying dates, not breaking out in an anxious sweat because you know the waiters are all cursing you from the kitchen. It doesn’t take long for bad tippers to make a name for themselves in establishments. Cleanse yourself of that stigma and enjoy eating out again.

In my twenties, I was a waiter and bartender for a few years.  I can testify that these people work very hard at their jobs.  They often work long hours, double shifts, doing all they can to make sure that guests have as enjoyable experience as they can.  Why?  Because their only source of income is the tip they receive, or in Jack’s case, don’t receive. Waitstaff and bartenders are not really paid.  When I waited tables, we got paid $2.13 an hour and I think that is still the rate, although if I am wrong, someone correct me.  I do know that it is a tiny fraction of what the minimum wage happens to be.  The reason for this is because the industry expects these workers will make their income with tips.  So if Jack isn’t tipping, that worker IS NOT getting paid.  And that measly $2.13 always goes towards the taxes waiters have to pay, so they never really get to keep that.

So whenever Jack, and Jack types, goes to dine in establishments, the waitstaffs know who they are and whether they tip poorly, tip well, or do not tip at all.  People do not forget bad tippers and good tippers, and waitstaff share this information with one another and sometimes that information even follows a customer to another restaurant or bar.  Waitstaff often goes out together after work to other places where they have friends still working.  The biggest topic of conversation among waitstaff that are just getting off of work is usually their customers.  Which customers were nice, which were rude and demanding, who got the best tip, who got the worst.  Nothing sticks in the craw of a waiter more than having have devoted yourself to a table’s needs only to have that table stiff you on the tip making you feel like none of your service meant anything to them at all.

They tell each other about those customers, and I’d bet many a server in your town knows who Jack is.  You really don’t want to be associated with Jack in a restaurant environment. I can tell you from my own experience and everything that I have seen that Jack has probably digested a fair share of spit, Visine, and possibly other bodily fluids—not to mention a few “droppers” (where his food is accidentally dropped, or rubbed, on the floor before serving it).  Sounds disgusting?  It is.  But it happens.  It happens to dicks like Jack that get on their high horse and devalue the importance of other people and the jobs they perform.  So like I said, dump Jack and enjoy dining out again.

Leave a Reply