The Short American Woman

English: A student working as a barmaid in a B...Scene from a Brighton bar:

A: “Could I have a glass of water please. No ice.”

B: “I can’t serve you because the last time you were here you threw a drink in someone’s face.”

A: “I just want a glass of water.”

B: “I can’t serve you because the last time you were here you threw a drink in the barmaid‘s face.”

A: “Excuse me! Pardon me? What did you say?!”

B: “I can’t serve you because the last time you were here you threw a drink in the barmaid’s face.”

A: “You’ve confused me with someone else.”

Hustle bustle behind the bar.

A: “Can I speak to the manager please?”

bartender (Photo credit: macwagen)

Another woman speaks:

C: “I am the manager.”

A: “There seems to be some confusion.  She says I threw a drink in someone’s face.  Who said I did that?”

C: “The other barmaid.  She’s not here tonight.”

A: “You’ve confused me with someone else.”

B: “No, it was you.”

A: “How do you know it was me?”

B: “She described you.”

A: “Okay – and what was the description?”

B: “The short American woman.”

A: “I’m not American, I’m Canadian.”

C: “Same thing.”

A: “This is ridiculous.  I did not throw a drink in anybody’s face…”

and so it goes on….

Life in England.


I can’t help but feel it was a set up.  A kind of practical joke.  It is so far out of left field.  What a strange concept of customer service.  I mean, would you accuse someone of something like that without first being sure you had the right person?


14 thoughts on “The Short American Woman

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  1. Sorry but I laughed. Mainly when I got to Canadian, not American. You should know by now that Brits can’t tell the difference between North American accents, or Aussies and Kiwis.

    The story doesn’t surprise me one iota. I was barred from a pub once because the landlady claimed I was after her husband (who was not remotely attractive). I’d go in after work, buy a beer, and there was no-one else to speak to so I spoke to him. What was I supposed to do? Sit there like a mummy? Oh wait? Single women didn’t got to pubs after work on their own of course. Silly me.

    1. Yes, well I was thrown out and barred from a pub when I first came to England because I never bought an alcoholic drink and you know that English saying: “Never trust someone who won’t have a drink with you.” After the barman, who I’d seen before (in the scene written about above) went off and chatted with the manageress, I was given a glass of water and after I talked about what had happened with my friends who were there, I was told by the barmaid who started the whole thing, that if I didn’t stop telling people about it I’d have to leave! It boggles the mind. I certainly hope there are no repercussions from writing about it – without mentioning any names – on my blog. But they did give me a glass of water – actually, they gave me 4 glasses of water! Much better than the pub where I used to go to sing in a jam session and the bartenders wouldn’t give me a glass of water. Period. The reason they gave me? Because if they give me a free glass of water, everybody would want a free glass of water then they wouldn’t sell any beer. Yeah right. These are people who drink several pints a night who won’t want a beer because they can have water. Not likely!

      1. I’m still laughing. That is just as funny as the first post. I do remember that logic though. People who go out socially are meant to BUY a drink, whatever it is. So a glass of nasty chemical tap water is just asked for by cheapskates? yes?

      2. I guess. I first got wind of this mentality when I lived in BCN and frequented a jam session (free entry, free drink for singing) at a local bar where they also ran an acoustic open mic (entry fee, even for performers, no free drinks). I was stunned that they wld ask performers to pay an entry fee. The manager’s wife was English and when I expressed my astonishment I was lectured about it being a small price to pay for the “opportunity to make my work public” and how “Catalans are the meanest people in the world because they will pay an entry fee, then won’t buy a drink. Or they will buy one drink and make it last all evening, and that’s just plain stingy.” So when I came to England and was asked to pay an entry fee to a poetry slam where I was going to slam my poetry I’d already been introduced to that level of pure, exploitative greed. I only went to that slam 3 times, and have never been back and it never ceases to amaze me the poets who will pay to slam.

      3. Oh, how long have you been out of the U.K.? Okay a slam is when the organizers give score cards like skating judges have, and each poet gets 3 minutes to perform their poem, then the judges score them and the person with the most points wins. In my experience, the better the poet, the lower the score; while the high scores invariably have a performance gimmick. Though I have seen some top notch performance poets who have come up through the slam circuit.

  2. larf I almost died, thanks for your comment, I look forward to more posts. Canadian … its easy to tell they are the ones saying ‘I a NOT American!’ Generally have a maple leaf on their rucksack just to make it obvious.

      1. As a Police officer/det I bet you found the description for identifying the guilty party, and automatic ‘guilty’ quite hilarious as well!

      2. So I got to the bottom of this accusation this evening and learned from whence it started. A simple misunderstanding, misinterpreted, exaggerated and blown into ‘threw a drink in her face’. Apologies all round and all are now on good terms! 🙂

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