NOT Harry and Louise

It is a sad, sad day in the Fishbowl. We checked in with our favorite advice column from Washingtonian magazine, Ask Harry and Louise. It’s the column by Harry Jaffe and his wife, Louise. We always say if THEY are qualified to give advice, WE are qualified to give advice. Apparently, they are no longer qualified to give advice. On their page is the somber announcement.

Dear Readers:

Thanks so much for asking, reading, and responding to Ask Harry and Louise. Much appreciated.

We are taking a few months off.

Please stay tuned.

Harry and Louise

We are devastated. As much fun as we had with the column, we looked forward to reading their advice, no matter how much we sometimes disagreed with it. So, it is with a heavy heart that we deliver one more edition of NOT Harry and Louise. You know how this works. We take the questions submitted to their column and answer them with our own advice. So, here’s today’s question from a concerned restaurant worker.


Dear Harry and Louise,

I work as a server at a high-end, much-sought-after restaurant in Washington. I worked my way up to server after serving as a hostess for a month. While I don’t see myself as a server forever, it’s a good way to make money until I head to graduate school. The manager who schedules all of the servers keeps giving me the worst shifts: midweek lunches, the occasional dinner. I have requested to have more weekend nights when I could make much more money. She always explains that she still sees me as a server in training. She does not consider me “broken in” yet. She makes these comments despite the fact that I am good at what I do, and the customers are more than happy with my service.

Yesterday, she told me that a local TV anchor (and a bit of a DC celebrity) was coming for lunch and would be sitting in my section, but that she was going to give that table to Frank, another server who’s older but not better than me. I was furious. I asked her why. Frank has not been working there much longer than I have. I have also seen Frank and my manager heavily flirting with each other, and they left together one evening as I was finishing a shift.

After she gave him the VIP table, I was talking with another server.

“She’s sleeping with him,” my coworker said. “Everyone knows.”

Everyone but the general manager and the owner. I know both of them. Should I bust the manager? Talk to her? Keep my mouth shut?

I don’t have to tell you that this is not a situation that is unique to the restaurant industry. Hell, this is Washington, D.C. Sadly, no one does sex scandals, secrets and favoritism better than we do. So, while we are sympathetic to your problem, we are not surprised. The way we see it, you have a shitty boss. So, your options are pretty limited. You could make a stand. Confront your boss. Demand better shifts and better tables. If she says no, be prepared to walk and find employment elsewhere. That’s ONE way to go. But, we prefer another idea. Eff with your boss. Find subtle ways to let HER know that YOU know that she’s getting a serving of Frank’s meat whenever she can. Make her sweat a little bit. If she has half a brain, she realizes that she could get in a lot of trouble for screwing her subordinate, so scare her a little bit. Sure, it sounds shady and it’s borderline blackmail, but that’s just how business gets done in this town.

But, what do we know? Let’s ask Harry Jaffe and his wife, Louise, what they think. After all, they have had their own advice column in Washingtonian magazine. Let’s start with Harry.

But my logical side says it’s better to be professional. Don’t go above her head. Don’t confront her. The best course is to withdraw from this toxic stew. Keep the job as long as necessary, look for another, hasten plans to hit graduate school. And smile–especially at Frank.

That’s fairly reasonable. You could always just walk and find another job. Just deal with this bad job until you find a better one. Not bad, Jaffe. What about Louise?

Your devious side will create more drama and likely lead to your losing your job. Keep the job, and head to graduate school as soon as possible.

So, she basically agrees with Jaffe. To just shuffle through it until you find something better. But, we still like the idea of screwing with your boss’s head.

So, there you have it. Our final NOT Harry and Louise for the time being. We can only hope that Washingtonian resumes this advice column in the very near future.