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November 06, 2013 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2013-11-06

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r .y.




Wednesday, 6, 2013 // The Statement 7B

The students behind the bar
by Matt Slovin

ann arbor affairs: love me by alicia kovalcheck
A lot of people find it alarming commercial telling me to love my super
when people give themselves a body moments before it reminds learni
X compliment without immediately me that I still need to buy special marks
following it by assuring everyone soap to prevent that nasty dry skin you s
they're joking. "No, I know I'm not - I wondered if I'd ever stop need- being
r that attractive" or "It's not talent, ing to convince myself to like howI Freeir
it's luck!" When I stopped add- looked. And truthfully, sometimes "shes
ing those amendments to praise I I still do. almos
U V Y gave myself, I noticed that alarm But of all the different kinds of able t
- in strangers, friends, family and approaches to self-love out there, worry
myself. the one that was the hardest and for m
- - - ^°' 'T o+-+-~~~~5A[L1U-iuviug niyseiiuuuay -m~t m :rc'1 o

I started loving myseit one dtay
because I stopped giving myself
any other option. Because I was
exhausted from the relentless,
daily routine of picking out my
flaws or mistakes and hating
myself for them. Because living
in a world that finds silent yet
powerful ways to encourage me
to dislike myself feels almost as
bad as giving in. And I was done.
Or at the very least, I made the
decision to try and stop. Unlearn-
ing the toxic lens through which
I have learned to see myself is
no easy task. Loving yourself is
all but impossible when you are
constantly reminded - by not
only pop culture, but by your
own brain - that you have fat
thighs and are oversensitive to
boot. Utterly spent by the pro-
cess of tearing myself down, I
tentatively set off on the first leg of
my journey: trying to love my body.
I started following all of the
"body positive" blogs I could find, I
spent hours in front of my bedroom
mirror trying to convince myself
that what I saw staring back at me,
annoyed and exposed, was beauti-
ful. And some days, I really believed
it. I saw my dimpled thighs, I saw
my long nose, and I felt pretty
despite them. But usually, I found
myself repeating empty words at
my reflection: "you are beautiful,
you are beautiful, you are beauti-
ful." Frustrated with the double
standards before me - like a Dove

meant the most to me was the
simple idea that our bodies are
our hard-working vehicles; the
interface with which we experi-
ence the world, the mechanism
that operates nonstop, all with the
sole purpose of keeping us alive.
Most importantly, we only get this
one. When I think of it that way, it
almost feels criminal not to be in
constant awe of my powerful legs,
crooked ears and organs inside my
One of the best side effects of
loving yourself is that the criti-
cism you are trained to project
onto others diminishes as well.
Especially for women, body image
is learned as an incredibly competi-
tive notion. Many of us are condi-
tioned to hate those we perceive as
prettier than ourselves, and to feel

was, j
in ari
do so
for gi
a fail
can a
I nev
so far
the b
I'd mu
like tt
an art
that r

ior to those that are not. But
ing to love your own stretch
s and arm hair means that
lowly release yourself from
critical of "flaws" in others.
ig myself from thoughts like
shouldn't be wearing that" is
st as relieving as finally being
o wear outfits I like without
ying about what's "flattering
y body type."
wing my personality is a bit
er. I never really hated who I
just certain parts - the stub-
angry side, the unreliable
astinator, the emotional
k. I place incredible impor-
e on maintaining perfection
eas where I've received praise
,ghout my life. When I fail to
, I feel unworthy of love from
rs or myself. Being applauded
ood grades and artistic ability
ing up gave me great confi-
e, but only as long as I didn't
failure. It's crucial that I
*mber my worth is not dimin-
d because of a low test score or
ed drawing. Flaws or failures
always use work, but it is my
an characteristics - compas-
a love for justice, empathy -
make me inherently valuable.
the one driving this vehicle,
r so long, I had forgotten that
myself was even an option.
'er realized that falling in
with myself, however tumul-
the relationship, could feel
ntastic. However intolerable
ance might be, self-love isn't
ance. Accepting compliments
myself and, others without
cally denying them is one of
est things I've learned to do.
uch rather take selfies and feel
:he person I've grown into is
twork in progress than con-
y berate myself for the flaws
hake me who I am.


n Ann Arbor's most notorious
basement, known for its sticky
dance floor and neon, liquor-infused
shark bowls, LSA senior Ben Gyarmati
does his homework.
It's a far cry from the Shapiro
Undergraduate Library. But for
Gyarmati, Rick's American Cafd, where
hours later patrons will flash credit cards
and dollar bills, doubles as a study space.
As one might imagine, it's not the most
productive of environments.
"It's a very hard place to get work
done," Gyarmati said. "Especially when
the DJ comes in and starts playing
techno with no lyrics."
For most students who venture to the
basement of 611 Church Street, where
Rick's is located, studies are the last thing
on the mind. But for those like Gyarmati,
a bartender at the bar, downtime at work
means a chance to catch up on reading
for class. And while some students opt
for more traditional part-time jobs -
like retail jobs or University Housing
positions - others are drawn to gigs at
The 'social aspect'
To Engineering senior Mike Oles, who
also works at Rick's, work rarely feels
like work.
"A lot of other jobs are like, 'Oh crap,
I have to go to work,' " Oles said. "But I
don't dread it. Work is fun for me."
Part of what makes the shifts
so enjoyable for him is the ability

to socialize on the job. Once Oles
has completed his duties, which
include bussing tables and running
the dishwasher, his supervisors are
generally OK with him chatting with
The camaraderie among co-workers
has been instrumental to the college
career of Gyarmati. He transferred to
the University from Michigan State
University after the first semester of
his freshman year, which caused him
to "miss the pivotal time of meeting
people in the dorms," he said. His job
at Rick's has allowed him to find a
close-knit friend group.
Weekends spentbehind the bar instead
of ordering drinks is also a plus for Rick's
Gyarmati said he prefers bartending to
the three bouncer positions at the bottom
of the Rick's staircase because "it's more
With the amount of time employees
spend at Rick's -on the clock, one
would think they would stay away in
their free time. But that doesn't seem
to be the case. Oles cites the half-off
employee discount as a reason to visit
the bar on nights off.
"I go into the night thinking I'm going
to stay away, but monetarily there's no
reason to stay away," Oles said. "And it's
fun to see the staff."
Students policing students
The indignant _ customer who has

had a few too many shark bowls
might not realize it, but it's possible
the bartender who cuts him or her
off could be in their chemistry
lecture. Oles said 90-95 percent of
the Rick's staff are students either at
the University or Eastern Michigan
"Sometimes you get people who say,
'Oh, you're going nowhere in life because
you work at Rick's,' " Oles said. "But I
don't think they understand that I'm also
a student."
Oles added that he can laugh off the
disrespect, which usually comes from
patrons who are being kicked out -
something he said happens once or twice
each shift.
Gyarmati believes customers would
be more polite if they realized he's a
classmate of theirs. In his experience,
the hardest ones to deal with are outside
of the bar.
"It's understandable in some
aspects. It's a long-ass line out in the
cold," he said.
"When you're bouncing, you'll get
treated like shit by a lot of people,"
Gyarmati said. "They'll be like, 'Oh
sweet, you work minimum wage at a
bar.' But I'm also getting a University of
Michigan education. It's not like this is
my life.".
Stories to last a lifetime
Life at Rick's for Oles and Gyarmati
comes with eIldless tales of patrons'

drunken debauchery.
One night, Gyarmati watched a fight
break out on the sidewalk outside of the
bar, and he sprinted in to break up the'
Gyarmati pinned one of the unruly
customers to the ground, but because
his zip-up hooded sweatshirt covered
up the word "staff" on the back of his
work T-shirt, a policeman mistook him
for one of the perpetrators.
The next thing Gyarmati remembers,
his face was on fire. The cops had
sprayed mace, and his efforts to play
peacemaker had only earned him agony.
But life at Rick's provides the
ammunition for less painful stories too,
like the time Oles observed someone in
line name-drop a co-worker to another
"You don't know Cory Davis like I
do," Oles recalls him saying.
Little did the arrogant customer
know, he was actually talking to Davis's
twin brother, who also works at Rick's.
For Oles, Gyarmati and the rest of the
students behind the scenes at Rick's, a
job at the bar simply makes sense. But
what does it take to be a good fit for a
job at Rick's or another popular off-.,
campus bar?
"Someone with work ethic who' is
willing to give up weekend nights,"
Oles said.
"Just try to be easy going," Gyarmati
said. "If you're a bartender, you're going
to be yelled-at. You've basically just got "~
to be calm and be focused."

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