By Joel Warner
By Michael Roberts
By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
It's been one long, sweltering summer. But while it was 105 degrees outside, the temperature was even higher inside when we announced our citywide canvass for the hottest service employees in town. We quickly received dozens of tips on beautiful baristas, cute chefs, virile valets, haute hairstylists and pretty-boy pizza-delivery drivers. Reader nominations varied from short, no-nonsense summaries ("dark hair, green eyes, high cheekbones") to a handwritten love letter that was so full of longing we wondered how the young man was able to conceal his crush for the Safeway employee. "I just wish I had more time to talk with her," wrote the hapless suitor.
We know just how he feels.
Service employees are so ingrained in our daily routines, it's hard not to feel fondness for the ways these beautiful people dote on us. They prepare our food, mix our drinks, clean our floors, cut our hair and give us change for the meter. Without them, we'd be starving, filthy, pathetic little people with unpaid parking tickets and sex fantasies relegated to Friends reruns and Abercrombie & Fitch catalogues. Except infatuations like these aren't fueled by fame or glossy good looks; these flames are accessible, and they're ours to covet like burning pearls in the pits of our stomachs. Oh, lordy, how we covet.
Now, though, it's time to stop being selfish and share our findings with the world. Incidentally, it was much harder locating these heartthrobs than was expected. Upon investigation, a number of the reader nominations turned to have been fired, were moving out of state or never really existed. Plus, some of these hotties wouldn't even return our calls. We are looking at you, Baker from Racines, Travis from Vesta Dipping Grill and Amy from Costco. Do you all think you're too cool? That's not hot at all! Don't you think Westword has feelings, too? If you prick us, do we not breed? We exposed our intentions to Jennifer from Rioja, but after she saw our questionnaire, she avoided us entirely. Why do you fear our affection? Three weeks later, she e-mailed us an apology, but it was too late. Our fragile egos had been kicked like a bag of flaming dog crap and then pooped on by a bigger, meaner dog who has never felt the pain of rejection.
But we've moved on, baby. We've moved on like a motherfucker!
We found dozens and dozens of lovely service employees who were not afraid to be seen with us in public. In fact, they even shared some of their most intimate thoughts on subjects like "Cheetos or Doritos," time travel and the superheroes they respect the most. Take that, Michael from St. Mark's, you smug, sexy-ass bastard!
Two weeks ago, the smarmy questionnaires and photos of the twenty fetching finalists were posted on westword.com for readers to vote for their favorites. Online perusing had gone on for no more than two hours when we received a call from a very peeved girlfriend of one of the contestants. Tyler, a member of the local band Tigerlily Jumpstation, works as a waiter at Mona's Cafe. It seems that his photo -- shirtless, reclining, with a sultry, come-hither gaze -- had been submitted by an imposter. The faux hottie, Holland, one of the rocker's former bandmates, also filled out the survey with some answers that were displeasing to the real Tyler. (For the record, Tyler does not hate fat people and is not bi-curious.) The 23-year-old summarily requested that his likeness be pulled from the site. Fine with us, bro. We still have your risqué pic hanging in our office anyway, right next to a printout of a bare-chested Buddy Lembeck. (Now, there's a contest!)
Nobody has ever accused democracy of being an overly efficient means of decision-making. Nor is it predictable. As the hottie horse race made its way around the final bend, poll-watchers were shocked to see some unexpected underdog candidates taking the lead. We did suspect some ballot-stuffing, but the degree to which some restaurants came out to support (or not support) their hottie was stunning. But, hey, that's the body politic of service-employee statesmanship. As a wise man once said: Shake your moneymakers. Thus, for your pleasure, we present the two winners and the other eight top vote-getting service employees.
Don't forget to tip.
The Commish, aka Joe
Where do we lust for thee?
Grindstone: Fleet manager
What makes someone hot?
"For me, it's intelligence and tenacity. I like girls that are smarter than me, which doesn't narrow things down at all. I like flair. If you're good at kickball, that really gets me going, too."
Commish, we really like you. No, for real. We're not just saying that. And it's not just your skill at renting us trucks, or selling us booze at that one liquor store, or frying us burgers back in the day as a cook at My Brother's Bar, or any of the hundreds of other crappy service jobs you've worked around town. Don't laugh. We really, really like you. Actually, well, you could say that Westword and its readers are, like, in love with you.