I wear pigtails as a waitress because men tip better when I do. It grosses me out, but the money is worth it.
- Katelyn Boss is a 22-year-old server at a sports bar in Salt Lake City, Utah.
- She thought it was a waste of time at first. The tips were bad, and her base wage was $2.13 an hour.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Katelyn Boss, a 22-year-old server in Salt Lake City, Utah. It has been edited for length and clarity.
When I first started working as a waitress at a sports bar and grill, I was struggling to make tips. It almost felt like I was wasting my time. I was making so little money because the minimum wage in Utah for tipped employees is $2.13 an hour.
I saw the 'pigtail theory' for making more tips on TikTok
So I went on TikTok to look at what other waitresses were doing to make higher tips. I was looking for any ideas and tricks I could use, and I came across the hashtag #pigtailtheory trend. In it, women realized that if they wore their hair in pigtails, they made more money in tips.
I was kind of surprised by the idea, but I decided to just give it a try. I put my hair in pigtails and went into the bar for my waitressing shift. That was the night I made my first $100 tip.
I was really surprised that it worked so quickly
I kept trying it, and it just kept working. I was making more money than I ever had. I was surprised. I didn't think it would work, and everyone at my job makes fun of me about it. But I just tell them all they should try it, too. It might be a TikTok trend, but it works!
I've thought about why myself and so many other waitresses have found such success in wearing pigtails to work, and it kind of grosses me out. I think it plays into a fantasy men have of schoolgirls and the innocence they think comes along with that. If you're flirty and bubbly and wearing pigtails, they really like it.
I've tried experimenting with the pigtails even further. If I curl my hair before I put it in pigtails, I make even more tips than I do with my hair straight. It almost makes me look like a doll, and guys seem to like that.
The comments I get while wearing pigtails do make me feel weird
I mean, I know everyone has their own fetishes, and I don't want to judge them. But it still feels uncomfortable to me, especially when they make comments about it.
One guy told me I reminded him of comic book character Harley Quinn, who famously wears pigtails. That wouldn't have been so bad, but then he kept telling me how badly he wanted to pull my hair. He was in a big group of his guy friends, and he kept saying it. I'm 5-foot-2, and his friends were making fun of him, saying that he likes short little blonde girls with pigtails. It was creepy.
The men who like my pigtails most and tip the highest are in their late 40s or early 50s
Sometimes it can get weird when they're with their wives or girlfriends, but I try to mostly talk to the woman so she knows I'm not trying to flirt with her guy.
I've had situations where I check the receipt and see that the man wrote one tip amount in and the woman scratched it out and put a smaller tip amount. I understand jealousy or feeling weird, but it's hurtful because I'm just doing my best to make a living. Everyone has insecurities, but I don't think you should take it out on how I pay rent.
I definitely find it disturbing that men like the pigtail look
But at the same time, I have to do what I have to do. If any other young women are thinking about possibly trying out the pigtail trend, I would say to go for it.
You might get weird comments from men or some negativity from women, but you'll get higher tips.
Do you have a story about how you make more money as a service worker? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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