She was a pretty girl with long, dyed black hair, dark eyes and red painted lips. In a thick, slavic accent, she gave us the run-down for the evening. We were a group of about 25 on a Belgrade pub crawl, with 1 girl for every 5 guys. Some of the guys were admittedly looking for a date.
That’s their business, but I found myself feeling for the pretty girl, our pub crawl guide for the night. Her job was to show us a good time. Some of the guests took that concept a little too far.
As the shots were downed, the beers emptied and the trumpets skyrocketing the party vibe into high gear, I noticed a few of the men in our group getting a little too friendly with our guide, hugging and kissing her, slipping their arms around her waist and pulling her to them, lifting her off her feet. She was professional and polite but as the evening progressed, so did her discomfort with the increasingly personal advances.
One in particular got aggressive and seeing it, I stepped between them, letting him know his behaviour wasn’t acceptable and giving her an escape. I’ve been there. I understood. “Thank you”, she mouthed, relief washing over her as she disappeared to the other side of the bar to check on other guests. No one else seemed to notice.
“You have a tough job,” I commented a little later as she came by to let my group know she was leaving. Her whole body sighed and a tiredness beyond her years filled her eyes. “Yes,” she nodded. “Sometimes very hard.” Then she hugged me, kissed my cheek and whispered ‘thank you’ again before disappearing from the club.
When telling the story later, one man asked why she would continue to do such a job. In a country where the average salary is 361 Euro a month (2015) and the unemployment rate is 20.8 % (2014) with youth unemployment of 49.4% (2013), options are few. Quitting isn’t an option.
I have no doubt our pub crawl guide can handle herself; she’s had lots of practice if that night was any indication of the norm. She shouldn’t have to.