I just finished reading the post about age requirements for restaurant gigs (now locked). I found some of the things paddy and the others had to say a little interesting, so that's where this post is coming from (sorry in advance if I ramble). They talk about the 14 year old not being ready to handle certain situations that come up in the restaurant, having not had the experience or maturity yet. The one about the lady breast feeding is particularly interesting. Fallingblood says it happens more often then you'd think. This is the first time I've heard of it happening, and my thought is that I'd probably avoid approaching that table if she was doing that. I know very few women that enjoy being entertained by magicians while they breastfeed. If the magician was already at the table, it would probably be a good choice for the woman to try to hold out another minute or two until he leaves.
Other things mentioned are an angry boyfriend yelling at you to come perform for his gf right away, being vomited on, and being harrassed by a drunk. While I can see how maturity will inevitably help an individual deal with these types of situations, I think it is tough to be helped by experience. It would be an odd thing to try to "practice" for these types of situations, and you may never know how to handle them until faced with them. It also seems to me that there are few (if any) other venues where these incidents are likely to occur.
If faced with any of these unfortunate situations for the very first time, an individual will probably act on instinct. No matter how this works out, they will probably think how they could handle it better in the future. I think what you guys were saying is that with age and experience comes maturity, which will help deal with these situations in the longrun. Also, the more you perform and may experience other difficult situations, these may help to prepare you for the worst ones when the time comes. Even with all this in mind, one may never be truly prepared for situations such as these. I think it also depends on the type of person you are. A 17 year old performer may be faced with an embarassing and terriffying situation on the spot, and come out of it okay. At the same time, it is possible for an experienced 48 year old performer who has been working restaurants for 20 some years to be faced with the same situation, and not handle it well. I understand it is less likely, but it's the way things work sometimes.
One last thing. I spoke to a fairly young magician about a week ago who was giving me advice on restaurant magic. He got his first restaurant gig at 15. He used to hang out at a local magic shop with four other magicians, one of whom was the owner of the shop and worked a busy restaurant gig three nights a week. One day the guy was arrested (why isn't important) and thrown in jail. The restaurant (frantic without their entertainer) called the magic shop and told them to send some guys over to help for the night. They sent out our friend along with three other guys. Little did he know it was actually an audition. Now these three others were highly experienced and our friend was 15 and knew about four tricks in total. They all worked the tables for the night. At each table, our friend said as he was leaving "Please tell the management on the way out that (let's just call him Jim) did a good job." The next night the gm called him up and told him he got the job. This 15 year old kid with four tricks got a paying restaurant gig three nights a week over these other guys who had been doing magic for people for decades. How? His answer to this was that he played the cute card. And of course he was referred by nine tables. It's been almost twelve years since that night, and our friend still has that same gig three nights a week.
Please respond with any interesting comments.