TO THE EDITOR: I'm writing in regard to an article written by guest "writer" Nicole Greer, an employee of the College Inn Pub ["Your Orientation to Drinking in an Actual Bar," Sept 25]. Greer describes various nights at the College Inn, stating, "The worst night here is probably Wednesday night, what we call 'international night,' when a lot of international students come in. It gets really crowded and can be very hard to deal with."

Greer then continues with her bar-wench bit, as if her fascism by implication is A-OK with the readership.

Let me spell it out for you, Greer, and for the Stranger editorial staff: The above statement is an unacceptable piece of xenophobic racism. I've been in the College Inn many a time when it was overcrowded with obnoxious Americans. Do please tell me what makes the international students "very hard to deal with"? Is it the fact that they don't speak the way you want them to? Is it the fact that they don't look the way you want them to?

Until you issue a public apology for your mindless ignorance I'm going to refuse to patronize your bar, and I'm going to make sure every listserv on the UW campus gets a copy of this e-mail.

Maureen Boyd

THE COLLEGE INN PUB RESPONDS: For the past 10 years the College Inn Pub has hosted an informal gathering of international students on Wednesday nights. These can be loud, raucous affairs with half a dozen languages flying about the barroom. We love it, and our staff bust their tails on these nights. So it seems logical that an experienced bartender would suggest that a novice drinker looking for some personal service and a quiet drink might consider another night. But to Ms. Boyd, this is racist. It simply isn't.

The only coherent question we can cull from Ms. Boyd's letter (and concurrent e-mail whisper campaign) is, "Do please tell me what makes the international students 'very hard to deal with'?" Well, Ms. Boyd is certain to be disappointed when our answer doesn't match those she's so courteously supplied: "Very hard to deal with" has nothing to do with our customers being international, and everything to do with the sheer number of people coming down the stairs. Down here we really don't care what you look like, and the only concern our bartenders have with the way you talk is that you speak loud enough for us to hear your drink order. There are lots of things in bar work that fall under the heading "very hard to deal with": vomit-filled urinals, clusters of drunken sailors, and self-righteous English graduate students with dubious reading comprehension skills. We don't recommend that novice drinkers tackle them right off the bat either. But we embrace them, because we like the work and we like our customers.

Ms. Boyd would have done well to ask a few more questions in her letter. Of our Wednesday-night bartender, Nicole Greer, she might have asked, "How come you've requested to work international nights for the past six years? Do you look forward to the customers who come in, even though it's a night of demanding work? Are many of the international students your friends?" She might have asked the waitress who worked those shifts last school year, "Why did you give up part of your summer vacation to volunteer to work with the international student orientation this year?"

The College Inn Pub has a 30-year tradition of serving people based on one simple policy: We don't care who you are, what you look like, what color your skin is, who you pray to, what's in your pants, who you fuck, or what language you speak. We don't care if you're paying with pennies or a hundred-dollar bill. We don't care who your parents know, what band you're in, what happened to you when you were a child, or what your SAT scores were. Simply, DON'T BE AN ASSHOLE. We'll be happy to get you a drink.

Anders Lorenson and Shea Wilson, Co-owners, the College Inn Pub, Nicole Greer, Bar Wench


TO THE EDITOR: In regard to Vendela Vida's "review" of her Elliott Bay Book Company audience ["Note to a Couple in the Second Row," Sept 25]:

I asked what her reaction was to the fact that critics mention her husband, Dave Eggers, when discussing her book And Now You Can Go. I am unsure as to how asking a valid question about her thoughts on a subject could in any way be an attempt to "spoil" the author's reading. I do not [believe] that he is somehow responsible for her success, nor did I state that I did at the time--I simply wanted her opinion. That night, I was disappointed that Vida didn't answer the question, except to say it "made her mad." I had hoped for deeper insight and perspective, not a tantrum.

As a female scientist I resent the implication that I am either surprised by or doubtful of a woman's ability in a classically male field, or a woman's ability in fiction especially, when some of my favorite writers are female (Margaret Atwood, Isabel Allende, Katherine Anne Porter, and A. M. Homes, to name a few) and I was attending a reading by two female writers. I truly understand what it is like to endure sexism in one's chosen field--however, might I suggest that Ms. Vida be certain, in the future, to ascertain whether the person asking for her thoughts is fan or foe? I WAS, at the time, the former.

Marla Davis, Fremont