The River Ridge High School handbook states that students may not wear clothing that is “sexually suggestive,” that clothing must cover stomachs, backs, shoulders, chests and undergarments, and shorts skirts and dresses must be below mid-thigh. Students who do not follow these guidelines are asked to change, cover up, or even go home. However, across the street, students are exposed to “Body Shots” café, featuring girls that don’t exactly follow the same rules.
Lacey, Washington is no exception when it comes to the new “sexpresso” craze popping up around the state. With baristas often working in less than spankies and small tank-tops, some question if the establishments are taking it too far by locating themselves next to schools.
“As a parent, I have some concerns about the placement of these businesses,” stated Courtney Shrieve, Director of Communications for the Thurston County School District. Shrieve noticed a bikini coffee stand near Lacey Elementary School when she started driving her child to school in the morning.
Apparently, no official complaints have been made by parents to River Ridge High School or Lacey Elementary School faculty.
“At this point, we haven’t had parents make any comments about the coffee stand,” Principal Intern Jennifer Trinidad of Lacey Elementary stated. A similar comment was made by Shrieve in regards to River Ridge. It seems that most people don’t even realize the coffee shops are there.
“At first I thought [Body Shots] was just a normal coffee stand,” stated local resident Rebekah-Mae Bruins. “Then I noticed the name, and saw that, every time I drove by, it was men going through the drive-thru. I even saw a garbage truck go through there.”
“Body Shots” barista Alyssa Henkins didn’t deny that older males were there main demographic. “We get a lot of men in big trucks,” she stated. “We actually get more girls from the high school than boys because we are the closest coffee stand. The high school boys are actually more timid and shy. Of course, you will get the occasional ones that will come through and just ask for water.”
Many, though, don’t leave without leaving a big tip. “You can walk away with $100 a day,” Henkins explained. But that kind of money comes with a price.
“A girl just quit because a group was about to rob us. They saw our cameras and drove off, but it really scared her,” Henkins explained. The girls do feel more exposed to danger. “It has become a trend to rob coffee shops. There have been over twenty last month in just the Seattle/Tacoma area,” she described. Burglars aren’t dumb; they realize how much money these girls collect in a day’s work.
Not only do thieves pose a problem, but stalkers have become an issue as well. “I just started working here last October, and I have already had to deal with a guy who harassed me about going out with him,” Henkins said. “I hadn’t learned the rules of the business, yet, so it was really awkward and uncomfortable for me. You have to be able to just say, ‘No, get out of here’.”
She described instances when some regular customers become angry after a holiday where the girls dress down for the occasion, often saying rude comments when the girls go back to their normal tank-tops and short shorts.
And, although the Baristas working at these stands haven’t had to deal with complaints from neighboring schools, they do have to learn to deal with protests from some female customers that pass through.
“One lady came through, scolding us for exposing our body to men. We just say, ‘Hey, if you aren’t getting coffee, then move along,’” Barista explained. “I made the choice to work here, and I love my job.”
It isn’t illegal for women over 18 to expose their bodies to men in their profession. There is also no law stating that businesses such as these cannot establish themselves close to schools. However, some may question the influence these businesses have on the community based on their choice of location. So far, there hasn’t been too much objection.