Today was "Martini Thirst-Day" at work and any 2 Oz. Martini was $4.99. Keep in mind I worked during the day. As a hostess, part of my responsibilities today included telling guests about the promotion. Some people (mainly young Canadians) were thrilled at the thought of a $5.00 drink but older, perhaps more culturally traditional people were confused as to why someone would want to drink alcohol during the daytime or with their lunch. I had someone even tell me, "You sound like you've had one or two of 'em already!" Was I slurring my words? I don't think I was, but it's comical to work around people all the time because of how much you pick up.
At this point in my experience as a hostess, I can tell just by looking at people who come in whether they'd prefer to sit in the dining room or the bar (a.k.a. lounge). We're encouraged to seat people in the bar/lounge area because it is the exact same service as the dining room and we treat it as a part of our restaurant. Artsy people, businuss-y people, dark dressed people, and young couples are more likely to agree to sitting in the bar and refer to their table as "cute" or "perfect." Whether my prediction is bang on or not, I still find myself seating people in the bar that I assume won't want to sit there. You never know until you try, that's what I always say. In these cases, more often than not, I am proved correct. They will awkwardly look at the table and point to the dining room or the patio and ask for "just a regular table." Personally, I'd rather sit in the bar/lounge than in any dining room at any restaurant because it's more private, the TVs are more clear, and it's not as loud (before 9 p.m. that is).
Families and some parties of four are the types that I wouldn't try to sit in the bar, especially if they seem in a hurry or raging with hunger. So, with a smile, I seat them in the best place possible.
I've learned, especially on busy Friday and Saturday nights, that seating hungry/movie anxious/annoyed/grumpy/exhausted people is exactly the same as seating happy/excited people. If I treat those not-so-happy customers any differently than I treat a happy, ready to eat party of three they notice and they get defensive because they're a person just like those more content then they are.
I guess you could say that I've become a people reader and a people watcher over time. Bussing tables isn't exactly boring either, I sing to the songs on the system (yesterday California by Wave was playing--I almost died of happiness), walk by awkward conversations, first dates, and heavy discussions, and I get things done quick.
The only stressful part of being a hostess would be long waitlists and impatient people. But, we've all been impatient at one point in our lives so it's best to just treat the situation as best as you can, smile, and take a deep breath.