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Pro Tip: Don’t Move Above a Bar

13 Jul

Oh, people, when will you learn that you live in a city? In a shared space? In a location that has (gasp!) noise? And although 311 and the police do exist, there is a time to make a complaint – when construction starts at 6:30am instead of the allowed 7am – and a time to not make a complaint – when you move above a bar and then get mad that it’s loud. Because the thing about it is that there are two competing factors in this equation

  • You
  • The bar

And in order to distinguish which of those two factors should be deemed the winner in a battle over noise levels we have to look at a few things

  • Was the bar there before you?
  • Do you miss the stars and the quiet and the no fights at 4 in the morning in front of your fancy bagel shop?
  • Are you a dick who (a) doesn’t want anyone to have fun and (b) doesn’t want bartenders and servers to make money?

If you answered yes to question one, then you should probably just go back from whence you came. Or at the very least realize that you made a grave error and move to any one of the thousands of apartments that exist that are NOT located right above, or right next to, a bar or club. I know, I know, real estate is expensive and you got a deal on your spot. But I am going to give you one guess as to why exactly you got that deal. Think about it. Think.

Ding! Ding! Ding!

That’s right. Because you moved above or next to a bar and that apartment is hard to fill because most people don’t want to hear the bass of some half blown-out speakers when they are trying to go to sleep or woo their partner. I mean, think about it this way: I am a bartender, have been for years, and I would never – and I mean never – move above or next to a bar. Ideally, I would like to not even be on the same block as a bar what with all the cigarette smoker-chatters and the cabbies honking their horns until all hours. It’s just common sense, really. So now, a story!

For years and years I worked at this one bar. Within the first two years of my working there we resigned for another 10 year lease. So, it would follow, that we had already been there for 10 years. And we were located on a busy avenue full of trucks, buses, people and skinned animal corpses moved from van to store in creepy looking grocery carts (don’t ask). Basically there was noise all the time and we were the least of it. All that being said, if you were in the market for sleep in a quiet environment and you didn’t want to shell out money for a noise machine, this was probably not the place for you. But some people don’t use their powers of deductive reasoning. Some people just say,

whatever, I want to live in this apartment and so I will mold the environment to me! Take that, all you people who lived and worked here before! Take that “city who never sleeps.” Never sleeps my ass! WE ALL MUST SLEEP AND WE MUST SLEEP IN ACCORDANCE WITH MY NORMALIZED SCHEDULE!

I bet you can already tell how this is going to go. Basically this mother fucker moved into the second floor, one floor above a bar that had been in that location for over a decade at that point, and complained every single day. Every day! And it wasn’t even at like 11 or 12 when he was taking his lame ass to bed. He would complain at 5. Before he even went into his fucking apartment. He would come home from the gym and just waltz into the bar and in his most insufferable French accent would say

Excuse me but eet ees too loud.

And I would say

It’s 5pm. There are like 12 people in here. And you haven’t even gone upstairs yet.

And then he would waltz back out and up to his apartment and then

RING RING RING

The phone would ring and I would answer it, knowing exactly what was about to happen and he would be all

I am eeenside my apartment now and eeet eees too loud!

And I would hang up on him and turn up the music because I am an asshole. But I mean, really?! Ugh he was the worst and I mean that in an entirely non-hyperbolic way. If I had to make a list of The Worst he would top it. And I don’t mean like The Worst Ever in the World, I just mean The Worst in terms of dickhead foreigners who think they are going to get the beauty and quiet of the South of France on the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Court Street in Brooklyn. PAH-lease.

Anyway, the reason that I write about this now, all these years later, is that it is happening again only this time at a different bar! Some anonymous dick keeps calling the cops on us because the music is too loud. So this is what I have to say:

Yo, dude (or lady), you moved here. You made a choice. As far as I can guess no one put a gun to your head and was all “move to this place where you will never sleep ever because there are people there drinking and having fun and they all hate you” (which, by the way, we do because you are a pain in the fucking ass). But really, that conversation never happened.

But, like, beyond that I am sorry that you aren’t getting good, quality sleep. I really am. But do you know who else isn’t getting good quality sleep? Me. And do you know why? Because I serve drinks until 4 in the morning on weekends and get woken up every single day at 7 (except Sunday) by construction noises. Those noises came after me. I was here first. But there is nothing I can do about it. And I recognize that I made the choice to go into the line of work that I am in. And I recognize that there is a normal schedule that most people have and then there is the schedule that I have. And that schedule is not normal. And so I just have to deal with the fact that I live in a city, another thing that I chose. And I have to understand that there are lots of people who also live here who have competing interests and opposite hours and they have just as much of a right to go about their lives as I do. So, please, think about all that before you move somewhere. And realize that by you complaining about the noise, we are having to make ridiculous accommodations that result in making our bar less fun and that means less money for us. And that matters. Because this is our livelihood.

So, honestly, when I start complaining about the beeping of your child’s school bus and the cab that picks you up for your corporate job at 6am, then we can talk. But I’m never going to complain about those things. Because I am a reasonable human. So just shut the fuck up and move. I hear there are some really quiet towns in New Jersey.*

*No offense, New Jersey, I love you!

 

Tip #17 on Being a Good Bar Customer

24 Jun

Alright, once again with the tips. But first, a little background information for you. In case you didn’t know this about me, I really don’t like money. Or, well, I guess that isn’t fair. To be more accurate: I really don’t like what money does to people. So many of the problems that we have in this world can be traced back to money and what it does to people. Here are some examples:

  • The looting of the Amazon and other natural wonders
  • The fact that we cannot seem to get our heads out of our fucking asses and enact actual, reasonable gun reform
  • The Detroit water crisis
  • The lack of actual, sustained help for New Orleans and all its residents regardless of race or economic status in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
  • The fact that Hurricane Katrina did the damage that it did in the first place
  • War
  • That athletes, musicians, politicians and basically every other male in power (and many of those not in power) get away with sexual assault and rape
  • Global warming
  • Donald Trump

You get the picture. All that being said, I do understand that money is a thing that is necessary for survival in this world and so, in order to make survival possible, I work. And when I work, I want to make as much money as I can. And that, friends, is a team effort. My ability to make money really depends on you coming into the place that I work, ordering the things that you want from me, and then tipping me appropriately. My livelihood depends on you. That’s right. You. (I am pointing at you right now. Is it making you feel weird? It should.) But that’s not all! It also depends on you understanding that the seats at my bar and tables are like real estate. You rent a space for your ass by buying things and tipping me on them. And when you stop buying things, and stop tipping on them, you abandon your rented space and make room for the next guy. This isn’t to say that the second you take your last sip I expect you to walk away from whatever conversation you’re having, game you’re watching, or Tweet you’re Tweeting, but it is to say that you should be aware and respectful of my need to pay my rent and buy food for my two adorable little kitties. Stories!

During the World Cup last year I was at work and my bar was packed. But there, at the bar, was an empty stool. How odd! Upon closer inspection I came to realize that two people sitting at the bar were saving the stool for someone who had yet to arrive. Now on a normal day when there is plenty of space, I wouldn’t mind that. Save away! There’s nothing better than getting to a bar to meet your friends after a long day of work and finding that they have saved a seat, just for you! But on a day when the bar is jam packed with people wanting to pay money for things (and tip on those things) saving a seat is sort of cutting into my business. People notice there is no space and move on to another spot. Or, because they are behind a wall of people, they are not able to buy drinks with the regularity that they, and I, might like. And so I looked at the people saving the seat and I said

Excuse me, but do you think you could move your bag so someone could sit in that seat?

And the lady of the pair said

No, I’m actually saving this seat for someone.

So I smiled and said

Yeah, that’s great, except that certain someone isn’t here yet and we are well into the first half of the game and there are other people who are actually here now and would like to sit.

She stared at me. I stared at her. She moved her bag. Therefore I won. I almost always win staring contests. Her friend, by the way, didn’t arrive for over an hour. So this lady and her companion were actually going to sit at the bar as person after person asked if they could sit and they would respond

Nah, my friend is coming.

Only their friend was not really coming. Not right then, anyway. And the two people sitting at the bar only had one drink each. And then they drank seltzer! And didn’t tip on it. (Which, if I’m being honest, might have had something to do with the fact that I had told her she couldn’t save a seat for her incredibly tardy friend.) So that’s another thing. Don’t occupy a seat at the bar for like 4 hours and only drink seltzer! I mean, whatever, occupy the seat, but do like my friend Cherie does when she drinks seltzer and tip on your soda! Don’t be that guy at the coffee shop who occupies a table for like 5 hours and drinks one cup of coffee. No one likes that guy. That guy is a dick.

And here’s another thing. No one likes to be all packed in like sardines at a bar. I understand that. That is why I don’t hang out in busy bars. I work in them; I do not hang out in them. Busy bars are awful when you don’t have a giant slab of wood protecting you from the masses. And even when you do have that lab of wood they sometimes suck. And so I understand the desire that some people have to make a space around them by saving a seat with their backpack for no reason whatsoever other than to keep someone else from elbowing them. But the thing is, that’s rude. It is rude to other people who are stuck standing so your backpack can take a load off, and it’s rude to me who wants to make money off the seat your backpack is occupying. So unless you want to pay rent on two stools by tipping me double on every drink you have, put your bag on the floor or on one of the hooks conveniently located under the bar for just such an occasion. Or! Be one of those people who travels with their own hook! I always admire the foresight of those people.

So yeah, I don’t know, guys. I guess it all comes down to respect. Respect the fact that the bar only exists if people buy things, and your missing friend and your backpack do not buy things. Respect the fact that under the current system I can only survive if you tip me and, again, your missing friend and your backpack don’t tip me. And respect the fact that you are not, in fact, the only person in the universe. There are other people here, too. People who aren’t missing or an inanimate object that you use as a means of conveyance. Other people who want to go out, have fun, drink drinks, watch games and, yes, even sit down on a bar stool. So please, let them sit.

One Day…

27 May

A few weeks ago, over some post-run sushi in the park, my lunch companion asked me what my dream job was. I thought about it for a moment.

You mean like, for real for real? Like if I could have any job in the world what would it be?

Yeah.

He said it so nonchalant. Should I admit that I had spent the better part of my adult life agonizing over this very question and felt no closer to an answer? Probably not. Lucky for me, and for him I supposed because an angsty Rebekah is not the best Rebekah, I had recently come up with something that seemed like a thing I would like to do. Without going into the long, drawn-out backstory that involves my Master’s thesis I told him about how I had always been interested in post-disaster reconstruction work. I feel somehow drawn to being one of those people who goes to places after horrible things happen and then sticks around long after many of the first responders leave. I want to be there to help communities rebuild, after the international aid ends and our global conscience moves on to the next thing because there is always a next thing. I want to be there to shame the disaster tourists. Of course I have absolutely no medical knowledge and, truth be told, get queasy rather easily. Recently at work I had to take a 5 minute sit-down because a piece of glass protruding from my thumb made me so nauseous I turned green.

Back to the drawing board, perhaps.

But, of course, my thinking about it didn’t end there. It never does. The hamster that occupies the wheel in my brain has a never-ending supply of energy, that little bastard. And in the time I spent thinking I realized that, sure, I have all sorts of lofty goals. I would like to have something I write published somewhere that people have actually heard of and be paid for it; I would like to be on the Ellen Show (don’t ask); I would like to perform at The Moth and maybe one day, one wonderful day, be featured on The Moth Radio Hour on NPR that plays on Saturdays from 7-8pm and hear myself on the radio and just be in the car all alone and be like, wow, there I am and just smile to myself; I would like to travel so much that I need new pages for my passport; I would like to be part of a group of women (and some men) who make feminism an inclusive part of the conversation rather than something talked about as its own issue. It effects us all. All those things, though, sort of exist on this other plane separate from where I am right now and so let’s bring it back down to reality, back to the present. And so now I will ask myself:

Rebekah, what is your dream job?

And here is my answer, in list form.

  • I want a job where I am respected.
  • I want a job where people aren’t constantly telling me what I am doing wrong and how to do it better even though they have never done what I do a day in their lives.
  • I want a job where people don’t throw objects or insults at me on a regular basis.
  • I want a job where people don’t whistle at me, clap at me, hiss at me, snap at me or flash their cellphone flashlights at me to get my attention.
  • I want a job where no one ever calls me “ma” or “beautiful” or “sweetie” or “baby.”
  • I want a job where I can go to the bathroom and there isn’t piss all over the seats that I have to clean up because people are animals.
  • I want a job where people don’t ask me, while I am working at my job, what else I do because I can’t possibly just be a bartender.
  • I want a job where photographs of me taken without my consent do not end up on Yelp. Or better yet…
  • I want a job where people don’t take photographs of me without my consent. At all. Ever. End of story.
  • I want a job where people don’t hit on me or ask me out and then refuse to tip me when I say no.
  • I want a job where my awesome male coworker doesn’t have to step in and deal with people who treat me like garbage because I am a woman.
  • I want a job where I am not treated like garbage.
  • I want a job where I don’t have to keep my relationship status secret, when there is a status to keep secret, because it will likely effect the amount of money I make.
  • I want a job where I am respected. Wait, did I say that already?

Here’s the thing: my job could be all those things if people would just learn how to act because, if you noticed, nothing on that list had anything to do with my job, really. There was nothing about the weird schedule and late nights (though that isn’t my favorite), nothing about being on my feet for hours and eating the majority of meals standing up, nothing about looking up and seeing eyes upon eyes upon eyes on me all needing and wanting something when I only have two hands, nothing about coming home smelling of the liquor that I didn’t drink but has saturated my clothes and my skin over the course of a busy night. Those are all parts of the job and they are okay. They are how it is. And there are a lot of really cool things. I have met some amazing people, both customers and coworkers; I have learned a lot about myself and others; I think I have become a better, more understanding person. I think that my job, although it isn’t responding to a disaster and helping those having the absolute worst days of their lives, has some amount of value and, to be honest, I think I am pretty good at it. I don’t know. It’s all relative I guess. And maybe the job I want, the job described in that list above, doesn’t actually exist. Maybe it isn’t out there. Maybe my realistic dreams are just as lofty as one day being on the Ellen Show or normalizing feminism. Maybe this is another project my hamster needs to spin her wheel about. And so, until then….

Hi, what can I get for you?

I really, really hate Yelp

14 May

I know that I have already blogged about Yelp on here and that maybe one blog about Yelp is enough but whatever. Fuck that. I am angry at Yelp. In fact, I despise Yelp. If I was really good at computers and could hack into Yelp and just make the entire thing fold in on itself I totally would. And if Yelp were a person, He (and Yelp is for sure a he because he makes space for entitled fucktards to air their oftentimes bullshit grievances without any fear of retribution) would be my arch nemesis.

Anyway so you know how people say you shouldn’t read the comments? Well as it turns out that rule also applies to reading Yelp reviews about the place you bartend at. Friends, I have amassed quite a number of negative Yelp reviews. And generally speaking I would say that maybe, given that knowledge, I should look inward and analyze my behavior and think to myself,

Self, perhaps you are in the wrong business. Perhaps all of these negative Yelp reviews are actually realistic and this entire time when you thought you were good at your job and nice to people and a positive influence in the world you were actually a horrible, horrible asshole who deserves to move into a cave and die there, cold and alone.

Ordinarily I would think that. But the thing about it is that the Yelp reviews about me are so asinine and so not even true that it’s like,

No! I should not die in a cave cold and alone! Unless that cave is the only place in the world without Yelp in which case, where do I sign up?

Okay so let’s get down to this. Is it true that I am starting to think that perhaps I should move on to another career that is not so unkind to my body, not so shitty for my sleep schedule and social life, and not so full of Liar McLiar faces? Yes. But moving into a cave? Absolutely off the table. For now. (Unless, as aforementioned, there is no Yelp.) So what has gotten me all in a tizzy on this beautiful Saturday morning? Well, I will tell you.

Last weekend before going to meet with friends I thought that I should just scoot around The Internet for a little and for some reason that scooting involved me looking at Yelp reviews of a bar I work at on the weekends. Stupid, I know. It’s like walking around in a dog park blindfolded and wondering why you stepped in shit. Anyway so obviously I came across a bad Yelp review about myself because people just loooooooooove to write bad Yelp reviews about me apparently. And what made this Yelp review different from all other Yelp reviews? The fact that along with the review there was a picture of me, from behind. And why did she take a picture of me? Was it because I was rude? No. Was it because I had ignored her? No. Was it because she didn’t like her drink? No. Was it because I was so super nice and also she really liked my outfit and wanted everyone to know? Also no. It was because I was changing the beers listed on our chalkboard and in order to do so I had to stand on the back bar. There were two alternatives to me doing that.

  1. Bring a rickety-ass ladder behind the bar at like 11pm on a Friday night and somehow not kill myself while my coworker tried to squeeze around the ladder in order to serve drinks and in the meantime someone would take a photo of me doing that and post it on Yelp.
  2. Not change the beer board which would have meant that my entire evening would have consisted of every single person at the bar ordering the only beer we no longer had and me having to explain that no, we don’t have that beer any more but we have this one instead and I just couldn’t change the beer board because changing the beer board could result in a picture of my ass ending up on Yelp

I wasn’t into either of those alternatives. (Truth be told my ass ending up on Yelp never would have occurred to me prior to this incident but now I will worry about it all the time. Thank you, Christina T.) So I changed the beer board. I got up on the back bar, I erased the writing on the board, I rewrote something else, and then I got down off the back bar and went back to doing the other parts of my job. And all the meanwhile someone, in her infinite wisdom and because her life is so hard and her observations so massively important, took a photo of me and then took time out of her night to go on The Internet and post it. Along with a review asking why I was standing on the back bar. And I want to be like

Bitch, I have chalk in my hand. I was clearly in the act of actually writing when you took that photo. Are you so daft that you cannot use your powers of deductive fucking reasoning to figure out that I was clearly changing the beer board you stupid, stupid asshole?!

But I couldn’t say those things. Nope. Because on Yelp customers get to go online and post bullshit about us in hopes of, what?, getting us fired? and we have essentially no recourse. All we can do is ignore Yelp, go about our business, and hope that people don’t write reviews of us doing such horrible things as putting a lime on a glass with our bare hands (ugh! ew!), or asking them to present ID with their credit cards (what a fucking cunt!), or cutting them off when they become aggressive or look like maybe they might vomit on themselves or someone else (what is she,allergic to fun?!). We have to go to our jobs fully aware that we might wake up to text messages from our bosses asking what happened with the dude who has taken to The Internet to claim that we stole his change when it is clearly shown on video that his change was returned, and with a smile no less. And we have to then read long diatribes by that “wronged” person calling us unprofessional and rude and racist for something that didn’t even happen. And it’s like, fuck! You guys! Seriously!

So in summation, I hate Yelp. I think Yelp is a horrible website and the people who write drunken bullshit on there are dicks who should have their Internet privileges revoked. Maybe they should be the ones to go spend some time in a cave, cold and lonely. I’m not saying that I am perfect. But don’t you have something better to do than feel a certain way about an experience and then make up flat out lies about a person you don’t even know who did nothing other than pour you a beer, charge you for it and then return your change? And also, please don’t post photos of me online. That’s rude. Oh, and also, don’t bring your own booze into my bar and then write a bad review about me when I kick you out. This isn’t self serve! Stay home! I hate you!

Yelp. I am coming for you. And when I find you it will not be pretty.

 

Smiley Face, Smiley Face, Kiss-y Face

12 Apr

Okay so just as a disclaimer, I am not someone who goes on dates and then totally talks shit about the person I went out with on the internet. For example, I went on this really awful date years ago after some guy essentially stalked me on Facebook and then spent an entire dinner staring at my chest and also thought it was funny that he went home with some girl who spelled her name the same way as me who was so plastered that she could hardly walk and I didn’t write about that. Could have but didn’t. Mostly because that guy scared me. But still. This one is funny though because it involves too many emojis and some good, old fashioned in person body-shaming. Every date needs a good dose of body-shaming, right? Wrong.

Anyway, I went on a date. That’s right. I did it. And it wasn’t even really my idea. I blame Jessy. (I don’t blame you Jessy, I swear! I love you!) So here’s the thing. I do not give my number out at work. Work for me is a professional place and not a place to get a date. Okay fine, fine, that’s not entirely accurate. So in the interest of full disclosure let me tell you this: my last boyfriend was a customer turned friend turned boyfriend and my boyfriend before him was my bartender. But he asked me out and I wasn’t working so I feel like maybe that one doesn’t even count. Right? Right. Anyway so now I have decided that work is a professional place and not a place to get a date. So now that we have that all sorted, it’s story time.

So there I was, at work. As an aside, I feel like I am basically always at work. In fact I am just getting dressed right now and my bra smells like the bar. Not like booze, but like whatever the bar is cleaned with and so now I am sitting at home at my desk smelling bar. So not only do I feel like I am always at work but now I take work home with me! It is in my clothes! Shit is insidious. As I was saying, there I was, at work. It was busy. I was running around, mixing things, giving people drinks and food, making the occasional wise crack. There were two dudes sitting at the end of the bar. One of them had been there drinking for hours. His friend had come only recently but that means nothing – unless someone tells me otherwise I generally figure they are coming from somewhere else. Hard and fast rule: never assume sobriety. Time passed and then as the two dudes were getting ready to leave the newer one – who oddly looked like the Hispanic version of an ex-boyfriend of mine from below the eyes and also had very well-kempt eyebrows which is a total red flag for me because my hair maintenance is, shall we say, lacking – looked over at me

Eyebrows: Can I have your number?
Me: I don’t give out my number at work.
Eyebrows: Well, what if I come back on your shift in two weeks and ask you again?
Me: I will tell you that I don’t give my number out at work.

I then smiled and walked away. Okay so here is the thing every once in a while I make the mistake of giving my number to someone when I am at work and it always ends up being a stupid decision. Seriously, no one has my number. I mean, some people do obviously but only people who need to have it. I don’t like having my number out there in the hands of The Public. Plus the dudes that ask for the bartender’s number are dudes I generally want nothing to do with. I made the mistake of giving my number to some guy in the fall because he was polite and sort of shocked me into it and I regretted it immediately. We went out one time. He tried to get me to take him home with me an hour into our date. I mean he was cute but not that cute and, obviously, was seriously lacking in charm. I not-so-nicely declined. (Sort of wrote about it here but only sort of. Shameless plug.)

When I came back to their area to check and see if they needed anything he had written his name, his number and a little smiley face (the first sign of things to come!) on a napkin and told me I should call. I shoved it into my pocket and forgot about it until the next day when I was sitting at my desk and felt this weird balled up thing poking me in the ass. I pulled it out. Phone number. I was chatting with my girl Jessy at the time and told her about it. She said something along the lines of

Text him! You need to get out there. Seriously. Stop being a hermit.

I don’t think she actually called me a hermit. I called myself a hermit. I told her I would think about it. And I did for long enough to put it somewhere where I wouldn’t throw it away and where my cats wouldn’t turn it into their newest toy. That somewhere was in the pocket of my backpack where I keep my favorite rock.

Fast forward a few eventful and not-so-sleep-filled nights. I worked a Friday night shift, woke up early the next morning to drive to Connecticut for a Bachelorette party, woke up the following morning for the bridal shower and a drive to Boston where I met my sister to give her my car, Jose, and then took a Lyft to Logan Airport for my flight to Iceland. I was sitting at the airport bar, drinking an overpriced glass of red wine and eating a veggie burger. It was not delicious. I went through my backpack in search of my journal and my rock. I came out with the phone number and decided that 25 minutes before boarding an international flight was the perfect time to send a text message to some dude I don’t know. We texted. It was stupid. I got on my plane.

ICELAND WAS AWESOME! We saw horses…I mean ponies…I mean horses; we walked behind one waterfall and climbed above another; we took a photo with a rainbow; we almost got washed to sea by an incredibly aggressive wave; we got caught in all the rain ever; we almost burned someone’s house down.Then we left.

I arrived back in Boston and was staying with my friend Emily. I decided that unless I heard from dude I was just going to let sleeping dogs lie. (I am not entirely sure that is the idiom that I was going for but whatever, I’m committing.) No sooner did I make this decision then I received the following text from Eyebrows:

Smiley face, smiley face, kiss-y face.

Obviously these were emojis and not words but I find it funnier to dictate them. So let’s just recap: I don’t know anything about this dude, we have never hung out and pretty much never really spoken, I wouldn’t have been able to pick him out in a line up if he hadn’t sent me a weird headshot and yet he sent me

Smiley face, smiley face, kiss-y face.

I didn’t know how to respond to that so I sent a question mark. Words are a thing I like. Words, the pile of poop emoji and that random salsa dancing lady. The occasional smiley face is okay but not until you know someone or if you say something you think might sound sort of dick and you feel the need to be clear about that fact that it wasn’t dick, it was actually smiley. Then you send a smiley. That way everyone is on the same page. Anyway this went on for a few days. Him sending me things I didn’t really understand, me asking him to elaborate, him thinking I was being funny, me being very frustrated and confused. My favorite part of it all was this following interaction (keep in mind that I know I was being an asshole and I felt really bad about it until I actually went on the date and then I didn’t feel bad at all so please hold on and you’ll understand):

Eyebrows (this said completely randomly): The sun is nice
Me: I’ve been in the car all day.
Me (upon realizing that I was probably being a dick for no reason at all): But it’s strong, that’s for sure
Eyebrows: Like me (strong arm emoji thing)

I just….yeah. I mean, he is a personal trainer so I had already used my powers of deductive reasoning to assume that he was strong before he sent me the strong arm emoji. But, you know, I guess some people don’t like to leave things to chance. Instead, they leave things to emojis. That is their prerogative. I decided right then and there that I was done. There were far too many emojis! But I am a pushover and a girl and am incapable of saying no to people and so when, like a week later, he texted to say he was going to be in my neighborhood and would I like to meet for a drink I said fine. I picked a spot I never go to that was in walking distance of my house. I walked over there, got a beer and sat down to read my magazine while I waited. He eventually showed up. And this is when shit got awesome.

Eyebrows: You know, sometimes when girls go out with personal trainers they think that they need to get in shape. (Meaningful eye contact.) But, you know, that’s not necessary. I mean, if you want to that’s cool but whatever. I don’t mind.

So keep in mind I had come from work. I was wearing disgustingly dirty shoes, a pair of jeans that are in a long, drawn-out process of disintegration and a sweatshirt. I could have had the most slamming body ever under my sweatshirt. I mean, I don’t, but I could. But he couldn’t know that. Unless he has x-ray vision which is unlikely but now the thought of it is making me rethink the entire interaction. I stared at him blankly. Basically the in-person look of what I had been doing over text message for the better part of the last week or so. But he wasn’t done! No! He had more!

Eyebrows: I want to get married. Do you want to get married?
Me: I mean, that’s kind of a weighty question but, I don’t know. It’s not really a priority of mine but I guess if it makes itself necessary I’m not opposed to it. Or if it is important to the person I end up with. So I guess I’m really neither here nor there on it.
Eyebrows: No, you want to get married. I can read you. I know your type.

Okay, so I have been told over and over again for my entire life that I am hard to read. I have also been told that I am in my head a lot. Both of these things are true. I over think everything. E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. So obviously I have given all kinds of deep thought about marriage, what it means, what it represents, how it can empower and disempower, and how a lot of times getting married is more about fitting within a socially accepted construct than anything else. That sometimes we don’t actually think through the things that we do because they are just the things that we do. We were raised to think they fit within a definition of success. No, the definition of success. Marriage represents the success of a relationship. No questions asked. That isn’t to say there is anything wrong with getting married. I am so excited for my friends who do it! Some of them are doing it in a few weeks and I get to officiate it and I cannot wait! The point is just that when I answer a question like that it isn’t just like some bullshit answer because I am in my 30s and not married so obviously I have to trick myself into not feeling like a failure at life in general by pretending it is a personal choice. I don’t have to pretend anything. I feel weird and complicated things about myself + marriage. But apparently he knew my type. I laughed. He asked what I was laughing about. I wanted to send him a pile of shit emoji with my eyes but I haven’t mastered that skill quite yet so instead I said

It’s just that you seem to know a lot about me for someone who doesn’t know me. And who claims to be listening but hasn’t heard a word I said.

More or less pleasant conversation followed. And then! Before we left he asked me to open my YouTube and search for this video he made. I felt nervous and was hoping it wasn’t porn-y but I obliged and looked for the video. It was an ab workout video.

Eyebrows: You should try out that video. (Looks me up and down.) I think it will really help you.
Me: Wow, dude! You know how to make a girl feel gooooooooood!

And I laughed and laughed and laughed my entire walk home. And then I cried myself to sleep. No just kidding I didn’t. I actually laughed. And felt really good that I have a positive body image (most of the time). And it’s true, I don’t have the best abs but whatever. You know what doesn’t make me want to hang out with a person again? Him telling me that he knows my type, can read me like a book, and PS has x-ray vision and therefore can totally tell I haven’t been doing my planks and is going to point it out rather than be cool and realize that having x-ray vision, even fake x-ray vision, is a thing only characters in comic books should have. I thought I had seen the last of him but then, the next morning:

Smiley face, smiley face, kiss-y face.

I didn’t respond.

The end.

When Persistence is Rude

4 Apr

I heard a scuffle and realized there was a fight. Again. It’s almost as if a weekend night cannot pass by without some sort of absurd and unnecessary shake-up. The warm weather only makes it worse. That reality causes my life to be sort of at odds with itself. I’m a summer baby so I spend pretty much all my time either being appreciative of the heat or counting down the days until it returns. You’ll almost never hear me complain about being too hot. But when a spring or summer weekend rolls around, my love for the heat morphs into an acute sense of foreboding. Hot days lead to hot tempers. Mix those tempers with close quarters and lots of alcohol and you’ve got yourself a party.

It was about 1:30, maybe 2 in the morning. Apparently some guy tried to go into the bathroom with his girlfriend because he “didn’t want anyone seeing her in there.” I’m not entirely certain what that even means, to be honest. I don’t know whether he has some sort of disbelief in these things we call locks or he thinks people somehow develop laser vision when they get within two feet of a bathroom when his girlfriend is inside. Whatever the reason it turned into a whole big fiasco. (By the way, I am fully aware that he wanted to go into the bathroom with his girl for some sexy time, but I refuse to truly engage with that thought because the bathrooms at my bar, especially late on a warm weekend night, are straight out of a horror film. I have to pee in there on the regular and it has changed me. No joke.)

Upon hearing all the noise I obviously made the poor choice to walk out from behind the bar to go investigate. I did this under the guise of trying to usher those not involved in the fight to safety. You never know when an elbow, or a glass, might go flying. So I gathered intel while I let a few dudes out through a second exit. As I turned to go back behind the bar some guy grabbed my hand and got in my space. If you know me at all you know that I hardly like to be touched by people I love, let alone some asshole at the bar I work in. At first I thought he was going to say something about how I should stay behind the bar where it’s safe and not get too close to all the yelling, especially considering that just moments before the guy who was trying to join his girl in the bathroom violently grabbed her by the neck for “running her mouth.” (Have I mentioned recently how much I hate everything?) Dude probably would have been right but I still would have been miffed about some guy essentially scolding me for not staying behind the bar. But no. He didn’t say anything about my safety or the fight or share in my horror about the way a man so casually grabbed a woman by the neck in a public place, under the watch of cameras, without any pause or remorse whatsoever. Made me nervous about how he behaves in private. Instead, while holding onto my left hand, he whispered in my ear

Why you gotta be like that with me?

Anger shot through my entire body. Why was this person touching me? Why was he in my space? Why the fuck was he whispering in my ear? And where the fuck did he get the idea that he was at all entitled to my time or an explanation as to why I wouldn’t give him any of it? I’d love to say that this was the first time such a question had been hurled at me but that would be a lie. People regularly ask me why I am “like that,” whatever “that” means. From what I can gather, they think I am pretty but I don’t flirt with them. Because guess what, I don’t flirt. Not my jam. Not that there is anything wrong with being a flirty bartender, it totally works for some people. But I hate when people ask me for my phone number at work and I hate how some people get possessive over a girl who they think is interested, even if all that girl is interested in at that moment is an inflated tip. My dream is to be the efficient half of a bartending team. Making drinks and putting them over the bar quickly, the conversation limited to an economic transaction. Let my partner be the personality. I’ll be support staff. But I couldn’t respond with all that so instead I said,

Be like what? You come in here for beer. I sell it to you. That is my job.

He held my hand a little tighter. I shook it free.

I told you before I liked your vibes.

I wanted to scream. I wanted to be like

Oh! You like my vibes?! Well why didn’t you say so??? Please! Grab my hand again! Please! Whisper into my ear like a total fucking creep! Because now that I know you like my vibes I am totally down for whatever you’re down for. I hear they have some really clean bathrooms up in this joint. With locks that work, even.

But I didn’t say any of those things. Instead I turned and looked him in the face and said

Don’t you ever put your hand on me again.

My night continued. But then the next morning I got to thinking, once again, about entitlement. About how men feel entitled to touch women and how we as women are not even entitled to autonomy over our own physical presence. I cannot walk through a space, even a space I work in, with the assumption that I will not be touched in either a sexual or aggressive manner. And, when that happens – not if but when – there is virtually nothing I can do. Sure, I can make a smart remark, assuming I feel safe doing so, but there is nothing intimidating about me. I cannot, by sheer force of size or movement, make someone back off. I can shoot them down, but that does not necessarily result in a change of behavior. This is something like the 4th time this same guy has tried to, I don’t even know, get me to pay him more attention than pouring him a Smuttynose and taking his money. It’s as if he thinks persistence is key and let me tell you something, I find his persistence insulting. His persistence completely ignores a very important part of the equation: my interest, or lack thereof.

To me, when someone isn’t interested, they aren’t interested. Back the fuck off. Life isn’t like the movies where the guy likes the girl and she isn’t interested but by his sheer will to get what he wants, what he deserves, he is able to convince her to be his. He is able to, for lack of a better term, break her. This dude can tell me every single fucking day for the rest of time that he “likes my vibes” and I will still tell him to go take a walk in the ocean. Because the thing is, he isn’t listening to me because what I say, and what I feel, does not matter to him. In his journey to get what he wants, I am incidental. What I want is incidental. My feelings are incidental. What matters is him, what he wants. And he doesn’t think there is anything wrong with his persistence. Maybe he thinks I should be flattered. More than likely, he doesn’t think about how I should feel, or do feel, at all. That can be overcome. I can be broken.

Being female can be a real mind fuck.

 

Tip #16 on Being a Good Bar Customer

2 Mar

Alright, kids, I’m back with the tips. And I think this one might be exceptionally snarky although honestly, at this point, my snark gage is all off and I can’t even tell anymore. After doing some (admittedly non-exhaustive) research on the topic, I am not going to link to my other tips here because pretty much no one ever clicks on those links. If you want to read more tips, I think there is a search tool somewhere around here. Or you could look at the “A Bartending Life” archives for all your bartending related content. If you disagree with the outcome of my study, feel free to comment below. Or don’t. Either way. So without further ado, your next tip.

If any of you have read one of the multitude of stupid Buzzfeed articles entitled “Ways to Get Your Bartender to Hate you” or “Ways to Behave in a Bar” or “This Man Orders a Drink. You Won’t Believe What Happens Next!”* which are basically always written by people who (a) seemingly have never bartended before and (b) cannot really write, this next tip will not come as a surprise to you. For those of you who have somehow managed to avoid all that clickbait: well done, you are my idol.

So last night some dude came in on the earlier side of my shift, sat down at the bar and looked confusedly around the room. His eyes, eventually, landed on the whisky selection. I would classify our whisky selection as pretty standard New York. We have a fair bit, but it’s all the usual suspects. Basil Hayden, Bulleit, Buffalo Trace.** You get it. If I had made a bet right then and there, I would have put money on him ordering a Bulleit Bourbon on the rocks. I was wrong. Not so wrong, as you will come to see, but wrong enough. I feel like betting is sort of an all-or-nothing proposition which is why I don’t like to do it. Shades of grey are totally my sweet spot. Anywho, instead of going the predictable route, he looked at me and said,

“Do you know how to make a Clint Eastwood?”

Ugh.

I replied that no, I did not, in such a way as to try to dissuade him from digging out his phone, Googling a ‘Clint Eastwood’ and then handing the phone over to me. I failed. He immediately reached into his pocket and started tap, tap, tapping away at the screen. Moments later he handed the phone to me with a meaningful look.

Why do people do this? First of all, the drinks that people want either contain something that most bars don’t have like velvet falernum or a raw egg or they are something made up by a bartender at some place like Little Branch as a result of some dude walking up to the bar and saying “I want something with gin that tastes like cloudberries and cotton candy but comes in a manly glass.” Second of all, whenever this scenario happens (not the cloudberries but the recipe googling) and I ask people what is in the drink, generally so that when they say Batavia-Arrack I can tell them I don’t have that and we can move on, they have absolutely no idea. And not just no idea like,

“well, it has gin, lime and the tears of a baby narwhal, I’m just not sure the proportions.”

No. They have no idea like,

“Oh, I have no idea.”

I begrudgingly took the phone while he looked at me, waiting for the moment when I would excitedly take out my shakers and my jiggers (kindly remove mind from gutter) and maybe bust out the suspenders that I have left hanging from my pants, eagerly awaiting the opportunity to suit up and get down to business. (He totally wasn’t expecting any of those things. I am just being a dick because the image I conjured made me giggle.) I looked at the screen and here is what I saw:

INGREDIENTS
1½ oz. Bulleit bourbon
¾ oz. Vya sweet vermouth
2 dashes Regan’s orange bitters
1 Amarena cherry, for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS
Combine bourbon, vermouth, and bitters in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass; garnish with cherry.

I want us all to just take a moment and look at this recipe. Really just take it all in. Think about what it might be similar to. Something that maybe you have had before? Because I don’t know but this looks to me like a variation on a Manhattan. Granted this one calls for different bitters – Ragan’s orange as opposed to the more common Angostura -and there is of course call liquor here and different proportions but that’s what makes it a variation. Also you’re supposed to shake this? Who shakes a Manhattan? It comes out all cloudy and weird when you shake it. (And this is where my inner snob comes out. I firmly believe, and this is my own personal thing so whatever I won’t impose it on those around me, that Manhattans and Martinis should be stirred. Always all the time. And that James Bond was an asshole. Although now I have done a little bit of research and apparently in Ian Fleming’s books Bond actually ordered his Martini “stirred not shaken.” Can anyone verify that for me? And can we count this as another example of a film adaptation being a lesser version of the book it is based on?)

Anyway, while in my head I was hearing Sean Connery say “shaken not stirred” on constant repeat, I broke the news to my customer that I didn’t have Ragan’s bitters or vya sweet vermouth but I could do the next best thing: seeing as how the “Clint Eastwood” was surprisingly similar to a Manhattan, and it just so happens that I make a pretty mean Manhattan, I offered to make him one of those instead. He seemed dejected and asked if he could see my selection of bitters. I placed the bottle of Angostura directly in front of him. And then it all seemed to click. He looked around the room and noticed the television, the lack of cocktail paraphernalia, the weird photo collages on the wall, the Christmas lights that are, for no real reason, still attached to the mirror, a mirror that is not intentionally aged to make it look all vintage. He was not in a cocktail bar. He begrudgingly agreed to have a Bulleit Manhattan but requested it be on the rocks.

*By and large these are my least favorite articles. The second I see something titled “Man tries to hug a wild lion, you won’t believe what happens next!” I become angry and storm away from the computer. Chances are I will believe what happens. And, as a direct result of that stupid title, I will not care.

**Unintentional alliteration!