She was familiar—I knew her face, but not her name. She was a cute, brown-haired “weekender” (a person who visited our bar on weekends). She played the background, standing across from the bar, but never up against it. I often caught her smile yet never made time to consider it. The bold ones, the ones who didn’t send their friends to place their orders, were the ones I rewarded with my attention.
As I write this, I understand how gross and ridiculous this seems. After all, we are just bartenders, working on our feet for too long, exhausted, and not particularly warm and conversational after work. So, what makes us attractive?
Guests at busy bars are jockeying for the attention of bartenders anyway, so if they get it, it’s very gratifying. Good bartenders are trained to make you feel cared for, comfortable and special. Moreover, the bartender works on a stage, but this stage—and the elevated status that comes with it—is a construct of the guests who feel as if they’re on the outside, and there’s something alluring about getting in.
To be fair, bartenders love it; we are trained flirts and cherish the edge that the construct provides. However, if a bartender wants to hook up with you, don’t forget the context.
The girl finally made her way up to the bar one night, just as we were shouting last call. She introduced herself and I told her when I’d be done.
And sure enough, when I walked out the door with my coworkers, there she was, waiting. From there, she and I walked to a nearby late-night bar, got a round and left after taking a few sips. She was eager and I was curious.
Minutes later, we burst into my apartment and threw our coats down. Our tongues propelled us into my bedroom and soon we were under the covers, undressing each other.
My carefree fun, however, did not last. While we were having sex, a wave of terror washed over me as I realized I had no idea what her name was. This was my low point.
Afterward, as she lay in bed, I told her I had to go to the bathroom. In the other room, I tiptoed over to her purse. I had to know her name, if only to rid myself of the guilt associated with bedding a nameless girl. She deserved better.
What I did not predict, however, was that she’d sneak out of my bedroom seconds later to find me, still naked, holding her wallet.
“What are you doing?” she asked, also naked.
I froze. “Uhh…”
I had two options: I could be a scummy thief or a scummy person. I realized who I’d rather be.
“I just needed some quarters for laundry—I ran out and I figured it would’ve been too weird to ask,” I said. “I’m really sorry. I swear I just wanted quarters.”
I put her purse back on the ground where I found it. She snatched it up and took a moment to glare at me. Then she stormed back into my bedroom, dressed herself, and left me standing in my own living room, shame seeping through my exposed skin.—Anonymous, 26, Logan Square