Three girls walk into a bar on a Friday afternoon. The bar is called the Alley. From the outside it looks like an old fashioned kind of nautically swanky place along the coast. The building hangs off the corner of a strip mall which was attached to it as upper class suburbia grew over a smaller beach community. The whitewashed wooden exterior with a brassy gold sign and deep green eves tells of the establishment it might have been. As you walk into the door, you are hit by the bent arm of the thick caramel wooded bar littered with locals and various alcoholic beverages. The restaurant is ineffectively protected from the bar and its patrons by a narrow walkway, then a frail half wood and half glass shield.

We slowly walk the path between the bar stools and the shield hoping to find three stools that would allow three girls to booze together. My friend Curly, a regular at The Alley, perkily asked two older gentlemen if they could move down so we could sit together. They agreed and moved down. We sat on their left. As the older bearded gentleman ogled me and tried to engage me in conversation, I continued to check out the bar. In all my drinking I had never been to a place like this. The restaurant portion looked as though it had once been the crème of seaside fine dining. Its clientele ranged from 20 something locals for whom this is the closest bar and pre-geriatrics that have been frequenting the dining room since it opened 21 plus years ago.

The backdrop for the bar is provided by two half circles of glass. Each window drips three red stained glass diamonds down the center. The glass panels of window are accented by a long trail of dusty plastic ivy. The faux flower boa softens the hard brass and wood that forms every other piece of the bar. The place is small and dark, intimate. You are in the belly of an imaginary yacht sailing through the center of Newport Beach. I knew if I leaned too far forward I might accidently graze the cheek of one of the bartenders with my lips or if I leaned too far left and I might end up in the lap of the elderly bearded gentleman. There was no room for standing, walking or dancing, just drinking.

A bartender seemed to materialize from the mash of woodwork and brass surrounding him. He flashed a sparkly smile full of warmth, “What can I get for you girls?”

Curly quickly produced her silvery credit card, “Three vodka sodas.” She smiled flirtatiously and leaned forward, just a little.

My best friend and I looked at each other with the silent understanding that this bartender was beyond cute. He was actually good looking. He had dark skin which started naturally but then had been further darkened with firm kisses by the sun. He wore a big waterproof watch on his strong arms and his chest burst ever so slightly through his navy blue t-shirt, revealing his secret physique. Finally, his kind brown eyes had those perfect smile lines that came from happiness and again, lots of time in the sun.

Three girls, three vodkas and one bartender. Now, if we were different girls a competition may have ensued. My friends and I, however, like to take a more organic approach; let’s see who naturally catches his interest and then who has chemistry. Maybe none, one or all….or most likely he’ll be flirting with the blond 23-year-old at the other end of the bar.

He was so good looking that he made me nervous. Curly became up in arms about the fact that this cutie was a newbie at the Alley. She loudly demanded to know his stats from the bartender who is her friend and he introduced the Cutie to her. The two engaged in conversation as my Bestie and I discuss how good-looking this man was. She turned to her iphone to begin twittering about it while I just tried not to stare. As his beauty settled into my conscious, I transformed into a useless mound of self evaluation.
God, I wish I had worn a different shirt. Mine was a little too big, thus it kept slipping down in the front to trashily reveal my flesh-toned bra. I developed a nervous tick where I tugged my shirt back every few minutes. I would smile, talk to my friends, tug at my shirt, take a drink, tug at my shirt again. The most unfortunate part of the situation is that this tugging and twitching was happening right in front of him. After he finished telling his deepest secrets to Curly, he decided to constantly wipe down the bar around my drink.

He stood squarely in front of me in this small bar where we were close enough to kiss. I started sweating as I continued to pull my shirt into place. Lost in my sweating and twitching I, I barely heard him ask, “So, what ethnicity are you?”

Oh god. I he was talking directly to me. I told him.

“I thought so. I have always wanted to go there to surf. I went to Bali instead.”

We chatted about Bali and which places he visited and how he could tell my ethnicity. I told him I knew Bali because a few of my friends went there every year to wear helmets and try not to die while surfing over a coral reef. I tugged again, increasingly annoyed at my shirt.

Disappointingly, he moved down the line to Bestie next. “Is your drink ok? Do you need another?”

She replied, “Sure. It’s been a tough week. I had a big project due for my MBA, but it’s finally over so we are celebrating.”

“Oh,” the Cutie replied, “I did my MBA a couple years ago. I know how tough it is. I’ll make sure this one is a double.” He winked and smiled as he poured her a fresh drink.

This is unreal. He is cute, he surfs, he’s educated and he has a heavy pour.

The other bartender slung an arm around Cutie, “Hey girls have you met this guy? He is my brother’s friend. They work at the firehouse together.”

Curly stammered, “You’re a firefighter?”

Oh yes, let’s recap: cute, hot body, grad school, firefighter, and bartender with heavy pour. We also learned he already owned his own home and he was bartending because firefighting was not mentally challenging enough. He was now thinking of opening a new restaurant with the owner of the Alley. I was sure I hallucinated this man into existence to satisfy my drunken fantasy that amazing guys still wandered the earth freely.

Bestie and Curly started twittering frantically at the newly acquired information surrounding Cutie. I don’t have a sweet iphone and I tend not to be so techno savvy so I pulled out my book, Naked by David Sedaris. Cutie returned.

“So I overheard you say that you have a masters also? What is it in?”

“I have an MA in lit hence the reading while they twitter. I’m a book nerd.” I laughed. He smiled and shook his head seemingly entertained by my book wormish tendencies. Did I sense chemistry between us?

“Do you need another drink?” the dutiful Cutie asked.

“Not yet, but water would be great.”

“Are you the designated driver or something?”

“Maybe, but mostly just thirsty.” I smiled and twitched my shirt into its proper place again. I began to notice that although he checked on the status of the other people at the bar and my two girlfriends, he would always return and linger, wiping the same spot on the bar right in front of me. My stomach did cartwheels.

Unexpectedly, his short shift ended and he took off his apron. My heart fell a little as I realized he would be leaving and the game was over. He had chosen none. He was clearly just doing standard bartender niceties.

I made eye contact with him as he stepped out from behind the bar, walked down the line of stools, took a seat next to me and ordered a drink. I smiled breezily and asked, “Are you joining us for an after-work drink?”

“Yeah, thought I’d sit for a minute after my first day as a bartender.” Yes!

“And how was your first day? Was it all you had hoped for in a bartending side job?”

“It was good. Fun. I mean real different that fire stuff, but that’s exactly what I wanted. So, do you live close by?” OMG, is he trying to see me again?

“No I live in San Diego, but she is my best friend and I’m up visiting.”

“Do you come here a lot?” he queried as he touched my arm. Yay! Standard bar come on.

“Fairly often. I usually come and visit when I can.”

He smiled satisfied with the information he gleaned but was then distracted by Bestie and a conversation about iphones and bumping.

Apparently, you can bump phones and all your personal information gets transmitted to the other person’s iphone. Cutie bumped with Bestie, then asked if I had an iphone. I shook my head sadly as he tried to be funny and bump my t-mobile sadly old bar phone. He finished his drink and put his hand on my back. “Well your friend has my information so you should call me when you’re in town.” Holy crap.

I smiled again and said, “Sure.” Bestie and Curly smiled and gestured at me with a mixture of congratulations, elation and the mild sting of disappointment. I beamed back with victory, happiness and guilt.

We ordered another round and then laughed and gossiped about the cute bartender until we became distracted with a new conversation. The spirit of sportsmanship filled the bar as they drank every blueberry vodka soda the bar had to offer.

Good game.

Comments

antigeekess Aug. 19, 2009 @ 6:42 a.m.

Single! Is one of your 2 buddies a former court reporting student that now works for the cops in some capacity? If so, I know her.

(Good read, BTW.)

And now, to recap the Holy Grail portion of the piece:

"This is unreal. He is cute, he surfs, he’s educated and he has a heavy pour.

The other bartender slung an arm around Cutie, “Hey girls have you met this guy? He is my brother’s friend. They work at the firehouse together.”

Curly stammered, “You’re a firefighter?”

Oh yes, let’s recap: cute, hot body, grad school, firefighter, and bartender with heavy pour. We also learned he already owned his own home and he was bartending because firefighting was not mentally challenging enough."

Okaaaaayyyy....

Um, aren't you the gal whose last writeup was about not getting played by a player?

Unless you want to, of course.

Let's see, the verifiables: Cute, hot body, and (most importantly) a heavy pour. Can't help but wonder if it's not just a leeeeeetle bit heavier for attractive women than for anyone else.

The not-so-verifiables:

  1. Surfing - Given the place and environment, likely to be true. But just as likely the only thing he surfs is the channels on his TV. Or if he's feeling porny, the internet.

  2. Education - "Dude, what's an MBA? I just told this chick I had one."

  3. Firefighting - What happens when he drops his doobie on the couch while channel surfing.

Debbie Downer out.

Have a nice day. :)

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RRwriter Aug. 19, 2009 @ 7:51 a.m.

Hey, a girl has to hope/keep the fantasy alive : ) Clearly I'm not calling him because if he was truly serious he would have asked for my number or tried to contact me through my friend. I'm smarter than I look (sometimes).

And no neither of these friends were ever court reporters.

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RRwriter Aug. 19, 2009 @ 8:48 a.m.

P.S. I don't want to just assume that everyone is lying. I will take people at their word and then look for the little things they do that either rveal them to be a douche or prove that they are who they say they are.

I will not be bitter!

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RRwriter Aug. 19, 2009 @ 7:51 p.m.

Anti-

I don't know if you are implying that I have yet to have the kind of experiences that would make me bitter, or that I am still too young, but I make concious efforts to give people a fair shake and maintain a line above bitterness. Of course, at times, I can barely make it over that line, but most of the time, it is fine. Further, I think bitternes in dating will lead to me being bitter in life in general.

I know...I'm from OB so this is some happy go lucky hippie crap, but I am speaking from experience. I was once terrifyingly cynical and bitter and it changed who I was....but thanks for the book suggestion : )

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SurfPuppy619 Aug. 19, 2009 @ 8:35 p.m.

Anti hates all men....and puppies.

And I laughed so hard at this line;

"...he was bartending because firefighting was not mentally challenging enough."

Yes, I am sure he is bartending for the "itellectual stimulation" that raging alcoholic drunks can engage in.......Oh brother!

BTW, although it is not impossible, it is very unlikely a FF would have an MBA. FF jobs are almost impossible to get and the background to get one is not even in the same universe as an MBA.

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SDaniels Aug. 19, 2009 @ 8:50 p.m.

Another fun entry from single. Single, welcome to Anti-g's special brand of humor. I don't think she is so much bitter as irrepressibly funny--and yes, cynical.

Anyway, I for one love your description in the first four paragraphs. An M.A. in lit--now I know why I like you. I'm a complitter myself. What did you do your thesis on, and what areas did you work in?

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RRwriter Aug. 19, 2009 @ 9:34 p.m.

Sorry Surfpup, I didn't connect the bartending to the opening a bar clearly enough. I meant he was trying to get back into business and analysis. I'm not saying he's a rocket scientist...anyway I don't understand why it's all so unbelievable. I mean I understand, but...he really did fit the bill. You would think I had said he claimed to be Jesus or Bhudda. Sheesh! : )

SDaniels- I'm an Americanist. I specifically studied a lot of ethnic American Lit.

As for Anti, I love her comments as usual. I appreciate a good debate/argument. No worries. This is fun.

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SurfPuppy619 Aug. 20, 2009 @ 12:11 p.m.

So this would-be-honey is going to "open" a bar. Got it.

A bar/restaurant is a very labor intensive business, where 90% fail within 2 years, and with those types of odds I doubt very seriously someone could do it, and be successful, as a second job/business. The fact is the owner needs to be there at all times because the theft in these types of businsses is extremely high. FF's are on call on 24 hour shifts at least 10 days per month, which indicates to me this is not the type of business that would be compatible with FFing.

But, good luck with that.

If it works out let us know, maybe me and the geekess can do a double date with you :)

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RRwriter Aug. 20, 2009 @ 7:34 p.m.

Surfp- First, I'm pretty sure Anti has not agreed to go on a date with you, but I'll let her speak on that if she likes.

Second, I never said anything about my plans with or without this guy. I'm still reeling from the effect that a compliment for a man who has many good qualities has on you. Why does it matter? Must I lead with distrust, hostility, etc? What does your expertise prescribe?

It is my choice to be open-minded and take people at their word unless they prove me otherwise. No amount of digging can help you avoid heartache.

P.S. I choose to be a little more fearless than that. In dating, in my opinion, one needs to "go big or go home". It's always a risk. What are you gonna do. Walk around covering your balls for the rest of your life in case they get hit? You'd look like a pervert or someone who caught something horrible.

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SurfPuppy619 Aug. 20, 2009 @ 8:40 p.m.

No, me and Geekess are the item now, name the time and palce and we'll hook it up.

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antigeekess Aug. 20, 2009 @ 9:07 p.m.

Single said:

"First, I'm pretty sure Anti has not agreed to go on a date with you, but I'll let her speak on that if she likes."

You can be 'absolutely' sure now.

"Must I lead with distrust, hostility, etc? What does your expertise prescribe?"

Let's say....healthy skepticism?

I'm actually at the point where I just assume pretty much everything out of a guy's mouth is bullsh*t. Why?

Because it's what experience prescribes.

I'm wondering if you asked Mr. Too Perfect him any of the things that I'd have been wondering, like:

"How long have you been a firefighter? What are the actual requirements for that, anyway? Isn't there some kind of JC degree you have to get? What was the scariest fire you ever worked? WHAT STATION DO YOU WORK OUT OF?"

"Where'd you get your MBA? Why? What did you have in mind? What was your focus? What'd you do your thesis on?"

Ya know. Like, stuff he'd be able to answer if it were true.

Googled him yet?

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RRwriter Aug. 20, 2009 @ 9:28 p.m.

Antig-

Nope...I'm not even going to give it that much thought unless they have the cajones to ask directly for my number and then call me (not text me). If that ever happens again (the calling) I will try to remember to ask good questions (I am honostly not fantastic at that if I think a guy is really cute). In truth, by nature I am a skeptic, but I think I just don't take any of this stuff that seriously because I am not seriously looking. My fatal or fantastic flaw is that I truly love being single so my attitude right now is more like, "if it happens, it happens".

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SurfPuppy619 Aug. 21, 2009 @ 7:56 a.m.

Can I ask you a question, if you thought it could be a love connection, why you didn't ask him to go out for coffee or a walk in the park, or something similar?

Why do you think, in this day and age, that the guy has to have "cajones" to ask you out?

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RRwriter Aug. 21, 2009 @ 9:19 a.m.

Ask me anything...and good question. I can only say that I am taking a page out of "He's Just Not That Into You." Behrendt suggests that men are simple in their desires. If they really want you, they will go for it. If they are, as you all suggest, into many women, or not too interested, but you happened to be there, they will flirt and seem nterested, but they won't ask you out.

I am not sure if I support this theory whole-heartedly, but I did in fact believe in the modern day and that women should ask men out stuff then I asked a guy out (who had once before, when I was unavailable, asked me out) and he said, "yeah, but I'm really busy. I don't really have time...but we can hang out." This was a guy that was previously jocking me so hard it bordered on odd.

Now, I realize this is just one situation and I don't know if it is me specifically and the strange effect I have on men, but historically men do this thing with me where they want me and want me, then when I reciprocate and they are out. I mean from one day to the next, like a light switch. So now, instead of falling for their immediate attentions, I wait for further evidence that they are serious.

I wouldn't suggest this for everyone, but this is what I am going by for now.

I also see the flaw in that I give attention to guys who have previously given me interest vs. a cold ask out, but I hate when poeple ask me out when I have not given them any indications that I am interested so I try to avoid doing this to others.

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antigeekess Aug. 22, 2009 @ 1:04 a.m.

Single mused:

"I am not sure if I support this theory whole-heartedly, but I did in fact believe in the modern day and that women should ask men out stuff then I asked a guy out (who had once before, when I was unavailable, asked me out) and he said, "yeah, but I'm really busy. I don't really have time...but we can hang out." This was a guy that was previously jocking me so hard it bordered on odd."

He's passive-aggressive. Still pissed you turned him down the first time, regardless of the reason. Big baby.

"Now, I realize this is just one situation and I don't know if it is me specifically and the strange effect I have on men, but historically men do this thing with me where they want me and want me, then when I reciprocate and they are out."

You and me both. Like dogs chasing the unattainable car down the street, they have no idea what to do with one when they actually catch it. They chase because it's what they do, with no real thought as to 'why,' or even if they want what they're chasing.

Simple creatures, indeed. :)

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shizzyfinn Aug. 26, 2009 @ 4:16 p.m.

Great bit of writing. Keep the tales from SingleLand coming. I'd imagine that single fellows the world over would dearly value this kind of thorough and clearly written inside perspective on the young single female brain.

Funny and a little disturbing how your friends stopped what they were doing to Twitter about it, to the point where you have to whip out a book to kill time. I'm only 31, but that kind of thing - along with dudes who wear skin-tight pants - make me feel like a senior citizen who can't understand the kids these days. Somebody pass me the Centrum Silver...

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RRwriter Aug. 30, 2009 @ 3:04 p.m.

Hey Shizzy, Thanks for reading and commenting. I am also 31, and my fellow thirty-ish friends definitely make me feel like an old lady when I am forced to read beacause I don't really understand the small i-things in their fast hands. Sometimes I'd like to return to a time when the internet was made of black and and white text only group posts and combat boots with oversized plaid was cool. Although, then I would be a lot younger, a lot less in tune with myself and thus a lot less awesome. Oh well, I guess as we get older, some of us will just be labeled as old-fashioned. I'm ok with that.

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