… is a bar.
This is a topic that came up in conversation with a friend recently, and I felt it deserved some further exploration. I will lay down the disclaimer that my criticism does not go so far as to call for the abolishing of this institution; indeed, I see bars as a necessary evil, but I certainly have my qualms.
*Sip of wine*
Bar none (ha!), a bar / club contains the strangest, most skewed behaviour out of any place I have ever been. Of course, I am not here refering to my beloved dive bar, where I go to quietly drown my sorrows with good whiskey and cheap beer, in solitude. I am, instead, refering to these phoney, forced, awkward, settings with flashy lights, scantily clad women, pea-cocking thoroughly unendowed men, and entirely primal behaviour. These places are very much akin to those middle school dances in the not-quite-small-enough gymatoriums with the singular disco ball hanging 60 feet above ground and the strobe light in the corner. A lofty claim, you might say; well – let me plead my case and we’ll see where we stand.
Walking into a bar at the beginning of the night you will notice distinct groups of men and women, clearly separated. Each group is eying the other cautiously. If this is not enough like a middle school dance, let’s look at the 3-second rule. The rule is basically that within 3 seconds of making eye contact with a woman, you must talk to them, lest things become awkward. This of course begs the question: why would you put yourself in a setting where there is such ample opportunity for awkward situations? Exhibit A! So what happens if you wait longer than 3 seconds? A middle school dance! See below:
In the interest of honesty: I was at this point going to put in a picture of a typical middle-school dance, but while a Google search of “middle school dance” yielded plenty of results, the kids in said pictures seemed to be having way more fun than they should at a middle school dance. Fuckers!
One of my biggest problem with bars (and, perhaps one way in which a middle-school dance is actually superior) is the separation between the bar life and real life. Assuming we are not all bar flies – a sad state of being, to be sure – there is a distinct line between the dazzle and glamour of the bar scene and reality. More importantly, there is a distinct difference between those people whom we meet at bars and those we meet and become friends with elsewhere. We need look no further to see this phenomenon than the challenge with which we are presented after getting that holiest of items – a phone number. That such a seemingly mundane thing as a phone number should have weight attached to it should be our first indication that all is not right, but let’s analyze the behaviour of both men and women with regard to the revered digits.
For the sake of argument (and this is definitely not a stretch), let’s assume that a man (let’s call him Edgar) feels some sort of attraction in his drunken (or not so drunken) stupor for a woman (let’s call her Catherine) and asks for her phone number. For whatever reason, Catherine decides to divulge her contact information to what is essentially a complete stranger in Edgar. I digress…
*Larger sip of wine*
Both Edgar and Catherine return to their respective lives. Does Edgar call? Does Catherine want him to call? What will they talk about? Do they see a future with each other? Will they end up as fuck-buddies, or will they build a real friendship. For fun, let’s see what a typical conversation might be between these two strangers [with thoughts in parentheses]:
Edgar: Hey Catherine! How’s it goin’? It’s Edgar. We met at the bar on Saturday? [Oh man I waited 2 days to call – should I have waited 3 days? Is 4 days too long?]
Catherine: Oh… hey. I’m good. How have you been? [Which creep is this? Is this the guy who fully groped me after I gave him my number and then gleefully high-fived his buddies? Fuck, I hope not.]
Edgar: I’ve been well. You know, no one loves Mondays *awkward laugh* [Damn I sound like a douchebag. I hope she doesn’t pick up on that.]
Catherine: Yes the day after the weekend is always tough. How’s your day so far? [Man, what a douchebag. Did he just laugh at his own non-joke? I hope he doesn’t interpret my attempt to be polite as an okay to ask me out]
Edgar: [Green light! We are a go! Full throttle!!!] Hey… uh… would you be interested in grabbing dinner some time? [Nice. You are the King of Smooth.]
Obviously I am exaggerating here for the sake of comedy, but you get the point. Neither Edgar nor Catherine know what the other person is thinking. They simply don’t know each other!
*Largest sip of wine*
The bottom line here is that the situation is contrived and obviously very basic and primal. There is no trickery here. Fancy watches and fast cars are just peacock feathers. Low-cut dresses and booty shorts are just a glamorized version of “presenting” oneself. Jane Goodall really should not have bothered living with the chimps; she would have had a wonderful field day with the apes at the local pub-club:
“Here we see the overactive, unattractive, and aggressive male approaching all the choice females, getting rejected one by one. They clearly recognize his facial blemishes and his small wrists that would have trouble guarding against predators. You may believe this to be sad, but it all comes down to the survival of the tribe and eugenics. It’s nature. Oh – now we see him moving slowly down the ladder to the members of clearly smaller and less desirable gene pool…”, etc.
Of course this leads us to ask: why bother with all this? If we’re just primates, why go through the trouble of having these strangest of places —
— okay, perhaps I criticize the bar scene so fervently because of my inability to make these connections with strangers or, as my my friends so quaintly put it, my ability to “stumble backwards into pussy and still not know how to seal the deal.” Fine; I never said this blog post was going to be unbiased. I do know nothing after all.
Ah what a wonderful blog title…
*Finish the wine*