I have developed a crush on a bartendress. But it’s not a specific image of her that is distracting me, it’s more the idea of her. And thus I have dubbed her The Bartending Muse, and I am currently chronicling my pursuit/stalking/wooing of her. The saga begins here.
My notes from Day 2 are below:
So we had the initial meeting a couple weekends ago. And the second encounter popped off about a week later. I didn't want to wait a week to resume wooing, but the schedule didn’t work out. I still only had access to the BM when she was working, which was a couple nights a week, so limited window. No 3-4 days waiting, full 7.
So on the night she was working, I planned to stop by. Again, I'm not completely obsessed by any means, just sort of intrigued by the challenge/prospect. So I can play it cool. Not planning to camp out at her bar, I'd just stop by, let her know what's up, flash some of the TAN charm, and then meet up with another friend of mine who was out also. But as it turns out the friend’s plans fell through, so he just joined me at the home of the Bartending Muse (incidentally, I don’t say “the bartending muse” with the fellas, lest I'm forced to escape to New Hampshire Vito style). Once my friend arrived, I settled in for a long night of poaching bartender.
The spot was significantly less busy than the first meeting, and my friend and I parked ourselves at the bar, right in front of the BM, and the quality time would commence.
Overall, it had the feel of a group date. I had my friend to talk to. And she had her friends (the other patrons at the bar), but we were still able to touch base and get some decent conversation time … over drinks.
We started off slow. I didn’t have a ton to work with in the first meeting, and after a week, I admittedly was playing it a little herby in the early going. Very passive aggressive. Non committal. Conservative. The most important step in any wooing is getting over the hurdle of putting yourself out there. The hurdle is labelled "rejection," and some people are natural hurdlers, some are not. But regardless, once you clear that hurdle, you’re good to go. Game on.
Now she actually made the hurdles a little higher by not remembering (or pretending not to remember) some of the "funny talk" we had going from the first meeting. This is where the partner/wingman helps out, as you can buffer the situation, and find the rhythm. By yourself, you might get a little sensitive or defensive when she doesn't remember how you used sign language to order your ketel and cran. But with a pardner, you can say, "oh word, you don't remember? Ok, well I"m just gonna talk to my boy about the upcoming NFL draft. You go serve drinks." And then pick it up later.
In hindsight the initial misfires seemed to be standard second-time-meeting-a-person-whom-you-first-met-serving-drinks-at-a-bar awkwardness. As we settled in, she started giving positive signs, remembered (or pretended to remember) our particular banter from the week before, I cleared the hurdle, and we were off and running.
Now even while running, there’s still a little bit of the “she’s the bartender working for a tip” question going. One thing with wooing the bartender is you have to be flexible. And have a high tolerance. It's a lighter version of dating or wooing a stripper. And it can be tough to get a consistent convo flow with the bartender. You might have a hot story, or the perfect retort, and just as you're about to unleash it, she raises her index finger and says, "wait, hold that thought..." and she leaves to serve a customer, or five. Sucks. On the flip side, if she's coming back to you, and you're getting a lot of eye contact when she's pulling the tap, and she’s sharing personal info ... then you feel special, maybe a little extra empowered because it's easy for bartenders to avoid a stalker. There are plenty of distractions. They're working. So those otherwise normal signs demonstrate a little more pro-active interest on her part. And that's the situation we had going here.
So after a couple hours, I’m thinking about the segue into the exchange of contact info. And that's when she decides to mention that she’s seeing someone. Not only that, she mentions it in the context of a story that had nothing to do with the guy. Something like, "yeah, I'm seeing this guy, and as it turns out the supermarket was all out of peanut butter AND jelly. Can you believe it?" So obviously an eyebrow is raised at that. But then she follows that up quickly by changing the "seeing" to "we're just sort of dating." And later interrogating reveals she's only known the guy a few weeks, so nothing too serious.
I make a few jokes about "eliminating" this other guy, which she responds to, and eventually we get off this subject, and into more casual banter/information reconaissance. But then some chaos in the bar led to us not being able to talk for the last hour and she left before I could push the issue or initiate the Information Exchange.
So we've got a "I'm seeing someone," followed by an immediate correction. We have eye contact and special attention throughout the night, but she left without saying a word. Though admittedly, I got a little distracted at the end.
At the end of the night we’re left with some positive, some negative, and an ellipsis that leads us into Day 3 of the saga of TAN & The Bartending Muse ...