Dating the bartender
Can a person who is perfectly happy as a bartender be compatible with a companion who strives for the corner office? Jack Lauterback explores the conflicts that arise when nine-to-fivers start dating bartenders.
“Only one marriage I regret. I remember after I got that marriage license I went across from the license bureau to a bar for a drink. The bartender said, ‘What will you have, sir?’ And I said, ‘A glass of hemlock.’” – Ernest Hemingway
The first day you meet a significant other is inevitably the beginning of a long, slow, sometimes beautiful slog to a very ugly end. Never has that been more true than when it comes to dating a bartender. As much as you want to believe that love and understanding can overcome the lifestyle differences between an industry type (bartender, waitress, cook, etc) and a non-industry type (a nine-to-fiver), it simply can’t. At least not in the long run. Yeah so you snared the good looking bartender. The oh so hip, impeccably dressed god behind the stick. The one with all the friends. The one who gets hooked up with drinks everywhere.
The first few months are a whirlwind of sex and drinking the finest swill. Full of sitting across the bar enjoying free libations, free appetizers, and meeting everyone under the sun. Then, somewhere along the line, something changes. You’re tired of having sex at 4 a.m. when they stumble into the apartment reeking of booze and cigarettes. You’re tired of watching an endless rotation of potential competition flirt with your property. You’re tired of not getting a date night on the weekends because they’re working. You’re just plain tired from lack of sleep.
The Alternative Lifestyle
“My mom kept asking me things like, ‘Well, what does he plan on doing with his life? He can’t bartend forever.’” – Danielle Lindgren, serial bartender dater, and one of my ex girlfriends. Can a person who is perfectly happy as a bartender be compatible with a companion who strives for the corner office? A companion who needs that paycheck to feel like they’re accomplishing something with their week? I’ve seen it happen, but an unequal relationship in terms of career has less of a chance of succeeding. Rarely do you see a woman making 100k more than her man and both of them being perfectly content with it.
“When she dumped me she claimed it was because I had no motivation, because I slept til 2 p.m. everyday. When I was the one making 1.200 a week, not her. I was the one paying her half of the rent, when she couldn’t afford to pony up her share.’ – Ben Sproles, bartender, Baltimore. Most of the barmen (and bar-ladies) that I know actually want a long-lasting, monogamous relationship. The stigma that bartenders are players who aim for quantity over quality, except for the ones who are twenty five and younger, is generally not true. Just because we live an alternative lifestyle, a lifestyle that enables us the ability to meet many members of the opposite sex, does not mean that we don’t want that special someone to spend our alone time with, and unfortunately a great deal of the non-industry employed public finds this hard to believe.
“You told me that you had to flirt, that it was part of your job. But you flirt with me the same way you would flirt with your customers, and it just became hard for me to swallow. How can I really trust that you were only ‘cleaning the bar’ until 5 a.m., especially when you come home and it’s obvious that you’ve been drinking. The trust issue was my main concern.” says Lisa Caruso, school teacher and another one of my ex-girlfriends. Trust is the main concern when it comes to any relationship, more so when it comes to bartenders. Spending long night time hours apart is difficult for any couple, but imagine when you’re home alone and your girlfriend is in the company of other men. Mostly other conniving bartenders, sketchy restaurant managers and drunken male patrons.
Should Bartenders Date Bartenders?
“I believed everything she said and I never even thought she was capable of hurting me like that. I didn’t mind the long nights and she always came home to my bed. Eventually I found out she was fucking one of the dudes she worked with, and it shattered me. This was a guy who had nothing but smiles and high fives for me, when I came into the bar to visit her. But if you have ever had co-workers of the opposite sex, then you know how attraction can build over the course of long work hours. It’s practically inevitable. I’ll never do anything but hate fuck bartenders from now on. Dating them is a nightmare”. – Jeff Meyer, attorney.
While hate-fucking bartenders is a bit extreme, Jeff’s story is not an uncommon one. Knowing that a hot female co-bartender is in a relationship is usually not enough to stop me from trying to get on them. It’s a sad truth, and a truth that you should take into consideration when trying to get the number of that scantily clad drink-slinger in front of you. You have an hour or two to win her affections, I have about fifty hours a week. The smart money is on me. Should any of this convince you to not date a bartender? Maybe not. Attraction and chemistry are strange mistresses and rarely will they let something as trivial as a job stand in the way. But from my experience, I would walk very lightly into such an endeavor. And as for you bartenders reading this, lets face facts, dating other bartenders or service industry peons is what we’re made to do. It fits our lifestyle. The nine-to -ivers are always good for sex though.
This article was first published in MIXOLOGY Issue 1/2011.