I have a thing for bartenders. Could it be summed up as an occupational hazard? Sit on enough bar stools and you’re more than likely to fall for those who serve you. Again and again. I’ve certainly had my fair share of barman romances. It was this addiction, if you will, that brought me to a particular bar stool on a Monday night like all others. He had invited me for “a kiss and a cocktail” – a combination that is hard to deny.
Walking into the dark bar, before I saw the bartender, I saw another familiar face. An older, handsomely rugged gentleman who I usually watched on my television. Smiling to myself, I sat at the bar somewhat facing him and received my (very) affectionate welcome from the bartender. He’s got the kind of thick wavy locks that you want to run your hands through, or hold on to for dear life.
Focused on my writing project and in my own world, I glanced up and out of my reverie straight into the eyes of the actor. His head was cocked in curiosity at me. I smiled (and likely blushed) before returning to my pages. Not only was he handsome, but he had a mysterious cloak wrapped around him. I love a man who sits alone on bar stools. The independence and confidence turn a switch on inside me.
As the evening went on, and the bartender plied me with more drinks than I had planned, I began to eavesdrop on a conversation the actor was having with the women who sat between us. They knew who he was and were discussing his TV show. I do find it amusing to hear fans speak to people from the screen about their accomplishments. Am I accurate to assume that some people in the limelight want to be a little anonymous sometimes? Often I pretend I don’t know who the “celebrity” I’m talking to is. I’d rather get to know the person as a stranger. Start from square one.
The women left and I heard the actor refer to one of the bartenders by the wrong name. Picking up on this, when I had the opportunity I called out to the bartender with his correct name hoping it would be noted. Realizing his error, the actor quickly apologized to the bartender – our ice had been broken. The flood gates were now open for conversation. We spoke of dreams and our lives growing up. Just one stranger to another.
When we weren’t talking, I could feel his eyes on me. They were studying me with intensity. And when I had the gall to look up, he held my gaze in what seemed to be one of those moments people talk about when they refer to chemistry. There it was… that invisible and unexplainable connection with a person upon first meeting. I live for these moments. Those people who you know you must have known in a past life, who you know you must know now.
Eventually, after I had had far too many cocktails for a Monday evening, I made myself peel away from the bar stool and call it a night. I said my thank you’s and good byes to the bartenders and was walking towards the door when the actor hopped off his seat and stopped me in my tracks. He asked if I went there often. A line laced in clichés that didn’t seem so cheesy when uttered from his lips. I announced that I went there now and again and may be back in a couple of days with friends. He said if that were the case, he may come back. I was perfectly fine leaving it to fate. I had an odd feeling that I would see him again, regardless of whether we planned it. Surprisingly, I felt no urgency.
I never made it back to the bar a couple of days later, but we managed to find each other anyway. Told you… fate. He confessed he had returned with the hopes of seeing me again and was terribly disheartened when I never showed. It is rare yet uplifting to have a man make such gestures and proclamations. Is it only the older, more gentlemanly generation that still runs with it? Regardless, I’m now enjoying his company on more planned encounters….
Oh shoot… was this tale supposed to be about bartenders…?
My lessons from a bar stool:
1. Sometimes you have to leave it to destiny to pave the way. Some things can’t be forced.
2. Even if you know who your bar neighbour is, get to know them as though you don’t. You’ll have no preconceptions and will figure them out on an even playing field.
3. Bartenders… they are like musicians in the sense that you can’t help but be attracted to them. Crafting cocktails are the new guitar solo.
4. Look people in the eye without saying a word. Hold the gaze and let the intensity wash over your bodies.
5. There’s something about writing in your notebook in a candle lit bar while live music fills the air that feeds my soul.