July 31, 2013

I Spent A Night At A Bar Alone, But I Did It…For Science

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What is the issue?

There are countless stigmas and faux pas associated with a girl sitting alone at a bar – it is so… “MMHMM” (insert: sassy Z-motion finger click snap + left to right sharp head movements.)

What I want to know is – why can’t a girl sit at a bar alone without getting judged by third-party spectators who more or less than likely have stamped you as either:

  1. a developing young alcoholic
  2. a desperate mid-20’s female trying to pick-up or trying to get picked-up
  3. a socially retarded loner — or
  4. all of the above

Seriously though, I think it is a very brave act to go sit alone at a bar, and to those few girls/ladies/women out there who do so, kudos.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while now and have had several internal discussions about it. A good friend of mine just recently moved to another state and doesn’t really know anyone so naturally I suggested she go out, have some good food followed by a drink or two at the bar. That’s cool, casual and normal right? WRONG. She hated the idea and resisted it with everything inside her.

WHY IS IT SO WRONG? WHY?

It is perfectly okay and yes, certainly defiant to the structure of socialisation where women are supposed to be in close packs of co-dependency using each other as social crutches. But ultimately, why the hell not?

The idea of being that mysterious, super sleek, effortlessly cool girl that sits confidently at a bar all alone, not giving a care in the world is extremely appealing and liberating to me. So, the other night, I bit my tongue and found myself at a wine bar all alone. Surprisingly it was extraordinarily enjoyable.

I must say, I do enjoy my wine so I picked the venue appropriately. (I am also completely aware of the associations of what that statement suggests, however I can assure you I am not a covert alco.) Drink stereotypes aside, being at a wine bar the obvious option would be to order a glass of wine regardless of the associative clichés; wine drinkers being the pretentious, secret alcoholics who know just about every health benefit of the beverage. This is nicely disguised through the act of consuming the acceptable glass or two every night that aids in the wind down. It didn’t matter anyway, if I was that pretentious punk, so was everyone else in that place.

Choice of beverage isn’t that hard, honestly you cannot win, either you look like that pretentious twat or…your choice is something obscene like a… what was that, a vodka cranberry?… I’m sorry but you are just waiting to be judged.

I get it folks, I think it is safe to say that I may have appeared to be that 20-something year old female, hitting onset early menopause, desperately clasping onto my red wine glass as refuge from my irrefutable lonesomeness.

During my time alone at the bar, I made several sound observations about this potentially one off social experiment.

Observations are as follows:

  • Female servers are 110% friendlier. I take that it is because they don’t have to deal with the whole group dynamic of the Friends Flock. (People are less irritating when they aren’t fuelled by social demands, especially in female groups, excitement and hysteria is quadrupled when in said Friends Flock.)
  • Male bartenders and male waiters are 200% chatty and super friendly ergo- endless fun snacks (complimentary of course), a comprehensive one-on-one breakdown of the wine list, lots of wit and banter and eyes… Come on, who doesn’t like having eyes with the cute hygienic hipster* mixologist?
  • The crowd on a weeknight is certainly more forgiving; they are friend dates, couples or colleagues attending after work rendezvous. All of which aren’t in the mindset of getting absolutely wasted.
  • The friendly male waiter/female server/hygienic hipster mixologist always has your back. Making sure that you are always satisfied with your beverage and if you are drinking a form of H20 that it is always topped up.
  • Yes, patrons do stare and look at you with that sorrowful pity/intrigued pensive stare trying to work out your situation and how you got to this point in your life.

Self-deprecation, smart-talk and clichés aside, I found this social experiment very educational.

The question is, would I do it again? Yes, probably. I think if you’re still a rookie at lonesome bar nights choosing the right atmosphere is detrimental. I was fortunate enough to go to an acceptable wine bar with fabulous food options and even better friendly wait staff.

Here’s to ticking another thing off that long list.
Lonesome night out at the bar. Check.

*I say hygienic hipster because this is a rare breed of hip that should not be confused with the regular trend of hipster (the seemingly effortless unhygienic yet put together dishevelled look with clothes that appear to have come from a thorough rummage of their parents wardrobe from the eras of the 60s to the 90s.) Hygienic Hipster- Think:  Mediocrely pretentious (yet, still entertaining and acceptable), slick, occasionally wears labels, cares about aesthetic presentation and most importantly- still cares for personal hygiene. TC mark

Edana Isobel

Edana Isobel is a Sydney based writer, religious tea drinker and water connoisseur.

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