As a single lady with needs that my gay or engaged male friends cannot help me realise, I’ve observed, stereotyped and tried out five categories of men who are representative of those you find in bars on weeknights for the same reason as you.
1. The Bartender
If there is no one else in the bar, you can be sure he will be.
His job is to be friendly, though he is very good at subtly indicating that he is being friendly to you for another reason, by playing as much Tom Waits as you ask for, charging you four bucks to drink yourself stupid and being short with everyone who interrupts your conversation about his tricks for dealing with drunken lunatics – a category from which he kindly excludes you.
As the night drags on he normally gets slightly pissed (though he’d never admit it) trying to impress you with his wide range of knowledge on whatever your drink of choice for the night is, until he eventually tells you, his foreign accent thickened by a slight slur, “when I want to empty the bar I just play 1920s German/Argentinian/(wherever he’s from) music.” He kisses you to Marlene Dietrich/Carlos Gardel/whoever his nation’s bar-clearing hero is. After hurriedly closing up he pays for a cab home to get out of there as soon as possible.
2. The Player
Beware! As soon as he catches you checking him out – and he will see you, no matter how dimly-lit that dive bar/dilapidated nightclub is – you will be making out with him and you won’t know how.
He operates quickly, one sentence and he’s kissing you, ten minutes later and you’re in a cab. After sleeping with him a few things become clear – he is quick in other areas, and he’s such a selfish lover that has to be smooth because it’s unlikely he has many women wanting to come back. He pretends that’s his choice by feigning arrogance and his wounded ego protects itself as you leave by making a smug comment about how he’ll call you.
You both know he doesn’t have your number, but neither of you are going to correct him on that ‘error’.
3. The Druggie
This guy is very obvious from the beginning.
“Hi, I’m Conrad. Nice to meet you. Would you like to take some MDMA in the bathroom?” Accept with caution: once you start with this guy, you’re forfeiting the next two to three days to watching football whilst having maniac sex on his couch or dancing with ridiculous enthusiasm to mediocre techno in a seedy club at lunchtime.
About 24 hours in you will pledge to never leave each other, and it’s clear to you both that you mean within the period of the your altered minds – life, reality and sobriety don’t exist for the two of you outside of this timeframe, but it rears its ugly head about 48 hours in when he can’t get an erection anymore and you’re more interested in how nice it feels being cocooned in blankets than anything he can do between your thighs. After you leave and never want to speak to each other again because of the pure misery of your comedown, you may also find yourself too ashamed to return to his neighbourhood because of how many bottles of Jägermeister you bought from the same store at questionable times of day.
4. The Musician
His presence is almost as certain as the bartender’s, no matter the time of day or week.
He will always start talking to you about music, commenting on whatever song it is you’re trying to make the jukebox play, even if it’s ABBA. He moved to the city to get a name for his band, but they’re still kind of underground. They have a gig next week though, which you should definitely come to. Well, it’s more of an open mic night they frequent, it’s not so easy to get gigs this season. Oh, their style is edgy… like Bob Dylan meets Pink Floyd or Bowie or whoever. You should just hear it. Three beers in, he’ll ask you to get the next round, and you know if you don’t intervene, drinks are on you all night, so you just suggest going back to his place.
He lives in a two room apartment with four men and their instruments. It’s a sea of uncovered mattresses and pizza boxes – just until they make it. Despite all the beer, he’s a clever boy – he always has condoms in anticipation of the days when multiple women will throw themselves at him.
5. The Romeo
Everything seems pretty usual with him in the bar, he offers you a drink and you start talking.
He listens to you and asks slightly more in-depth questions, and you wonder if he’s doing it because he’s actually interested or because some shitty pick-up women instructional blog advised it. When you go home with him, and realise it’s because he’s overly emotional: after you have sex once and try to go again, he calls you cute and nostalgically reminisces about how when he was your age he too had insatiable desires, even though he’s only three years older than you. He cuddles you to sleep, asks you about your relationship with your parents and what your dreams are.
After you wake up in the corner of the bed drenched in sweat, sobriety inspires you to leave. He texts you as soon as he finishes work the next day, telling you how beautiful you are and that he can’t wait to see you again, and invites you to go to weird places with him like the theatre.