This Is About Talking To Boys In Bars

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Flickr / Great Beyond

“What do you do?”

“I’m a waitress,” I say to the boy who just bought me a Corona. I’m in Beauty Bar on Cahuenga Blvd, in Hollywood.

“A waitress? Where?”

“California Pizza Kitchen,” I reply without batting an eye.

“Oh. That’s…cool. How do you guys know each other?” He asked gesturing his beer bottle between my best friend and I.

“We went to college together.”

“Oh yeah? Where?”

“USC,” I tell him, because it’s true.

“Really? And you’re a waitress?”

No, I wasn’t really a waitress at CPK. I had lied because I was 22 years old and lying to strangers in bars was fun. I had lied because in 2007, my job in SEO was confusing to explain to people.


“What do you do?”

“I’m a screenwriter,” I say, taking a sip of my vodka soda. We’re in a loud bar in downtown LA called The Golden Gopher.

“We’re both screenwriters,” my friend follows up.

“Oh that’s so awesome,” he says to us, genuinely impressed. “What are you writing right now?”

“A movie,” I say.

“It’s like Good Will Hunting,” my friend says very seriously, “except with girls, and it’s set in space.”

“What aspect of space?” the guy asks us sincerely.

“Ugh, you know, God. Space!”

We were not screenwriters. I scammed search engines by updating 200 blogs a month, and my friend was a project manager at a media buying company. We both hated our jobs, but we liked being able to buy vodka sodas.


“What do you do?”

“I’m the marketing manager of a search marketing agency,” I say proudly. I like my job. It pays the bills. I’m good at it. I get to write.

“That’s really respectable,” the guy says to me. We’re chatting at a bar in Venice Beach called The Otheroom.

“Respectable?”

“Yeah, it’s cool that you made the decision to make money. I respect that.”

I hadn’t realized it was a decision. “Well, what do you do?”

“I’m a writer. I write movies,” he says rather smugly.

“Ok, but what do you really do. Like to make money,” I take an accurately judgmental stab in the dark that writing isn’t how he pays rent.

“Oh, I work at a restaurant in Santa Monica,” he admits. “But, I’m mostly writing,” he follows up hastily

“Well, I write too.”

“Yeah, but you have a 9-5 job.”

“I’m not working a blue collar factory job,” I start getting indignant. “And, even if I was, so what? That’s no less important. I like my job, and how dare you assume that I don’t find creative fulfillment in a “day job.” Or, that I require my job to sound impressive. Maybe I’m not a contestant in this weird creative competition in LA. Maybe I’m content with my job. Maybe my job doesn’t need to define me, but I’m not embarrassed if it does. But, just so you know, my job is creative in its own way. I write, a lot, for work and that still counts. But, again, just so you know, I also write for myself. I write for publications. And you know how I can do all that? Because I make enough money to support myself and be a fucking adult about it.”

“Ok…ok…” He stuttered.

“No, it’s not ok.”

I walk away. I’m tired.

Talking about what you do is far more exhausting than actually doing it. I’m going back to being a waitress at CPK. TC mark

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