Thursday, June 14, 2007

Ask the Bartender : Advice Column #2

Here's the second installment of my new Ask the Bartender Advice Column, published in the Connect Statesboro of the Statesboro Herald. See it on their site here. If you have questions, I'd love to answer them. If you'd like a similar column, or to syndicate this column, please let me know.

Dear Bartender,

About two months ago I started dating a friend of a friend. He and I immediately liked each other, and were regularly spending weekends together. The third or fourth time we saw each other, he told me for the first time, "You can't expect anything from this. I don't want to hurt you. I'm still getting over my ex-girlfriend, and I can't guarantee you that I won't be an asshole to you." I know I should have taken these warnings as a huge red flag, but I rationalized these statements away by placing more importance on how he behaved toward me—he was kind and flattering and curious about me—than on what he said to me during these brief, grave conversations.

My question is not about how to interpret his behavior. I know that it is time for me to move on to a less complicated and less degrading kind of relationship. My problem is that I continue to care about this, even though it only makes me unhappy and mean. I know that I like him but that the timing is bad, and there's nothing I can do about it. In spite of that, I am hanging on, beating myself up about it. I have never acted like such a fool before, and I'm not sure why I'm doing it or what I can do to make myself stop. What should I do?

Let go. Run like hell. When someone tells you that they can't love you, or don't deserve you, or aren't ready, you should say "absolutely". Swallow that rock in your throat, finish your beer, and rejoice in the fact that they knew themselves so well to know that they don't deserve you, and can't love you. You must respect yourself enough to hear the things people are trying to tell you, and act appropriately. It doesn't matter if you blame timing, or ex-lovers, or whatever is happening in their life: they can't be with you, so you can't be with them either. You deserve someone who is madly in love with you. You are worth it. You should never convince someone to be in a relationship.

Meanwhile, we all know that hollow ache in the ribcage. You should nurse your broken heart with some beer. You need something more bitter than the truth, made with flowers, something that withstands long journeys and oceans of regret. I want you to drink some India Pale Ale. This beer originated with British brewers who needed a beer that could be shipped to their occupying empire in India. The hops and higher alcohol acted as preservatives, which withstood the long journey and kept the flavor of the brews fresh. You will drink these pints as an elixir of your own self-preservation. You are a strong and lovely woman, and this strong beer is going to remind you of who you want to be. This is a style of beer which American brewers can truly say they've improved upon. You are improving on your own life too.

I'm not sure what's on your local pub's tap lines, but if they have them, pick from these breweries: Avery, Dogfishhead, Stone, Sixpoint, Rogue, Fisherman's, or Weyerbacher. If they don't have them, tell the manager that you can't stand their terrible selection and demand they order a keg of something worth drinking. Pick one kind of IPA to drink for the night. After two or three pints, cut yourself off before your drunk. Go home, turn off the light, and sleep. Dream of sea journeys and adventure. One morning you will wake up not thinking about this boy, or this mess you're getting out of. You'll be thinking about the man you met the night before, who was enthralled by everything you said, and won't spring some dumb state-of-the-union talk on you unless there's a ring involved.

Dear Bartender,

Is it sleazy to go to a sports bar to pick up dudes if you aren't actually into sports? I'm the kind of girl who loves bars and beer and drinking, and my friends tell me that sports bars are full of eligible men. I've been considering it.

Please, don't be the misplaced girl who tries to distract true fans from their one weekly event of happiness. Sports distract people from their lives, allow them to collectively rejoice or anguish over their team's play. Fans love these teams and sports historically; they know players, stats, stories, yet still relish in the carnal joy of watching athletes perform well. There must be something in your life that you adore like sports fans adore their teams. You should try to date someone who has similar interests, not someone whose interests obviously diverge.

You may also want to consider these deterrents: 1. Fans like to date other fans, and there will be trivia involved which will make you look dumb. 2. Men who have girlfriends or wives often go to sports bars with their friends, where they all act like college kids again. After all the cheering and drinking is over, they are going home to their partners, not with you. 3. Again, you shouldn't try to date people who love stuff that you don't even like, certainly not as the inception of your relationship. 4. Sports fans are there to watch the game, and talk about sports, not to be bothered explaining it all to you.

If you love bars and beer, go to a Belgian or specialty beer bar. The men there are probably more eligible, and would love to share a fine pint with a girl who doesn't like sports. Maybe you could explain a thing or two to them, and appear as the smart girl you are, not the idiot girl in the sports bar.


Dann Zinke said...

I found this blog from /., and now it's a bookmark. Keep up the good stuff.

Anthony said...

I also found this blog from Slashdot. I've been reading it regularly through RSS and enjoy these advice columns. The IPA recommendation was especially clever. Looking forward to seeing more!