A Bartender's Guide to Measuring Up in your Relationships

Archive for March, 2015

Cocktail Therapy

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     My favorite nights bartending were those when I got to flex my counseling muscles for couples in crisis visiting my bar.
     This adorable pair came in one night at last call for a nightcap to the first date of their second chance. Looking at them, you’d never guess there had ever been enough friction for them to break up. However, midway through their drinks, their lovey-dovey vibe turned into a debate, and they called me over (as many couples have) to be the mediator.
     Having almost been married before, they broke up because Cass* thought Riley* was too frugal and Riley thought Cass was too lavish. This disagreement was now coming up again, so they wanted an unbiased opinion.
     Riley believed you take care of home first: bills paid, full fridge, savings accounts. Riley also loved to cook and couldn’t fathom spending large amounts of money on fancy meals, saying, “It’s only food. You can’t even keep it.” Riley was a simple homebody and had no need for expensive material things.
     Cass on the other hand believed you only live once; you work hard, you play hard. Cass had an appetite for the extravagant, and loved going to fancy restaurants with friends and splurging on big ticket items like designer shoes or jewelry. But Cass also had a well-paying job and could therefore comfortably afford that lifestyle.
     The source of contention was that Cass was an outgoing person who couldn’t stand being cooped up in the house. Cass liked to socialized; get out and go dancing, to a concert, or to the movies instead of renting a dvd to watch at home. Riley never wanted to go out with Cass. Riley much preferred quiet dinners at home and snuggling up on the couch.
     It was obvious they loved each and loved being around each other; they just needed a happy medium between their personalities.
     To me the solution was simple: I helped Cass understand that Riley shows love by protecting loved ones, not with expensive gifts, and to be more appreciative of the “gift” of security. Cass needed to understand that Riley wasn’t going to get in the habit of buying lavish material things.  However, since those expensive gifts weren’t hurting the family budget, Riley should no longer give Cass grief for buying them. Feeling judged would only make Cass resort to hiding and lying about purchases, which wouldn’t be healthy for Cass or the relationship. The relationship would be much happier when Riley stopped counting every penny Cass spends and making Cass feel bad for wanting luxury items.
     And though Riley was a homebody, I suggested for the sake of bonding in the relationship, go out sometimes with Cass. But to Cass I added pick places that are modest. Since Cass had friends who enjoyed fine dining, reserve those fancier meals for hanging with them.
     The couple happily agreed to take my advice. They finished their drinks and left finally having an understanding of how they could blend their two worlds, and I closed down the bar feeling certain they we’re going to make it this time.

*Names have been changed to protect their identities

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15 Reasons to Date a Bartender – eHarmony Advice

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     As far as relationships go, dating a bartender is pretty much the cream of the crop. We’re expert listeners, great at anticipating needs, very diplomatic, skilled at multitasking, work well under pressure, and bartenders make you look good in front of your friends (because we’re usually attractive, entertaining people persons).
As if my saying so weren’t enough, the experts agree with me. The good folks over at eHarmony.com, the number one dating site, compiled a list of the 15 best reasons to date a bartender Here. What can I say, we’re a special breed of human. 😉

What’s Your Barometer?

An oldie but goodie.

What's Your Barometer

My experience as a bartender lets me study relationships first hand. I’ve noticed an interesting parallel between my relationship to customers and romantic relationships. A good relationship is like having a favorite bartender: You feel comfortable, and taken care of, they know your preferences and how to make you smile.

I have a theory: The barmaid steps into the role of whatever a customer is lacking in his/her own relationship–or fulfills the role in the absence of one. I’m the mistress of the customer whose date just went to the bathroom; the consummate therapist whose job it is to listen while a person works through their relationship woes; a bitch to the smart-ass looking for a rise; an audience for the jokes and stories the one at home has heard one too many times; or referee or matchmaker, serving as the go-between for a budding romance–or rocky one. On any…

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Why Dating A Bartender Is Like A Great Long-Distance Relationship

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    Because a bartender’s schedule usually consists of late nights and weekends, I’m used to being on a different schedule then most everyone I know. I’m at work when nearly everyone else is off, including my significant other. That fact can make dating a bit of a challenge. (There’s a reason bartenders usually date others in the service industry.)
     Being on opposite schedules from your S.O. can feel like you’re in a long-distance relationship. Finding the balance between sleeping–including with one another–and spending quality time together can be a difficult but rewarding task.

Distance makes the heart grow fonder   
     Like long-distance relationships, when you date a bartender, it’s difficult to carve out time to see each other regularly so you rely heavily on phone calls and text messages to keep in touch. But to me that can be sweet. The calls and messages aren’t your mundane, “What’s for dinner?,” but more likely full of, “I miss you; can’t wait to see you again.” or, “Last week was amazing!” But it has the advantage of not actually being a L-DR, so you know you’ll actually see them the next week.
     Plus, I loved the pop-ups, when whomever I was dating would decide to pay me a visit at work. Those are awesome when your relationship is healthy. I’d get a mix of emotions, pleasantly surprised, slightly coy, excited, and a little arrogant, showing off behind the bar for my special audience of one. Locking eyes and exchanging winks between customers, or sneaking away to flirt or make out for a second made my work night enjoyable.
     One of my s.o. got a kick out of customers who would sit next to him and, not knowing who he was to me, would talk about how sexy they thought I was! He’d tell me about these instances after my shift and we’d laugh about it together. It takes a certain type of confidence to do that. Some distance makes the heart grow fonder because time to miss your each other makes each encounter feel important. You don’t have time to get sick of each other.

Be prepared to sleep a lot
     Sort of like jet lag from a 23-hour flight, that first day off after my strenuous work week was always spent in bed. I’d be completely wiped out. Not to mention, everything on me hurt–and I do mean EVERYTHING–from my feet, ankles, and knees to my hips and back to my elbows, wrists, hands, even fingers! The last thing I’d want to do was move, not even to go to the bathroom, let alone put on clothes and venture outdoors. My eyeballs, ears, and throat weren’t spared either, so I rarely if ever, talked on the phone, turned on the tv, or lights. But a warm body wrapped around my aching bones, kissing my sore skin and whispering sweet nothings was always welcomed. Plus, because we’re on totally different schedules, a lot of our time spent together was when one of us was already in bed. It’s hard to match off days and times.
     I’ve had some significant others that didn’t seem to mind; they’d lay with me til the sun went down (I’d usually begin to come back to life by then, cuz, you know, being a vampire and all.) I’ve also dated people who had trouble dealing with it. They couldn’t lay around in bed all day, or would wake me up to eat, watch a movie, or want to get out and go somewhere. They took offense that I didn’t feel like talking or took it as me not wanting to be around them. They never quite got it, which means they never quite got me.

You have to have lots of trust and understanding
     Like most L-DR, you have to have total trust and understanding for a relationship with a bartender to work. Already the tight schedule makes spending an abundance of time together unlikely. Add to the mix that you know bartenders come in contact with A LOT of people, it’s easy to become suspicious or jealous. Sort of that “When the cat’s away, the mouse will play” mentality, bartender’s are often thought of as promiscuous partiers. While that may be true for some, the majority aren’t. It’s still a job.
     Similar to the way a plastic surgeon doesn’t get excited by every set of boobs he sees, bartenders barely notice customers the way you’d think. Even when it looks like they’re flirting, the truth is people don’t tip unfriendly bartenders. But when a bartender has someone great and trusting to call our own, we’re actually quite faithful. Just like with a long distance relationship, to date a bartender, you have to trust that out-of-sight doesn’t mean out-of-mind.

-Vacations will be on weekdays
     I’ve taken a few nice weekday getaways. While most jobs give paid vacation days, or keep the usual M-F work days, as a bartender, if I take a weekend off, I’m losing money. You can forget about that weekend trip to Chicago or 5-day cruise. But a 2-day trip on a Monday-Wednesday is always ideal. The perks: it costs less to travel on weekdays, and there will be less people when you get there so nothing will be crowded.

My point is it takes a special kinda person to be in a long-distance relationship, or to date a bartender. Not everyone is cut out for that lifestyle. But both can be exhilarating and worthwhile with the right attitude, trust, and an open mind.