Charming, but single

A journal in dates and drinks

People watching

I slid up to the bar, in between some girls with shiny hair flat-ironed within an inch of its life and tans that would have looked fake at best in July and just looked ridiculous in February. “Hey, whatcha doing here?” B asked, as he motioned to a barstool a few seats away, as I had unwittingly interrupted a “Girls Night Out” and was getting a stare down for accidentally taking an absent member’s stool. B tends bar two nights a week at this popular (if slightly cheesy) Mexican restaurant. Other days he manages. He talks a good game about opening his own bar with good beer and heavv-ish bar food, and I wish he would, instead of staying chained to someone else’s bar. “I just saw a movie with Our Friend and she was tired, so she wanted to go home. I wanted a glass of wine, made a few calls and no one wanted to really get out in this torrential downpour,” I said. “But you, you HAVE to be here.” He nodded. “White or red?” “White – do you have anything but Chardonnay?” He rolled his eyes. I ask that all of the time. And the answer is always no and that people come here for large quantities of margaritas and tequila, not wine. “Chardonnay, then,” I sighed, playfully giving him a hard time. “If it is just Chardonnay, I’ll just have the House, I suppose.” He grinned at my slight snobiness as he poured my glass. “Ah, my dear,” he said as he motioned to the bottle of cheap, mass-produced wine. “January 2006, it was a good month.” And he placed the glass before me. *** We chatted a bit while he kept an eye on the Girls Night Out at one end of the bar and a few patrons who were nursing their drinks. Though we have spoken, I don’t think I’ve actually seen him since I had a drink with him and The Other Woman. We work opposite schedules and it is simply impossible for me to go out drinking past 2 a.m. during the week and be peppy, personable and prepared at work at 7:30 a.m. He was called away by the Girls Night Out. He clearly loved the attention and these girls are they type he always thinks is so attractive. Too young, too made up, too “Ohmygawd, like, wow. Awesome.” All eyeliner and lip gloss. He took their picture for them, freshened their drinks and generally enjoyed himself. I sipped my wine and studied myself in the mirror behind the bar. My hair was pulled back in a tight, low chignon at the base of my neck, with my caramel streaks peaking through and my bangs pinned to the side. I need to schedule a color-touch up. Maybe in a few weeks. I’d scrubbed my face clean of the day’s makeup before the movie. I had applied a light dusting of powder on my face and hadn’t seen the need for more concealer or base and only a thin coat of mascara darkened my brown lashes. To complete the look, a swipe of light pink eyeshadow and a light layer of gloss, most of which was probably left on my Diet Coke at the theatre. I hooked my heels on the rungs of my barstool and just watched. B with the Girls Night Out. A group of Country Boys, also too young, who drooled over the Girls as well. B came over to wait in the Country Boys. They talked about the girls, B joked that he had the best seat in the house. And much to my amusement, the Girls left, oblivious to their admirers across the bar. “Aw, where are your girlfriends going?” I asked B teasingly. The Country Boys tried to order shots and B got to show off his knowledge of whiskey and tequilas while they picked one. They clearly were more into quantity than quality. “Um, well, there is always Southern Comfort,” B suggested half-heartedly. “SoCo?” I shuddered. “Yes. It’s a shot they’re pushing. SoCo and lime,” B said. “Ew.” One of the Country Boys interrupted. “You don’t like Southern Comfort?” he asked me. “Seriously, where are you from?” “Uh, HERE.” I said, wondering if my drawl isn’t pronounced enough because I am not from in The Sticks. “Born and raised. And I haven’t had SoCo since we used to hide a bottle at a friend’s house and mix it with Diet Coke before we went out to dances and parties in high school. When I was 18. You know, back when they dinosaurs roamed.” “Hey! It wasn’t THAT long ago,” B protested, because he is a year older than I am. *** I talked with the Barback as he stocked beers and ice bins. “How do you know B?” I leaned back and paused, tracing the edge of my wine glass with my fingertips. “You have to think?” he asked. I laughed. “A mutual friend,” I said. “A mutual friend introduced us.” “That’s typically how it goes.” “I had to think because I’ve known him for so long. You know how when you’ve known someone for five years and you’ve been friends with them and you have to think back as to how you met, because they’ve just been a fixture in this phase of your life?” “Yes, I think I do,” he said. I was working on my second glass of wine. “So, you’re just hanging out?” The Barback asked. “Yeah, my friend didn’t want to have a drink with me after we saw a movie. This is why it’s good to have a Bartender friend on a boring Friday night. Plus, the people watching is amazing.” “Yeah, you’d be surprised how many women come in here and just have a drink alone,” The Barback said. “You see a lot when you watch the people here.” He was right. In the past I’d seen first dates, worst dates, drunk women throwing themselves at men and vice versa. I feel extremely normal and well adjusted when I people watch at bars. “Well, I could have had a glass of wine at home. But why do that when I can come here? The things you see. The people and what they’re wearing and how they’re interacting.” *** I’d finished my second glass of wine. B motioned for me to join him. The place was closing down and he was taking a minute to eat dinner before the bar closed. I sat with him at a table and teased him for shoveling the food in his mouth. “Bar and restaurant food is all I eat now,” he said. “I have no food at my house right now. I am always here.” He finished and we returned to the bar. I tried to talk him into coming out for a drink with me, since he can’t drink at work. As we bantered back and forth, he being too tired and me being not tired enough, a woman and her guyfriends were arguing or conversing loudly at the end of the bar. “She’s in here all of the time,” B said. “She’s nuts.” “Good nuts or bad nuts?” “Just nuts.” They paid for their drinks and took their food to go, gathering packages of chips and boxes of enchiladas and rice. I teased B as he directed The Barback and inspected his work, making sure everything was cleaned, that the margarita machines were refilled and that the beer was restocked. “You can revolt,” I told The Barback. “You shouldn’t listen to him.” “He’s the puppetmaster. He is in charge.” I sat sideways on my stool, and rested my feet on the stool next to me, my knees bent, watching the staff close and the patrons trickle out, conversing some with B as he emptied his tip jars and traded quarters for dollars. “Well who invited you! Who invited you!” Down the bar, Nuts Woman was yelling at her friends. “Who invited you!” “No! Who invited you!” her friend yelled back, and stormed out into the rain. She was still yelling at him. “Bye B, she you later!” Nuts Woman yelled to B, who just waved and laughed, as if it was totally normal for someone to scream and carry on as she left. Apparently, in this woman’s case, it was. “And YOU,” she directed her angry gaze at me. “Bye! AND THANKS FOR THE DIRTY LOOKS! THANKS A LOT!” She stomped out and my eyes got big. I turned to B and The Barback, who were beside themselves with laughter. “Was I giving her a mean look?” I asked. “I wasn’t giving her a mean look at all. I don’t even know her!” B thought it was hysterical. “She just nuts.” “Nuts,” he repeated for emphasis. “And THAT is what you get for people watching,” said The Barback.

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Charming, but single is 25 26 27(!), lives in the Southern part of the U.S.A. and likes both her drinks and her boys tall. E-mail (listed below) her and she may respond. You can also IM her in AIM/AOL. (If she ever remembers to sign on.)
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Former taglines of this blog: "A Journal in Dates and Drinks" and "A Dateless Journal of Drinking."

Those Particulars
Some Backstory
Memories of the Way We Were
Updates and Towel Snapping
One Year Wrap-Up
Just As She Is
An Open Letter to Myself
After 26 years, she HAS learned something
An Open Letter to the Men Who Message Me Through Match
Sharing a smoke

Associated Content Interview with Charming
The Hindu: Blog Sisters are here

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