Thursday, October 11, 2012

True Life: I think I Dislike Happy Hours

I know, I know, this goes against everything you understand about my deep-set love and affection for alcohol and camaraderie. Hear me out, okay?

So RG asked me to go to happy hour at this bar he likes that is walking distance from both my job and my house tonight. I said sure, because I hadn't seen him in almost three weeks and wanted a chance to catch up, and besides, he's always *RAVING* about this bar. I got there first and he wasn't as late as he usually is, which was nice [Really, RG, I give you two freebies whenever we hang out--it's just that you always use your first one by being late :P]. I couldn't see their happy hour specials posted anywhere, so I decided to just sit, pretend to be interested in my phone, and wait until he got there.

Strike one: my amaretto sour was EIGHT DOLLARS. But I love amaretto, and so I let it slide and said I'd get a beer next to balance my happy hour budget. I then got a crappy Corona and it was an unheard of SEVEN dollars. I am never going back to this bar. But that's not what this post is about. Trying to have semi-serious conversations over thumping hip-hop doesn't jive well with me either, but again, this post is not about this bar specifically, and I suppose happy hour is not designed for semi-serious conversations with good friends. Fair. 

At the particular bar we were at tonight, I was, for one of very few times in my life, on the tiny side of a seriously skewed gender imbalance. At one point there were seriously five women and over twenty men in the room. RG kept commenting on this, asking if I saw anything I liked, saying I could have my pick. I kept brushing these comments off, until he tried to challenge me to get one of them to buy me a drink. I flat-out refused, and he seemed puzzled by how adamant I was. 

I...can't fuck with the superficiality of bar scenes, this one in particular or bars in general. Unless I want meaningless sex with someone I couldn't contact again if I wanted to, which is exceedingly rare but not impossible, then I have literally no interest in like, interacting with strangers on the premise of wanting them to give me things for no real reason but the possibility of getting my number and seeing me again, which they can only decide if they even want to do based on my looks and the brief conversation I suppose we'd have to have in order for him (or her, though that didn't seem likely in this bar) to decide to buy me a drink. That's actually one of the most undesirable forms of supposedly-pleasurable social interaction I can imagine--it brings to mind how I imagine putting an evening with me up for bidding at a charity auction would feel. Step up, step right up and place your bid! For the not-low-at-all price of an eight-dollar amaretto sour, you too can have a chance encounter with this woman, whom you know absolutely nothing about! #donotwant

Now, I'm not saying it's impossible to meet someone at a bar and develop some sort of legitimate interest. For instance, if that guy I met at the bar at The Howard had asked for my number, I would have given it to him. If he'd asked me out, I would have gone. Because we had an hour-long conversation that wound through all sorts of subjects and involved him showing me pictures of his family--we developed an understanding of who one another was. But that's the kind of thing that can happen when you meet at a bar at a concert you both came alone to--you already have two things in common: musical tastes and a dislike for the social constructs that say that going to concerts alone is a faux pas. At the bar we were at tonight, what was I supposed to do, scan the crowd to find a face I found aesthetically pleasing, walk over and start talking to him based on nothing, and hope he found me attractive or interesting enough in this briefest of encounters to...reward me with a drink? I'd rather not. There is literally nothing substantive involved in that kind of interaction, and I don't understand why it is supposed to appeal to me. 

A club is slightly better, because then I'm not supposed to talk and I can just dance by myself and maybe someone will start dancing with me and maybe I'll let them and maybe not and it's not a big deal. I feel simultaneously like this is less of a meat market and like I'm more comfortable because we stopped pretending it's not a meat market. There aren't awkward introductions or performance-feeling conversations when a guy whose face I probably haven't even seen comes up behind me and starts grinding his junk on my ass (culture is so weird). And grinding is infinitely more pleasurable/fun to me than dancing alone. But even so, when I go out, dancing with randos is not ever on my list of goals for the night. My list of goals for the night always consists of three things: have fun with my friends, don't lose anything important, and get home in one piece. 

So I'm in a weird place right now. I like going out with my friends. I still like drinking just as much as I did a few months ago, and I like partying with people I feel comfortable with. I don't like being thrust into social spaces where it is assumed that I will want to talk to/flirt with people I know nothing about and be "gifted" things from them for unclear reasons. For this reason, I was probably way more comfortable in the random neighborhood bar near my house where I was the only Black person in sight than I was at this upscale Black bar RG and I went to tonight. I like places that are chill and for drinking and talking, not for putting on appearances and flirting and playing peacock. If I don't know you and have literally no premise for an inkling of desire to get to know you (an attractive face does not premise make), I don't want you to do anything for/to me, kthnxbai.

...This post could appropriately be called True Life: I Miss Quad. 

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