Post

The Bar Scene

Over in the corner of the bar, I sat, as a spectator. It had been a long day. I had worked a double from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. when the kitchen was closed. Usually I would have worked until closing at midnight, but this was my second double in a row and I was quite exhausted. So, when the offer was made for me to clock out, I was happy to do so.  A few customers had bought me some drinks for when I got off of work, so figured I would stay and relax a bit before going home.

As I sat, drinking my beer, playing the video poker machine, I listened to the nearby conversations. A short distance away, I could hear Ken’s voice. Ken is a very attractive man that is until he opens his mouth to speak. I often hear people refer to women as plastic. Ken is the male version of that. He’s an airplane mechanic and makes six figures. I know this because I have heard him repeat this to countless women. His wife is dead and after speaking to every women he meets for a while, he makes sure to tell her. Sometimes she has died in a car crash, sometimes its cancer, but on this night he says that she had been murdered by a stalker. Of course, by the sound of the woman’s voice, I could hear that she was falling for it unfortunately like many women I have seen before her. The woman is so intrigued that she does not realize that he has not even asked one thing about her. He hasn’t, not because he is self-absorbed, it’s because he does not want to know anything about her. I know of course, he will go to her place, because he is a single father.  Then like the women before her, she’ll come in every night for at least a week hoping to run into him. The story she’ll tell me will be like all the women before her. I’ll get to hear about the great sex, how he had to rush off afterwards to get home to his kids, and how he got her number and not vice versa.

One would think he is married, but it is not so. He is a single father, but by the look in his eyes when he speaks of his wife, in reality, I think she abandoned him and the children. In the past, when I have spoken with him, behind his fake confidence, is the odor of fear. The sad thing is, he does this to women, because he does not want to get attached. He is afraid. So, he manipulates them into bed and then disappears.  

Behind me I could hear Wes and Kevin playing pool. Now there’s a match. Not a gay union of course, because they are both straight men. They are a match in the fact that they are both victims of self-pity. Wes was married for 20 years and his wife left him two years ago. The more he drinks, the more he cries about it. Kevin is a nice guy, but he falls in love with every woman he is with within the first month and scares her away. He was married for 15 years and his wife left him for someone else. I know his nature, because I dated him. Of course he came in for a few months to stare at me and look depressed in hopes to make others resent me for calling it off and give him pity. Both of them had wives that left them, but are always searching for someone to love them back. The reality is that if either of these men were go find the female version of their emotional selves, they most likely would not want them.

So, as I sit, I contemplate. Here I have three men, all of which have been abandoned by their wives. One manipulates women into bed and then runs away to avoid getting hurt. The other two are always searching for a replacement and fall in love with every woman that they take to bed.  I can’t help but wonder why they reacted so differently to their circumstances. Maybe it’s because the other two did something wrong to cause them to leave, so there’s some guilt involved and the other possibly left out of selfishness. Maybe the degrees of hurt and guilt had a part in their reactions.

Sitting in the corner as a spectator is a common occurrence with me when I’m in a crowd of people. Different scenarios of this are what go on in my head quite often. I have a tendency of listening to the conversations people are having and evaluating the reasoning of their words and actions. I dissect people’s words, hand movements, tone of voice, and their eyes when they speak. In this scenario, I was only listening while playing a game. I have always been somewhat of a loner and have done this since I was a child.

deleted deleted 26-30 34 Responses Jun 30, 2011

Your Response

Cancel

Wise tactics.Upon being given the chance,I intend to take up people-watching.

I loved reading this story. You gave us so much to think about and to relate too.

Interesting tale. You seem to be quite observant, and you certainly have a way with words. Glad I found this one. Very interesting, indeed.

i live ...take that back i work at present in Portugal. <br />
<br />
after reading your story I found myself in a fast food place recently. <br />
<br />
and i noted the behaviours of the people there. over half were looking at the cell phones ....not conversing with anyone at all. and the other half were alone...no conversation. i wondered who might be lonely, how often they ate at lunch time by themselves, how many real friends that had who they could trust. <br />
<br />
it was an insightful experiment. thatn you affinity for your insights. <br />
<br />
C

Wow, I could stay up the whole night, just listening to your observations, describing each characters. Awesome sharing. thanks.

A great study in people. Could almost hear the balls clicking on the pool table.

sort of like watching a train wreck and not being able to stop it.

and the Piano roars like a carnival...<br />
Quite the game you play, 'Observe and Absorb'<br />
I like that game too...and play all to frequent in my opinion.<br />
It's sad that these fellas have this as their primary means of socially connecting with others. The worst part about it, is that they don't get it...while being stuck on repeat to boot.<br />
Ken, Kevin and Wes need to be encouraged to engage in alternative means of socialization. It would be for their better good.

This is great to read! Being a bartender I see similar things when I am tending and during lulls. You get to know the clientel and what drives them or what put them in the situation they are currently in. Thanks for sharing this as you painted an excellent visual story for all of us.

very good story I used to love to set in the corner at bars and people watch

I to have always been a bit of a loner who enjoys his own company,but your right how much info you can gather by watching and listening,I can understand some of what the first guy did as I lost my first wife to cancer and was hurting so got dates with girls and as soon as I got them into bed,the end.my councillor years later said it was a "REVENGE" thing as I'd been hurt by a women then I was out to hurt others,I did then go on to have other serious relationships!

Hi Affinityterra<br />
Pleased you liked my remarks. That means much to me. I guess the bottom line one does what one can. Whatever that is. Give my best to you and your family.

Thanks, interesting observations. I do a similar thing at parties where I don't know many people. Grab a drink and stand in a quiet corner and observe. I find smalltalk boring and would rather have a quiet meal or drink with a couple or 4 friends and a deeper conversation. The party smalltalk covers many human weaknesses. I find it sad that we get to adulthood with its responsibilities without a full set of tools to deal with disappointment, loss, grief etc. As a consequence, if all we ever learned from parents was manipulation, then that's how we try to deal with the world.

you are so observant continue to be a good listener.

Cool story. Why not ask the airplane mechanic about his wife. Sounds to me like you are right about him - that he is full of sh*t.

Yeah, you really a good writer... the things we know or learn about people when we just wait and see them unravel- I'm glad you haven't been quick to judge like others.

You would make a good bartender.............Cheers!!

You should become a writer......Cheers!

I found you to be wonderfully perceptive, your observations of the people at the bar. Your writing is filled with telling perceptions of the customers, especially those three men at the place where you work. My impression is you possess a fine eye for detail and nuances of character, behavior. Its as if you with some professional training , education could go into the psychology, mental health field. I think you would make a terrific writer with your eye for detail, motivation, raw human emotions. Did you ever think of going into professional short story or novel writing?<br />
<br />
The bar scene bought back memories of my father being the leader of a local bar band in Elmer's Bar in Summer's Point NJ. The name of the band was Dave Appell and the Appelljacks. I first stepped foot in a bar when I was six years old. No, in case you were wondering I didn't get served and I couldn't sit on a barstool. Neither could my sister Roslyn who was a year older. Roz and I did perform , ie sang , probably terribly on stage. At least we were cute. lol

I found you to be wonderfully perceptive, your observations of the people at the bar. Your writing is filled with telling perceptions of the customers, especially those three men at the place where you work. My impression is you possess a fine eye for detail and nuances of character, behavior. Its as if you with some professional training , education could go into the psychology, mental health field. I think you would make a terrific writer with your eye for detail, motivation, raw human emotions. Did you ever think of going into professional short story or novel writing?<br />
<br />
The bar scene bought back memories of my father being the leader of a local bar band in Elmer's Bar in Summer's Point NJ. The name of the band was Dave Appell and the Appelljacks. I first stepped foot in a bar when I was six years old. No, in case you were wondering I didn't get served and I couldn't sit on a barstool. Neither could my sister Roslyn who was a year older. Roz and I did perform , ie sang , probably terribly on stage. At least we were cute. lol.

Ha ha, I really like the story. If I was at Barnes & Noble after reading that entry I would promptly buy the book.<br />
<br />
As for the subject matter, being a dude I have sometimes found myself in the shoes of the 3 men described (minus being married and getting divorced). Relationships are tough and it can easily scar a person in ways where it messes with their personality. And its the type of scars a dude would never be proud of admitting. I guess "The Bar" is their way of trying to "council" themselves but perhaps if they sat and just observed they could put things into perspective and move in a different direction.<br />
<br />
All in all, I believe your story highlights a certain moral value. That is, all three men have shown an avenger type personality which has invariably changed the way they interact with women. The problem is that their emotions or lack of it are directed to people who have nothing to do with their original circumstance and so they fall into a stereotype because of their own actions...or something like that.<br />
<br />
Awesome story!

Almost a psychological thriller. That man sounds like a little child living in a prescribed scene, playing out his fear over and fear and won't snap out of it. Very pathetic.....:(

I love it! <br />
As a kid, I used to visit the nearby "Moose lodge" a social gathering spot. OK it was a freaking bar where families were allowed in, because it was a private club. ( i was about 10 at the time) They had TV's and a kids game room...But I loved to sit near the bar and listen to the stories. Some were sad, some were out and out lies. This bar had it's Ken. Good looking man, seemed out of place, Always talking about how much money he made. Always surrounded by 50'ish woman who were bored. This Ken, let's call him JR. Jr also had his tragic tale of his wife dying in a car accident, and he was had to raise two little girls on his own. He got lots of sympathy sex and femalecompany every night. Then one Saturday we were there for a pool tournament. Jr was there with his two girls, sweet little ladies, Well around 1pm, a woman comes in, very attractive, but mad as hell. It is Jr's dead wife(lol) . The girls were late for there dance class. Jr never did come back! LMAO!

I really enjoyed reading this. Very observent. I hope you will think of writing books at some point. I beleive the talent is there.

wow, your words sound so wise and accurate, i find myself identified with you in the fact that you have been doing that since kid, i really enjoy reading your bit of story and please continue posting

You were hanging around in a bar because you WORK in a bar, but most people are hanging around in a bar because they are hunting, or because they are alcoholics, or because they simply don't know there are other ways to socialize. My parents were in the latter two categories. So, growing up, just about the only adults I ever encountered were drunks. I had the idea that maturity is measured by one's capacity to "hold one's liquor". I felt hopelessly inadaquate because I couldn't, and had no desire to. It wasn't until I got old enough to leave home that I discovered there is a whole world out here of non-drinkers who don't go to bars all the time. Interesting people. Intelligent people. Experienced people. Likeable people. Wonderful people. And sometimes not so wonderful people. A whole kaleidoscope of human personality and behavior. Please keep up the people watching, but don't confine it to bars. And keep writing about it. You are a wonderful writer. I think there are whole books in you, just waiting to be written.

Dear aff: Stop with the "bar scene", already. I'm old enough to tell you that the only persons you'll find in a bar are sexual predators, phony, plactic, B.S. artists (and I'm not talking about a college degree).<br />
"Barflys" are what you do NOT wnat, in a relationship. Believe me. I've been around the block, several times. I'm a guy --- and I know EXACTLY what they're looking for. AND YOU DON'T WANT IT.<br />
Loving relationships in life come along, as in a mystery. They happen when you didn't expect it.<br />
And --- they WON'T happen in a bar. I can't tell you how many "relationships" I've seen failed because each found the other in a "bar".<br />
Stop, already. When the right person comes along in your life --- you'll know it. And it won't happen in a bar. It may well happen in a social environment ---- Church --- an introduction, etc., etc.<br />
IF I know nothing else in this life --- I can promise you that it won't happen with a "bar fly".<br />
Best regards: JIM.

Sorry jim3130, it's not that I disliked your answer because you do sound like a real caring guy and you are absolutely right. However, the writer is not hanging in bars looking for a relationship, she's an employee. And given what she see's and hears, day in, day out, I think that is probably the last place she would look. I think your reaction to what you thought she was there for is very touching. Too bad there are more guys who feel that way. I bet you don't hang out at bars and good for you. My husband &amp; I don't see the draw of them but to each their own.

Thank you for correcting my reply. It appears as though I "missed" the imeptus and verbage of the post. I stand corrected.

If I'm not mistaken, there are women who hang out in bars to pick up guys, too. No? The guys wouldn't go there if the women weren't there, and vice versa. According to the original post, this Ken guy was fairly successful picking up women this way, so the women must have been there for something other than just to get a drink. I don't go to bars, so this doesn't affect me one way or the other, but the comment "Too bad there are[n't] more guys who feel that way." made me pause. It's not exactly a fair statement, since, to borrow a cliche, "it takes two to tango."

Thank you, pookiem: I meant no disrect to the author of this post. I think I mis-read it. I never realized that the author was an "employee" --- not a "bar-fly". My error, for which I apologize to both you and the author of this post. I need to read more carefully.
Regards: Jim

My answer SHOULD be disliked because I didn't take the time to read the entire missive. I never realized that she is not a "patron", but an employee. As an emplyee, she has certainly seen all sides of life. My apologies to the author of this post.

You're right ---- I misunderstood her missive. However, even as an employee --- she should be on guard about guys "hitting" on her. I've been there, seen this and done that. And from a guy's perspective --- should has to be careful.
Regards.

3 More Responses

Fantastic story. I think it is amazing how people behave and react differently to similar situations. Like yourself, I find myself observing often. I sometimes feel like I am prying into lives that I shouldn't, and I sometimes wish I hadn't heard what I did.<br />
<br />
People are fascinating. If I could get away with people watching all the time, I would totally do it.

Very observant and I enjoyed reading this. I was a bartender for 18 years and you see a lot of the same things like this over and over. The womanizer looking for new prey, the girl who acts drunk because she isn't comfortable being herself, people who wallow in self pity. As an outsider you have the ability to see the big picture. Too bad you can pass it on to those who are clueless. They don't take it so well :)

Great well written story about being a spectator. It sounds like you have been biten by the bug of listening and watching the people around you. Many people enjoy this "hobby" of watching human behavior in action.