The Barfriend

Barfriend /bahr frend/ n.

1. a person you meet at the bar in the hopes that you two may one day live happily ever after, but only end up sleeping with a couple times before you realize he/she is a total drunk and/or has nothing more to offer you than where all the best happy hours are. 

2. a person you have met at the bar who you think is attractive because you’re drunk and rarely see outside of the bar unless it is at 2 a.m. in his/her bedroom.

(I should begin this post by saying, I have both had and been a barfriend. Do not be ashamed, but at the same time do not expect any white picket fences to be surrounding your fleeting/far too drawn out “relationship.” Anyway…)

Last night as I picked up my brother at the end of his work shift and we made the long drive back to my crib, he asked me about a previous night I had gone out to the bar with some girlfriends. It was fun, I said, and then recapped some of the ridiculous things said and done, all before adding that I probably wouldn’t have gone had it not been for the fact that a few of those said girlfriends were up visiting from a different state. I ended my description of the evening with “… and no one found a boyfriend.”

We laughed and my brother responded sarcastically “what are you talking about, Becki? The bar is the best place to find a dude. He’s going to come in and sweep them right off their feet, out of the bar in a puddle of puke.” (Oh, the romance!)

Since I began going to the bar, I’ve always heard don’t look for a man in a bar, although at this point in my life I cannot recall who said this to me. Maybe my mom? Maybe Cosmo magazine? Maybe one of my friends sitting next to me in a bar stool? Maybe everyone? Regardless, this is something that we, as people who want to cuddle, hear over and over. This is also something that we, as people who are just plain lazy, never really listen to, and I realized I could not think of one relationship I had been in that successfully started in a bar. Oh, I’ve met men there, but every single one of those romances eventually fizzled out like a faulty firework, having only left me with a lifeless, boomless, stick that I eventually just tossed to the side and forgot about, and so, I began to call them, the barfriend.

When I got home last evening, I played around on the internet and tried to find some statistic that could prove once and for all that going to the bar to find a guy (or girl) was about as effective as sitting outside their house with binoculars… and I found it:

“Only 2% of men find relationships from a barstool. This number only goes up to 9% for women.”

Is this surprising? Hardly.

First, drunk people are not smart. Think back over your years of drinking and think of one positive life changing decision you made while under the influence. Chances are, you may think of a variety of good times, but all will be backed by the fact someone said or did something ridiculous. This is the same for meeting people you want to stroll down the beach and stargaze with while whispering sweet nothings into each other’s ear. I have never woke up from a sober night and been like oh muh god, why did I DO that?! But I have drunk, many times, and it usually starts out with the dude I’m laying next to answering his cell phone saying something to the effect of “good morning sunshine! I’m sorry I didn’t call you last night. I just had such a good time with the boys…” He’s not referencing me as sunshine and by boys he means Jack Daniels and Becki Trudell. This is never a good start to a day. Well, almost never…

Second, I’m going to go out on a whim here and say that most people that you see repeatedly at a bar every night are eventually going to do one of two things: 1) become an alcoholic or 2) stop going to the bar every night. Hopefully, you would find the latter, but beware. Once you and your barfriend stop going out all the time, you’re going to have to find other things to do. You know, like common interests. Maybe some talking. This is something that has happened in most of my relationships, an awakening, if you will; one day I realize as he’s telling me about this and that, ‘my god, we have nothing to talk about and, quite frankly, he’s a bore.’ Sometimes, this part can take years to realize; the part where you start weighing out your relationship in pros and cons, a clear indicator that you’re probably done anyway. (Pros: We watch Ancient Aliens together and make fun of it. He has a car. He can run really fast if ever I need to be saved quickly. We both like to drink alcohol. It’s comfortable, convenient, worn in, etc. Cons: All of our CD’s are mixed together in alphabetical order, which would be a bitch to separate. We have nothing to talk about. He doesn’t know this, but I don’t even like him. He writes boring text messages. I think about lampshades when we do it. He gets way too excited about b-b-q-ing. I don’t even remember what color his eyes are.)  Cue the probable exit leading you back to the bar against all advice given to you…

And third, what a boring story it would make. Imagine, gathering your grandchildren around you in a circle, and telling the tale of how you and their grandpa met. “Well, it all started while I was hammered and grinding him on the center of the dance floor…”  Most women are obsessed with romance. It’s a curse of ours. I can tell this when someone tells me the story of how they got engaged or how they met the man of their living dreams, that they generally enhance it… especially when it is started in a bar. Why?

Because there is this misconception that men are romantic. They’re not. Myth busted.

This is even more misguided when you meet a barfriend. As women, there is a whole market geared towards our desire to be swept off of our feet: books, movies, magazines, websites, ice cream companies. Disney convinced me at a young age that all men had a horse and were dying to save me from danger. I remember after I watched The Notebook for the first time I was convinced that some man was going to be so passionately overcome with love for me that he was going to climb ferris wheels and rebuild houses for me and we were going to fight, but it would be okay because it would be ‘romantic’ fighting, all while having a hot, wealthy gentleman on the back burner if need be. This kind of a story is not going to happen in a bar, and while some of you may be sitting back thinking so what, to me this is important. Mainly because I’m either going to blog about it or write a book about it. (Plus, I can’t wait to tell my grandchildren dirty, romantic stories…)

Really, it is not impossible to find love cozied up to a bar. That is not what I’m trying to get at here. I’m sure there are a variety of  love stories that all started with a shot and a one night stand. However, they’re not the kind you write books about, and chances are, they’re not the kind that last for all eternity. Instead of ending happily ever after, it’s more likely to end and then he got trashed one night, totaled his car, and banged my sister. Although a story worth telling, it is not the romantic ending you dream of at night.

So the next time you’re feeling extra lonely, because the last barfriend told you that you got the “wrong impression”- even though he was making out with you in a closet- cut your losses, be creative and go somewhere else (like Dick’s Sporting Goods), and tell yourself “my mom, Cosmo, everyone else, and Becki Trudell told me so…”

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