nights the bars are packed with wall to wall men and women.
At other times it may just be the bartender and you. In
any case, as part of my back to basics, here are my suggestions
to make the most of it: Smile.
the rare occasion that the bar is being used as a mortuary,
this first bit of advice may be safely ignored. At all
other times, please use the muscles around your lips to
show pleasure and contentment, rather than the less inviting
scowl. You'll find yourself getting farther and having
a better time. Stone-faced posing will get you nowhere
the ice. Just because it's February in Chicago and you'd
rather be in Tahiti is not sufficient reason to stand
there looking completely bored, self-engrossed, and seemingly
lifeless. Greet someone with a friendly hello, leading
question, polite gesture, free drink, or straight-forward
nod. Go ahead. Be first. He or she, after all, is hoping
you'll do just that.
recently said hello to a guy sitting at the bar and the
first thing he said was "I was hoping you'd talk to me."
Be encouraging, friendly, gracious, etc. For example,
as I was walking past two guys, one of them brushed my
ass. I immediately looked at him and told him that he
was causing trouble, since my ass cheeks are very jealous
of each other. He had touched one and not the other. He
politely agreed to rub the neglected body part. I thanked
him with a kiss. We both smiled and I went my way.
a result we both felt good, felt appreciated, and affirmed.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
don't meat. I know that as the night wears on, our hormonal
levels get unbearable and the amount of pheremones in
the air causes significant agitation and strong desires
to score. Resist your biological urges to become a social
rapist. Remember to respect everyone and treat them in
a way that shows you've not made them into sex objects.Rubber
dolls don't cruise bars. If you can't be polite, stay
home with a jac-u-pac and a porno movie.
it safe. Take care with the level of alcohol you consume.
Stay away from those who are intoxicated and make sure
no one can use that reason to stay away from you. I know
that non-alcoholic beverages cost ungodly prices at a
bar, but the truth is that a cola, ginger ale, or glass
of water may be a much better investment than fermented
hops, grapes, or grains.
it safe also means that you don't share viruses, bacteria,
and bugs. I'm a firm believer in hunches. If something
doesn't feel right, then be wise enough to avoid it, even
if the indication to do so is only a slight, easily-brushed
prepared to score. Trim your finger nails, wash your ass
hairs, brush your teeth, and be certain that you have
water-soluble lube and condoms handy. If you're out scouting
for a boy, then be a good boy scout and be ready to do
say "No, thanks." Know when enough is enough or it just
isn't right. You can be gracious, respectful, promiscuous,
adventuresome, inquisitive, experimental, and choosy.
You have every right in the world to say no. If you'd
better not have another drink, be mature enough to say
so, even if it is free. Better to waste a drink than to
offer for something you don't want can be refused, and
should be. It's your life, your body, your conscience,
and your choice. No doesn't have to mean never or not
at all. It can mean "Thanks, but not now," "Let's discuss
it," "Let's negotiate," or "How about an alternative?"
it over. The only thing worse than going home alone (and
that's not a bad option) is to go home with the wrong
person. Define limits, understand expectations, discuss
issues of health, and know something about the person
with whom you're planning on going home or taking home
before you leave the bar.
the negotiations portend an unfortunate barrier to a pleasant
encounter, say so and move on.
The men and women who work at our watering holes by checking
our coats, serving our drinks, and picking up after us
are all there to make a living. They depend on the money
you leave for them. Be generous to them and they'll be
your best friends. After all, they are an extremely important
part of our having a good time.
dangerous vocabulary. The words "must" and "should" reflect
deep prejudice, self-righteousness, pettiness, and superiority.
In reality none of us can say what must or should be,
especially when it comes to someone else's behavior.
from judgment and criticism. Give the other guy a chance.
After all you're not walking in his or her shoes. Likewise,
"they say" more often than not is followed by information
that is incorrect. Unless you know the facts and can document
their origin, keep your mouth shut and your opinions to
mother's advice is simple and important: "If you can't
say anything nice, don't say anything at all."
it legal. There is absolutely no valid reason to endanger
yourself, your friends, the bar owner, his staff, or anyone
else for that matter by the introduction of illegal drugs
or activities. I firmly believe that a great number of
activities that are currently illegal ought to be decriminalized
but until that is the case, don't jeopardize your freedom
and the bar owner's license by doing what the law proscribes.
a corollary to that advice, don't tolerate illegal activity
either. There are a lot of places to be and lots of things
to do without getting yourself in trouble.
cautious not paranoid. Prevention is worth a great deal
more than repair. Leave your wallet home and party with
a limited amount of cash and only the necessary identification.
vast majority of strangers are honest and dependable,
but even the best bars have one or two patrons of dubious
ethical character. When in doubt ask someone who is in
a position to know. In any case, take safe-guards. If
you bring someone home, don't have valuables lying around.
When they're about to leave, escort them to the door.
offers of free drugs. Don't leave your drink un-attended
as you never know when someone might add something to
your beverage. That, by the way, is not a vain warning.
It's been happening in Boystown.
Acknowledge people who acknowledge you. That doesn't mean
you have to say yes or go home with them. It just asks
that you be polite and courteous. Smile back. Answer their
question and then ask them one. Reciprocate. Say thank
only way to make our bars more fun, more inviting, and
more popular is for each of us to do our part, adding
politeness, humor, and grace to the atmosphere. Let's
make sure that when they talk about attitude, it's to
say that "That's a great place to be."
up or take a cab. Be careful of walking the streets alone
late at night. If you do so, avoid groups and walk quickly
and directly. If you've been drinking, hail a cab.
possible cruise with a friend so that you need not walk
home alone. In the bar, it's better to appear to be alone,
so make arrangements for some solo cruise time. When you're
about to leave, make sure your friend has a safe way home
and that you do too. Enough of my platitudes.
1999 by Jack Rinella. This material may not be copied in
any manner. For permission to reproduce this essay, contact
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