As we mature, the relationship matures with us

Channeling my inner Marshall Erikson here

today’s beverage: New Belgium Black Berry Black Tea Sour…a delicious beer with a real bitch of a name. Try ordering one of those when you’re already a few drinks in. People are gonna think you’re having a stroke.

*Disclaimer: that was what I was drinking when I wrote this. I admittedly have been sitting on this post for a few days to get it juuuuuust right.

I’ve lived in the same neighborhood for 5 years. Five whole years. To me, that’s a lot. I feel like I’ve grown up a lot since moving to Rochester, and leaving Park Ave when we find a house is going to be bittersweet. One the one hand, more space means more dogs, but I will miss walking to all the bars and restaurants.

But in my typical fashion, this thought has me reminiscing.

I love this neighborhood for many reasons. It’s safe, it is full of people my own age, it’s walkable, and there are tons of places to eat and drink. I feel like I’ve enjoyed them all over the years. But it’s funny. There are bars I loved when I moved here that I wouldn’t be caught dead in, and there are other bars that have grown on me.

I bet I’m not the only one, but I feel like I can track the evolution of my bar patronage in phases. Some of these phases overlap, and there has definitely been some backtracking, but it’s fun to look at it all and think, “man I was dumb.

Phase 1: Coming of Age

Call me lame, but I never had a fake ID. I snuck into one bar once when I was 20, and the bouncer promptly picked me up and removed me to the sidewalk. It was fine; I met a Golden Retriever. Gotta love small town colleges. Luckily for me, I had my whole senior year to enjoy the bars of Geneseo: the darkness of Kelly’s, the sweaty walls of the IB (RIP), and dirty water races at the Idle (no wonder most people got mono in college).

I turned 21 in Chicago. Well technically, I turned 21 on a train somewhere between Rochester and Chicago because I couldn’t afford the flight to my research conference. My first legal drink was purchased by my professor because I’m really cool.

Phase 1b: Dumb Adventures – finally old enough to drink, but with the common sense of a doorknob

Your early twenties. You’re finally done with school, but no one will hire you. All you have is free time, a credit card, and a minimal understanding of credit scores and interest rates. So you travel. Now, I don’t really like touristy bars. That makes me sound like a snob, but I don’t really want to pay $15 for a Bud Light. I also just really love a good dive bar.

To go back to my Chicago trip, all research students got beer tickets for the bar next to the hotel. So while I don’t like these bars, I’m not one to turn down a drink ticket. That’s how my lab (not the dog kind) and I found ourselves sitting at some Irish bar near Navy Pier. I don’t know why the birthday girl doesn’t get to pick her own drinks, but nevertheless an unwanted shot was sent my way. I figure, ok I can set this behind me on the bar and no one will be the wiser. False. Want to know who was the wiser? The gentleman I ended up dumping it on (not drunk, just uncoordinated). But while most men would be upset about being covered in a lemon drop, he ended up being our tour guide for the rest of the weekend. He took us to a ton of bars, resulting in me wandering out Chicago my last day with a sleeve of saltine crackers while I waited for my train. So it worked out.

And for the next few years, that was the theme of me and my friends’ bar adventures…”so it worked out.”

We learned that if you go on vacation and just head a few streets over from the main strip, you can find a dingy bar where the patrons have parrots and you’re the only ones under the age of 50. You’re also the only ones who don’t look like you’ve fallen on “hard times.” And it’s the best bar you’ve ever been to! That being said, if you do opt for the popular bars, you might also get invited to a company Christmas party with an open bar, even though none of you actually work for said company.

Sometimes, you have to venture off the beaten path, or you’ll never get free tickets to a DMX concert from strippers on the sidewalk.

We did not go; we aren’t that dumb.

But eventually, you find a job, move away from home, and settle in to phase 2, with a few backslides into phase 1

Phase 2: Bro Bars

We all know our town’s bro bars. *cough* East & Alex *cough* We all go to them, even though deep down we hate them. They’re crowded. They’re loud. Somebody will steal your umbrella (ok, you may have given it to them). They’re full of bros. But like all phases of life, there are lessons to be learned here.

For one, only let your nice friends order drinks. If you want a drink the second the urge pops into your mind, stay home and pull up a chair next to the refrigerator. Otherwise, prepare to wait. You wouldn’t think this needs to be explained, but it does. For the record, just because you think it took too long for the bartender to take a drink order for you and your six friends, you do not get to write “fuck you” as the tip. On the other hand, if you witness this action and leave an extra large tip and an apology on behalf of that asshole, you will get excellent service for the rest of the night.

Next lesson: This is not the bar to meet the love of your life. While I write my way through this, remember that this is written from the perspective of a heterosexual cis-gender woman. Alter the pronouns as you see fit.

Anyway, bro bars are not for finding love, they’re for finding love if you know what I mean. To be very clear, there is no judgment from me if you want to bring home a guy you meet in a bar and then never speak to him again. Been there, done that. (I’d say sorry mom, but she already knows all of these things.)

Bro bars are where you perfect your lying game. It’s the perfect environment for creating a new you. Now I’m usually pretty reasonable about this. I’m not trying to occupy someone’s whole evening if I want nothing to do with them. But, if I hear you ranking me and my friends by appearance, an evil plan will be masterminded. Hey guy, you think I’m flattered that you pick me? Nope, but you better believe that I am going to pretend I didn’t hear you and your idiot friends, and I am going to waste. your. time. I will spend the rest of the night creating the most elaborate backstory you’ve ever heard. You’ll laugh, you’ll weep, you’ll fall in love. And then you’ll go home alone. And how will you know it was all an elaborate ruse? Because when you look at the phone number I wrote down, you’ll see that it is about 25 numbers long.

All this hustle and bustle gets exhausting, so you move up to phase 3. This is usually followed by an urge to become a hermit and never speak to another human ever again. But you just gotta keep chugging along…sometimes literally. Getting through this phase takes liquid courage.

Without further ado…..

Phase 3: dating apps

Hi! Millennial here. I’m no stranger to the dating apps. I met my boyfriend of 3 years on Bumble. But let me tell you, you get stung. A LOT.

I just can’t turn down a good pun!

And if you aren’t beaten down enough by Bumble, there’s Tinder.

There are three tiers of “success” when it comes to dating apps. You can knock it out of the park and find love, you can hit a double and go on a few dates with someone before turning it into a great friendship, or you can get hit with the pitch.

Pro tip: Do not use “your bar” for dates. Don’t ruin the bar!

Another pro tip: Know your exit strategy ahead of time. For me, it was having a new puppy. Nothing ends a date faster than ducking out of a hug and insisting that you have to leave so your dog can take a shit.

Unintended consequence of getting a dog? If you set up a date in the first few days you have said puppy, a friend will likely remind you as you’re sitting outside a bar, enjoying a beer, and basking in the accolades of strangers wanting to meet your new dog, that you were supposed to be on said date an hour ago.

Fun fact, you can apparently stand up a guy once and it’s not a deal breaker. But if you accidentally do it a second time, now you’ve fouled out.

But sometimes, if you’re lucky, one of those dates works out and then you can go back to all your favorite bars, significant other in tow, without a care in the world, thus graduating to phase 4

Phase 4: “your bars

Hello local breweries and quiet bars, my name is Brigid and I’m here to stay. You say you have a new Triple IPA? Well poor me a glass, toss me a bowl of peanuts, and keep that tab open. Maybe schedule me for an Uber in two hours.

Call me old and boring, but when I hang out with my friends, I like to hear what they’re saying. These darn youths and their music! I don’t want to leave a bar feeling like my hearing was damaged.

In my mind, this is me finally becoming a real adult! Go me!

End of the list right? Wrong! Because do you want to know what phase can overlap all others??

WORKING IN A RESTAURANT

For a brief period of time, I was a hostess at pub with a friend from high school and some other great people. Only problem is that when it came to going out after a shift we were absolute fuckin degenerates.

There’s not much to say here except that I had a blast, we were horrible influences on each other, and I’m shocked sometimes that I’m still alive.

I feel like most people who work in a restaurant can relate. The hours are weird, you never have to be up early, you’re already downtown, and you’re flush with cash and the memories of customers being wrong. It’s anarchy.

Ok everyone, so now we’ve come to the part where I figure out how to tie this in to the quarter life crisis and side hustle theme….

Gather round…

I got this. It is likely that the reason I need a side hustle now is because I spent my younger years in bars and subsequently spending too much money on pizza and ubers.

NAILED IT

So until next time….I guess I need a closing catchphrase, but that’s a hurdle for another beer.

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