Dear Em and Lo,
OK, here’s a complicated question, but I’m not fond of roadside psychics, so you guys are my best bet. I’ve been carrying on a flirtation with a local bartender for about a month now. The other night, the flirtation led to drinks at a neighboring bar, and lots of insightful discussion. He’s a very cool dude. This then led to lots of making out, and spending the night at his place. I have a horrible history with guys. Loads of one nighters that never end up going anywhere. How do I keep from screwing this one up, or have I already done that?
— Seriously Misguided
There are two issues at stake here: one, he’s a bartender. And two, you went home with him on your first semi-date. We’re no roadside psychics, but we’d guess that the former way outranks the latter in terms of predicting the future of this relationship. All bartenders — even the warty, gnome-like ones — benefit from what we like to call “bartender boost”: the illusion that someone is taller, smarter, hotter, and funnier (basically, a much cooler dude) than they would be if they were taking your order at the drive-thru or checking out your books at the library. Which means that your very-cool-dude bartender gets hit on constantly. And chances are, at the end of every shift, there’s a googly-eyed patron just like you hanging around hoping for a bit of “insightful discussion” with him.
We’re not saying that bartenders are chronically incapable of holding down a full-time relationship. Okay, we are saying that bartenders are chronically incapable of holding down a full-time relationship. Just think of his hours, for one: not exactly conducive to dinner-and-a-movie dates. Have you considered taking him on as a booty call instead? The hours are perfect for this type of arrangement: He gets off just when you’re ready to, well, get off. And unlike everyone else at closing time, he’ll actually be sober enough to get it up! (Assuming he’s at least marginally professional in his work.) And think of the fringe benefits: free drinks, flirtation on tap, free drinks…
But if you insist on throwing caution — not to mention our wise words — to the wind and still want to pursue a relationship with him…well, we don’t think you’ve necessarily screwed things up. We know plenty of happily married couples who met at a bar, got drunk, and went home together for some hot monkey lovin’ without even finding out each other’s last names first. Unfortunately, we also know plenty of double-standard dudes who assume that someone isn’t “girlfriend material” if she “puts out” before so much as a dinner date. If your bartender is one of those dudes, then you’ve already “screwed things up” so you may as well start moving on now. Thanks for playing!
But hey, maybe he’s not. And maybe he’s just bartending to pay his way through med school and usually goes straight home immediately after every shift to pore over his anatomy textbook…until he met you! And maybe what he really wants is to find someone to be the Diane to his Sam. There’s gotta be one bartender like that out there somewhere, right? Maybe? Hey, try finding a roadside psychic who’d give you a sunnier “maybe” than that!
For future reference, we know this much is true: if a guy is just not that into a serious relationship with you, if he’s only in it for the booty, then you could hold out until the season finale of Lost starts to make sense and he’s still going to dump you the moment he gets into your pants. At least with your plan, you weed out the dead-enders early on.
— Em & Lo