Men, take the hint at bars
If you've never been to The Big Bang: Dueling Pianos, Tempe's one-and-only dueling piano bar, I highly recommend it. It's one of my favorite bars on Mill. Where else can you get professional live music for the price of a single drink? There was a time where I would go there a few nights a week by myself, just to sit and enjoy the music.
On one such evening I found myself sitting up front, listening contentedly and enjoying my drink, when two very pretty girls walked in and sat down at the table next to me. I didn't think very much of it. It was a fairly busy evening and there were a lot of people in the bar, including a group of guys whose style of dress reminded me distinctly of "Breaking Bad's" Jesse Pinkman.
These ladies didn't make it halfway through their first round before two guys came sauntering over to their table, hats askew and jeans locked firmly around their knees, and proceeded to lay down classy lines such as “hey baby” and “sup gurl?” I had no choice but to eavesdrop, considering they were blocking my view of the stage. The girls laughed awkwardly and dismissed them. They walked back to the bar, seemingly defeated.
But less than five minutes later our intrepid pick-up artists had returned, and this time they just sat down at the table, completely uninvited. At this point my attention was firmly on the scene before me. I watched as these girls shifted uncomfortably in their seats, giving vague answers to questions posed by two boys they had never met before and obviously had no interest in talking to further. After 10 minutes of this, the guys finally gave up and walked back to the bar. One of the girls caught my eye and smiled at me, so I leaned over and asked:
“Does anything like that ever actually work?”
“No,” they each responded in unison, shaking their heads and laughing.
To all male readers: I see this kind of overly-aggressive, disrespectful behavior a lot — and it's time for it to stop.
This is more common than you might realize. I've worked in the restaurant and nightclub industry for almost two years, and I see it again and again: young women out for a fun evening who spend most of their night fending off rabid young males.
Just a month ago, I saw it happen while seating guests in the showroom of the comedy club where I work. I sat two Jesse Pinkman look-a-likes (I think there could be a correlation) next to two very pretty ladies. Less than five minutes later, I came out of the kitchen to see those same guys sitting at the ladies' table — and the ladies practically sitting in the aisle, obviously trying to keep their distance.
I didn't keep tabs on the situation, but I imagine it resulted in the young ladies spending what they had thought would be a fun girls night out suffering as these two jokers worked their “game.”
Did I miss something? Because I'm pretty sure that I was never taught that it's acceptable to invite yourself to sit down at anyone's table, especially if that table belongs to two girls you've never met. It's creepy, gross and rude.
I'm not saying that guys shouldn't talk to girls in bars. Bars are, fundamentally, places to be social and perhaps meet new people. What I am saying is that young men these days need to learn to play the long game.
Consider this: My girlfriend's friend Barbara Usher does what she calls “the five-second flirt” (borrowed, apparently, from a show on Bravo called “The Millionaire Matchmaker”). It's how she met the guy to whom she's now engaged. Essentially, if you lock eyes with a girl for more than five seconds, you should go talk to her. But if you lock eyes with her and she immediately tries to look elsewhere, which I saw the ladies at The Big Bang do multiple times as they were ogled by the men at the bar, then you should forget about it. She's not interested.
Some girls (not all, but some!) are all about going out and meeting guys at bars. It is their prime directive. These girls will let you know if they're interested via the five-second flirt or some other form of body language. Talk to them, compliment them and if they invite you to do so, then sit at their table. At the same time, this is a really touchy subject, one that requires clear communication. In order to avoid making unwanted advances, play it safe more often than not.
But if you talk to them and they quite obviously have no interest in talking back, for the love of God, do not invite yourself to sit down. Stop embarrassing yourself, turn around and walk away. Save us all the pain.
Incidentally, I did end up sitting with the young ladies from The Big Bang. I asked them if I could join them, and they gave me an enthusiastic yes.
We had a few drinks, and they were very nice.
Reach the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @sirshackofford