Twitter has become a sewer, but I occasionally still pop in to see the carnage- and to my surprise I still occasionally find interesting things there amongst the debris of our increasingly impolite society.
I recently found two articles of interest, the first is “A Love Letter to Drinking in Bars” by Andrew O’Hagan in the New York Times Style Magazine. It is a personal tale, but one many of us can relate to. I really enjoyed it, you may, too.
The second is “The Rules Everyone Should Follow at Cocktail Bars” from Vine Pair, based on Sasha Petraske’s rules for his Milk & Honey and later bars. I think these are a pretty solid set of rules for many bars. I know that some places have a very different vibe, but even in dive bars the spirit of these rules applies if some of the details don’t.
I would like to dwell on rule #5 for a bit:
“Gentlemen will not introduce themselves to ladies. Ladies, feel free to start a conversation or ask the bartender to introduce you. If a man you don’t know speaks to you, please lift your chin slightly and ignore him.”
I tend to agree, but I think that’s a bit something-ist. I get it, the problems normally flow in that direction, but the world isn’t that simple. I’d go with a “respect everyone’s privacy” statement, but we’re not all good at seeing cues, especially after a few drinks.
Imagine you’ve just spotted your soulmate sitting down from you at the bar and your life will forever be incomplete without them in it- how do you make contact? I hate to break it to you, but maybe you don’t.
If you are in a decent place (and yes, this includes many dive bars), a chance to catch their eye, smile and hope for some acknowledgement of your existence may be all you get. If you fail, you’ve still got booze and the Internet.
I honestly believe that the most forward you should be in engaging someone is asking the bartender to offer them a drink on your behalf, and expect nothing if they accept or deny. Oh, and only when/if the bartender has time and agrees to do it, they may know things you don’t and decline or maybe even chase you away (that’s why you make friends with bartenders, they know stuff).
This doesn’t mean you can’t be friendly and outgoing, it just means that you need to observe, think, then possibly act.