FBF: Female BarFly
Like many people, I drink socially. Part of that is the conversation lubrication factor. Part of that is because the only thing to do in a small city after 9pm is go to a bar or some hippy experimental performance which is just as disengaging and isolating as staying home. (Late night coffee shops need to be a thing in the North East). On nights when I don’t drink I force myself to get past the restlessness to run from the apartment into the arms of a bar stool. If I can survive the initial hour of isolation panic, I’ll get tired and wander off to bed. Most nights though, I give in. The social isolation is too much for me. It’s the FOMO. It’s the fear of being too basic staying home with Netflix night after night in an attempt to stay sober(ish). So I slither to the bar and pretend it’s what gives me my professional street cred, my artist status, my edge.
There is a particular status when you’re a female bar regular, one who is more of a sweatshirt and jeans girl rather than earrings and dresses. You’re still female but the male approach is different. There are the older men who feel safe leaning on you for emotional support (usually when they feel intimidated by the youth of the men around them). Or the ones who casually sit next to you and slowly start conversations not taking the signals that you didn’t come here to talk to them. You’re labeled cold, bitchy, whatever. You’ve inflamed them because not even the ‘hot girl’ wants to be their friend or get with them. I’ve started telling these types of men that I’m not here to do their emotional labor. I’m here to drink.
Men who are regulars at local bars at night are also a particular breed. (honestly, happy hour is a concept that I just don’t get. Who can be drunk that early and feel good about it?) The few beers after work crowd are usually chill, chatty, and generally pleasant. It’s the softboy night drinkers to avoid. These are the ones who use alcohol as a means to access their feelings. The night starts cheerfully enough but as the alcohol piles on, the hole gets deeper. They hit the ‘promise I’ll be better when I’m grown’ phase. It’s the latent shame of lacking goals and aspirations but rather than be accountable in their daily lives, they drink.