Notice I said the bar, and not a bar. The difference sets the circumstance.
The bar is at least a somewhat habitual haven from the world of work and worry that requires cautious stewardship if you want it to remain a refuge. A bar is for hunting. If you do this at your own bar, you will likely make a mess of its serenity. So, hopefully, the very first advantage is:
1. You never considered your potential spouse to be prey.
You weren’t on the hunt; you were only getting a drink at the friendly watering hole. You weren’t trying to kill it—it just happened to sit next to you during the Braves game and completely confused you with the way it smelled and the funny noise it made.
2. Common ground is established immediately.
My eighth-grade history teacher would keep a secret bottle of whiskey in his desk drawer. My great-grandfather would take down an entire 12–ounce can of beer in one gulp the very moment my great-grandmother wasn’t looking. Many drinkers like vodka specifically because its odor is difficult to detect, especially when mixed with fruit juice. When you meet your potential spouse at the bar, the fact that you both drink is never a secret.
3. Creatures of habit.
Happy hour is one of my favorite ways to wind the day down. Around five o’clock, the slant in the shadows points the way to the pub, and I begin to long for not just an adult beverage but also an adult conversation with like-minded people. Almost every one of my barroom pals enjoys the same ritual of watching those shadows fade over a pint and a joke, my spouse included. When the shadows have won the day, it’s time to go home and make dinner, watch “Parks and Rec,” then go to sleep with a smile. Until tomorrow.
4. The pressure is off.
In referring back to advantage No. 1, this encounter was not premeditated. There is, therefore, neither the formalized pressure of a date, nor the risk of blowing, if you will, the chance at a one-night-stand. There is only the familiar setting, familiar faces and just enough time for another round if you find yourself becoming interested or curious.
5. You can learn a lot this way.
This is absolutely the most important advantage, and could probably be broken down into several advantages on its own. Again, there isn’t as much pressure to impress, there isn’t a need to poach or guard against being poached, and sometimes a pint or two is just enough to lift conversational inhibitions. Besides listening to all of the crazy stories, embarrassing moments, personal likes and dislikes, opinions on movies, politics, religion and so on, you can otherwise deduce a lot if you are just a little observant. For example:
What does your potential spouse like to drink? Are they “top shelf,” from the well, or somewhere in between? Does s/he order the complicated cocktails, or does s/he like a shot and a beer? How much does your future spouse drink: one, two, three or more rounds? Can s/he “handle” his/her liquor, or does the bartender have a cab on dial? How does s/he behave when tipsy: angry, sad or completely kissable (not necessarily the best pick)? And finally, what kind of customer is s/he? Does s/he under-tip, over-tip, argue with the barkeep over the bill or sometimes not pay at all? These can all be indicators of what kind of life s/he leads outside the bar and how the two of you would potentially lead one together—or not.
In a business sense, bars sell alcohol for a profit. In almost every other sense, bars are communal places. The bar is a very specific place one goes to, because it is a anchorage of generally shared values and sentiments where “everybody knows your name,” not so unlike church, where so many of us have been told we can meet a “nice boy or girl.”
As a final word of caution and as a bit of a disclaimer, this is not a guarantee but, instead, comes with all the luck of love and chance of romance that you will find anywhere else.
Cheers and best wishes!
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