The Great Debate

 In Culture, Feature

Can you really meet a serious boyfriend or girlfriend at a bar?

Bright lights, big city. A night out on the town holds so many possibilities…an encouter with Mr. or Mrs. Right…a DUI…anything can happen. When it comes down to it, singles always have an eagle eye out for a potential date. Can you find that date in the neighborhood dive bar or thumping nightclub? It depends on what you’re looking for.

Case Study #1: Me. I’m not immune to dating men I’ve met in various dank watering holes. My first fiancé was a chance encounter in the men’s room at F&M Patio Bar in New Orleans. Get your mind out of the gutter. I was helping a girlfriend out who needed immediate use of a bathroom, and I stood solid in front of the door while a gallery of men decided my presence was a nuisance rather than a deterrent from entering. One gentleman, however, opened the door and responded, “I’ll wait.” We ended up dating, romancing and—in the end—being friends for 20 years. Bars are a freaky place to meet someone for long-term relationship potential. If you’re in a bar, doesn’t that automatically put you in the party-alcoholic-intervention-rehab category? Maybe. Or, you just like to have fun. Either way, it can be tricky.

Case Study #2: Kaci. My friend Kaci has had her ups and downs with dating and cocktails. “My last serious relationship was a guy that I met in a bar—I will call him Nick. Nick and I met during the Arch Rivalry game a couple of years ago at Over Under on Washington Avenue.” How did that end, you wonder? “This was probably the only serious relationship I have been in that started from meeting a random guy in a bar.” Things were great until they weren’t. “I was disappointed when things didn’t work out, but you know what they say—everything happens for a reason, right?” A realistic look at love with a side order of red-headed slut shots. But, Kaci isn’t whiskey sour on romance in the city of bars. “I really think it depends on what kind of bar you’re at. The guys that go to Lucas Park are going to be totally different than the guys you would meet at say, Tin Can. Both are great bars, but you have to know what you’re looking for and know what to expect from different venues when you’re out on the prowl.”

Case Study #3: Kyle. Bars are as much of a mine field for men as they are for women. Take, for instance, my pal Kyle. He knows a bit about the nightlife scene as the events director for a well-known hotel in St. Louis. For Kyle, being a man, and a gay man on top of that, doesn’t necessarily make it smooth sailing through the barstools and late nights. Kyle doesn’t see the local watering hole as the best option. “The reason I don’t do well in the bar scene is because all the guys I see out are my friends. I already know them. You see the same people and know what to expect at each place.” He also states the obvious. “If you want to pursue someone to go home with that night, you will find someone. I don’t go out looking for a date. If I meet someone, it’s like a bonus.”

Case Study #4: Najah. My friend Najah fared better. Not only did she meet her current boyfriend in a bar, but they are carrying on a long-distance cross-continental romance. Did I mention her man is from Norway? She was casually sitting at the bar, intensely pretending to be interested in a Monday night football game, and he came over and ordered a Cognac and hot coffee. “I inquired about his choice of combination, and he began to explain that it was a European tradition, and I was intrigued and kept talking.” Good start, girlfriend! From there, they went hell bent for leather on a long-distance relationship. “I think we both came into each other’s lives at a time where we both needed and wanted love, and we found that in each other. Seeing him almost daily on Skype works for me for the most part. Although, sometimes, it gets very lonely.” Lonely? Okay. Hot? Yes. Should we all start looking for Euro hotties in bars? According to Najah, “In general, if you’re looking for something serious, the bar scene can be a challenging place to start, but not impossible.” In the end, who knows what could happen. In fact, I hope to receive ample accounts from readers on my blog to uphold and contradict this great debate. All you can do is resist lowering your standards to the basement, and know that if nothing else, you’ll have fun chatting up someone new.


Great Debate

Photo credit: Illustration by Sarah Quatrano

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