Sunday, May 08, 2005

A Guy Walks Into A Bar...

I love to find out how couples met for the first time. It makes me pretty popular at parties. No matter how deadly boring the conversation might be, people light up like fireworks when you ask them about the big "bing" moment. Sometimes it's just like the song: "There were bells on the hill but I never heard them ringing….'til there was you." And sometimes it's slow and gradual like the bass line in a Barry White ballad. The best stories are a result of total fluke-y luck or some kind of surprise beginning (like they hated each other for a year before they hit the sack). No matter what, every story is different and usually highly entertaining, if not in content, at least in style.

I still feel a little chagrined at the fact that my beloved and I met at a bar. OK, it happened to be a bar in Washington D.C. while we were both on separate holiday vacations and we were within 10 minutes of totally missing each other, but meeting at a bar doesn't sound like a good start to a long-term relationship. Whenever I ask him how I got so lucky to find him, he replies, "you went out drinking!" It just sounds inauspicious. And a little meat-market-ish. That said, once you start asking people how they met, "at a bar" will be their most common response. I'm not kidding. And they usually cringe a little when they say it. See? It's not just me!

Theoretically, the ideal place to meet someone is church, right? Not so fast. I just watched a "48 Hours Mystery" on TV which told the story of Mr. Nice Guy, (MNG) who met his "perfect woman" at church and ended up in an ugly custody battle with a Psycho Bitch From Hell (PBH). PBH sent her brother and second husband to beat MNG within an inch of his life. The husband later tried to hire a hit man to kill MNG and his eventual death (at age 44) has all the signs of foul play. And…two of the most long-term eligible bachelors I know regularly attend church and never seem to meet the right woman. So, don’t be rushing out to join a congregation. No matter what denomination you belong to, you still need to be a good judge of character AND it helps if you actually WANT a long-term relationship. Besides, I don't think I have ever heard a couple tell me they met at church. Of course, that could be a measure of the company I keep, but still…

Advice-givers say if you are looking for a compatible partner, you should stop LOOKING and start participating in activities you love. The theory being you will find a better partner if you share the same interests. This has some merit even though the outside world can overshadow your shared passion. I met a potential partner in a Latin American History class, but once "real life" started, the damage created by his emotional politics far outweighed any military junta and we struggled for two loooooooong fucked-up years. I'm hoping for a better future for Rob and Amber once the reality TV cameras fade to black.

On the other hand, sharing an interest can also work out. I met my former husband while we were rehearsing for a music concert and we ended up crazy for each other. For 12 years, we managed to deflect the slings and arrows from the forces outside of our shared hobbies, but they eventually did too much damage. For the years we fended them off, though, it was great.

The WORST way to get together -- trust me when I say this -- is the long-distance hook-up. You know, when you meet someone out of town and you pledge to make it last. It will NEVER work. The good news is that it tends to end quickly once the thrill of physical contact is replaced by enormous phone bills and endless calls that burn up your ears when the cell phone overheats... Wait! What the hell? I can't really say this. My beloved and I enjoyed 6 months of yummy phone sex and great conversation before he moved cross-country to be with me. In fact, we have some friends who have been together for eight years and they were long-distance lovers for two of those. AND he didn't have a home telephone, so he had to use the office phone -- for ALL of their phone contact. That had to be awkward! See? I told you these stories are good! So...forget I said this. Long distance can totally work.

Bottom line, meeting someone at a bar is really no better or worse than any other method. Millions of college students can't be wrong. The ones in my neighborhood keep the tradition alive by lining up for hours in front of the hottest local singles scenes (karaoke, live grand piano duos). They have a couple of factors in their favor: volume and tradition. The sheer numbers involved naturally increase the probability of finding someone interesting and booze is a tried-and-true social lubricant. Nothing like a glass of something to a) give you something to do with your hands 2) provide a conversation topic and 3) boost your confidence while blurring your judgemental side.

If I were an advice columnist, I think I would tell people they need two things to be successful at meeting people: an open heart and common sense. Take them wherever you go and you're bound to end up with a great story to tell together at parties.


At 7:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why aren't you writing for a living? -KH

At 9:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice writing, but could contain way too much information. Luv ya, GaryIke

At 2:54 PM, Blogger Mike said...

So this is what you were doing with me last Monday night! 'Sokay, after all these years I've honed my bizarre courtship down to the 30-second commercial I gave you.

By the way, thanks to you and T for picking up the tab.

Next time I'll bring the missus or similar. (You can find her from my blog, referred to as "the world's best writer," although it's the second link that she most frequently posts to.)


At 9:31 AM, Blogger WHS Cheer Girl said...

Kel, you were the life of the party even before you forced people to talk about their love lives!

When talking about meeting your soul mate, you can't forget the obvious meeting in the work place. It starts out so intriguing with the stolen looks across the hall way. Chris and I were just good friends when we first met at work, but it blossomed from there. Thank God we're both book freaks!

Most people would hate to be with their spouses so much, but I can't imagine any other way to live.


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