“There was the date I had in my favourite local pub where she bought me a chocolate orange beer,” he says while he chops onions for the home made fish pie he’s treating me to. “It made me almost vomit. Every sip I had I pulled a weird face. I’d taken so long to drink it but I couldn’t exactly say she’d picked up a terrible choice.”
Why didn’t he just order another, I ask? He has no good answer for that, other than being polite.
I’m grilling my fiancé over bar dates – as in whether you can meet a girlfriend at a bar. This was the first experience he immediately called to mind after I’d asked the question.
She’d had wine, of course, and left the exotic beer to her date because she’s either a clever girl, or a clueless one. You’re always safe when you pick wine. Even if you just go for a colour rather than try and decipher a zinfandel from a Pino Grigio.
Never, ever pick red wine on a date.
“I’d met her while I was working at a bar. She was the same age, maybe a bit older, and really attractive,” he says when I ask how the date came about.
I’ve never understood women who can pick up men in bars. I’d never have the figurative manballs to walk up to a random stranger and flirt my ass off in the hopes of a decent conversation let alone something as daring as asking for a number.
“Well, because you could see the name on the receipt she waited until I served her and flirted from there.” HA. So she cheated.
After the orange beer debacle she’d apologised a thousand times but conversation wasn’t great. “It was all about the drink. I just remember her asking ‘is it ok, do you want another?’ over and over again. When the sole conversation is about a terrible tasting beer it’s not going to go any further than making out on the sofa and getting a cab home.”
He says he just saw her around town after that. There wasn’t much awkwardness, it was just put down to another bad date. She’d seemed like fun when they first met, but was anything but.
“I was single,” he says. Yeah, I remember it well – he’d broken up with a long-term girlfriend, and the rebound wasn’t working out too well either. HA.
“It was England vs. France in the Six Nations and me and my friends had been out on an all day binge. A few lads had gone home but there was two of us who’d stayed out. I was single, with no commitments to worry about – finally.”
“We’d met a few girls – friends of friends – who were out on a birthday night out. They were clearly flirting, and they were the only reason we’d stayed out so long. They’d left in the early hours and I was on my way home when I recognised a girl I’d met in a local bar. So I ended up going back inside with her, talking and having a really good night getting to know her.”
Things progressed to first date territory and looked good. “We chatted, and had a few drinks a week later.” It actually turns out her took her to London to see a show for their third date. Things were promising. Relationship territory seemed on the cards, and I even remember being told that if things happened with her our friendship would have to be put on the back burner. So it’s just as well things went tits up I’d say.
“I loved a local pub way out in the country which had great food. It was a gastro pub type place where you can eat, drink and then relax. We’d had great conversation before and London was loads of fun so it was the best option.”
He met her at her house and they got a taxi together. All was well. “We were chatty in the taxi, there was definite flirting too.” Why wouldn’t there be? You don’t take just anyone to see Wicked, right? (I’m not resentful, promise.)
We arrived at the pub where she promptly knocked back a few vodkas before we’d even ordered. When I asked if everything was ok she blamed it on a bad day.
The food came, she played and picked at it and barely said a word. “I asked after her again, she snapped back she was fine and then walked out mid meal. I was stunned. We were halfway through eating when she flounced out, so of course I finished my food. She’d not come back ten minutes later. So I finished her food. And drink.”
“We shared a taxi home, and I couldn’t help but laugh.” He saw her two weeks later over coffee and she apologised. But that was that. Having bumped into her in the local supermarket nothing but tense smiles were shared.
I ask if it’s possible to meet the love of your life in bar.
He says no. “It’s never based on personality, it’s all looks, or luck.”
He’s right. After a night in a London club recently it’s impossible to find out anything useful about anyone with blaring music dominating the night. Even screaming into each others’ ears (how romance) isn’t enough to work. Really, how can you know anything about the stranger you’ve picked based on terrible sign language [LOUD DANCE MUSIC] signalling you need to go to the loo but order me another vodka red bull? [LOUD DANCE MUSIC INTENSIFIES]
Alcohol plays a massive part too. There are exceptions, but almost everyone’s out to get wasted and make bad decisions. Men don’t tend to think with their heads and women may do things they wouldn’t have normally done if they weren’t full of fizz.
Even if you manage some modicum of self control and go on that second date, they’re very rarely what you remember of them. As the first example proves.
“There’s so little chance of personality being compatible, or finding an emotional connection with someone,” he says. “When you meet at work or through friends you see them with their guard down. They’re just being, well, them. If the groundwork’s been made, either online or wherever, then a bar is just another setting.”
“If not,” he says, “it’s a really random and awkward way to meet people.”
So, we ask a boy, can you meet the love of your life in a bar?
“It happens sometimes. But let’s face it, is that the story you’d want to to tell your grandkids?”
Do you agree? Can anyone start a decent relationship that way? Or have you ended up with your soulmate after a night in a bar? Let us know!