I was at Bogie’s tonight.
This place held a special memory in my heart, considering I had met an extraordinary man there, whom I ended up falling in love with throughout the months we dated. (Yes, yes, I know it’s the place where cougars and divorced—or not-so divorced—men try to, ahem, “hook up.”) In any case, when that relationship disappeared into distant memory, I continued to Bogie’s to prove to myself I could go there without “the man” in mind, and to also prove to myself that I liked the place after all. I created Girls’ Nights and occasions to attend the casual Westlake lounge.
There was a bartender, charming and generous. He treated us girls with affection and unlimited alcoholic beverages. I liked him. Not because of the free drinks in a place where a martini would cost 14 dollars. I liked him because of the sparkle in his eyes; because of the slow, scoundrel-like smile that spread across his Italian, yet baby-face expression; because of how relaxed I could feel around him when he closed his arms around me in a warm, soft embrace and then the gentle kiss on my cheek, and the murmur he would say to me, “Please come back and I’ll buy you dinner.”
I liked him.
But I would never go there alone. The idea seemed embarrassing, even though I had in the past gone out to dinner by myself. But this was purely to see a man, FOR a man, to attract a man. Every time I imagined showing up to the bar by myself to see the handsome and charming bartender, I foresaw other beautiful girls sitting by themselves all waiting for the attention of the same young, Italian, baby-faced man. And, every time, I would convince myself that this man would never want me out of all the other beautiful options.
After all, I am a nerd. I am not the typical woman. I spend my off times either reading, writing Star Wars, or watching Star Trek episodes in order (or any science-fiction in that respect). I am an obsessive person. I discover things I like, or dislike, and obsess over them until there is nothing left to obsess about.
For approximately eight months, I have had random acquaintance with this enchanting young bartender. Sometimes at his work, sometimes at mine, and he even had the off-chance of meeting my father, spurring a BMW conversation while Dad was waiting for me to finish one of my shows. How one interacts with my parents is HUGE to me, and apparently the young bartender did reasonably well at the time, enough to be logged into my father’s memory. That’s a good bartender, Dad must’ve thought.
And as much as my crush compelled me to want him, I did not pursue. In the past, I had experienced negative results anytime I had pursued a man. They always disappeared. So I was tentative and rather discouraged to even show this young man that I was even interested in him.
Then, came the whimming itch. My whimming itch usually occurs when I feel ultimately down in life, discouraged in everything I do, and the feeling of “nothing to lose” comes to play.
I had been feeling this way for the past month, since the start of the new year. Somehow, my positive streak had dived down into negative, and I went sour. I worked non-stop and auditioned with no luck. Everything felt like crap. Then, one day at work, after months of not seeing The Bartender, or even thinking of him, he appeared. He had wrapped his arms around me and said, “Did you ever get my message? I had called your work to find you. To tell you not to come in when I had asked you to because I wouldn’t have been there. They switched my days. Did you ever get it?”
“I did,” I said, “and I texted you to say that it was okay, but I never got a response. I assumed it was the wrong number.”
And it was, just barely by a single misplaced numeral. About a month ago, I had remembered him asking me to come see him and that he would treat me dinner. Later, I had gotten the “cancel” message from work and was given the wrong number. But I had let it go, figuring this wasn’t meant to be in the first place.
And there he was again. At MY work, telling me he was sorry the shifts changed, that he’d hoped I got his message and that he wanted me to come in again THIS week.
Why would a person, as charming, vibrant, handsome and AVAILABLE as he be so persistent? I always imagined him surrounded by beautiful girls so that he would never need to persist.
And I know guys. A guy doesn’t go out of his way to find a girl without some sort of mission, however simple that mission may be.
So, when the time came, I almost didn’t go out. I knew that if I went to Bogie’s alone that I would be accosted by numerous, unrelenting old divorced (or MARRIED) men. I knew that I wouldn’t really be able to spend any time with The Bartender because he would be busy working.
Then I decided, what the hell. I’ve got to do something mysterious and exciting in my life, or else I’ll go nuts.
I dressed myself in sheer black stockings dotted with tiny hearts, a thin cream-pink shirt-dress with a black lace back, and black suede stiletto pumps. I have all these great clothes and never get the chance to wear them. So I did tonight.
When I showed up at Bogie’s around eight, the place was already full. I sat near a fire pit and waited for The Bartender to see me. He did and he smiled. He was very busy, though, as I knew he would be. Nonetheless, he was able to come over and say hello. He brought me a French martini, one of those pink vanilla flavored ones, and I ordered the Ahi Tuna Tartar. I sat by the fire pit enjoying my drink, trying to look busy on my phone, but all the while watching him work. There were three older men that night that tried to get my attention.
The first: Ken Something from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
“Are you really sitting here by yourself, alone?” he asked.
I said, “I’m actually here by invitation.” And I gestured to The Bartender.
“The Bartender?!” he exclaimed. Then he went on to say something about helping me out, or that he was looking for someone new because he and his girlfriend might be breaking up at some point, and that he’ll let The Bartender know that I like him, etc. I didn’t care what happened. The man had obviously plenty to drink. He continued to stress about how I might recognize him, which I didn’t. And not that it would have mattered anyhow. I had my eyes on The Bartender.
The second: Something Something married man. I didn’t bother to remember his name.
“Please tell me you’re not really here to watch the basketball game, right?” he said, gesturing to the game I was distracted by.
“No, you’re right. I’m actually here for The Bartender. He invited me to come out to see him tonight,” I said, as I sipped on my second drink, a smooth Pinot Noir.
“The Bartender?!” he bellowed. Then he went on to talk about himself, and how he wished he had a redhead to buy tomato soup for (I was currently nursing a tomato bisque at the time). I listened patiently, but not really paying any attention. My ears were picking up another conversation to my right from a couple deeply intrigued with each other.
It was obvious they had met that night, and the man was trying his very hardest to be agreeable, mysterious, troubled, smart, and a “good guy” all at the same time. There were a few times I couldn’t contain my laughter every time he proclaimed something only a woman would WANT to hear from a guy, proclamations undoubtedly quoted from all the other women he’d picked up in the past: “I’ve been bad before, but I truly believe in really knowing a person before sharing something as intimate as sex with them…as much as I enjoy it…I have been bad before, but I strive to be good…” The man might as well be saying, “Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit,” and the woman probably would still be interested.
Then I was brought back to my unfortunate conversation with Something Something, when suddenly The Bartender met my gaze. He looked at me as if to ask if I was okay. A gave him a smile to assure him that I could handle it and to not worry about me.
Something Something eventually left (although he had come back for a second try until realizing I wasn’t cracking).
Finally The Bartender came over to me, as the lounge began to wither to only a few.
Leaning over the bar and grasping my hands in his, he said, “This place is too dangerous for you. Next time you should bring a wingman.”
But I hadn’t wanted to bring anyone else with me. I only wanted to see him and wanted his attention only on me, not on another beautiful wingman. Besides, he had asked for ME to come, not me “and my friends.”
“I’m sorry I’ve been so busy,” he said, his voice silky and sweet, always drawing a smile from me.
“It’s okay,” I said. “I’ve been fairly amused by the people around me. Besides, I needed to come out and relax a little.”
“Let me make it up to you,” he said, still grasping my hands in his. “A real dinner where I’m not working. And we’ll do something fun.”
“That sounds great,” I said, my smile brightening. Boy, had I been waiting for him to ask, from the first day I saw him. So we swapped numbers and then, before I knew it, he was swept back up into work.
That’s when man number 3 came into play.
He was married just like man 2, but this one was much more harmless. He began asking me questions about what it was like to be an only-child, that he had a daughter he was worried about not growing up happy because she, too, was an only-child. That marriage was so hard, especially when he travelled so much. And he just wanted to know what it was like for me.
I told him I’d always been happy, and, though my parents were always away throughout my growing up years, I never questioned their love for me. That they were honest with me, which helped me to trust them as I grew older. And I was completely aware of my parents’ difficult marriage.
“I guess one of the most important keys in marriage is to always strive to be kind to one another, no matter how stressed out you are, how hurt or angry you are. It’s always easier to attack the person closest to you. So striving to show kindness regardless of the situation can very well keep a marriage safe.” I said this, although I wasn’t sure where all that came from, and watched the expression on this man’s face go from worried to an almost bewildered yet peaceful countenance.
“You are wise beyond your years,” he murmured, shaking his head, as if surprising himself that he said it at all.
“No I’m not,” I said. “It’s just something my mother taught me. I have yet to experience what marriage is like.”
“Thank you, anyway,” he said. “I feel better talking to you. I have to leave now. Have a goodnight. And thank you.”
And man number 3 left, just like that.
And I was alone at the bar. The Bartender was busying himself with closing tabs. There were two other men at the far end of the bar that tried to invite me to join them, but I firmly told them I was here WITH The Bartender.
“I’ve been using you as an excuse,” I later told him.
He smiled. “Good. Thank you so much for coming in anyway. I hope it was somewhat enjoyable.”
“It was,” I said. “Thank you for treating me. I hope we can do something outside of Bogie’s next time.”
I got up to leave and he gave me a big hug and a quick kiss on the mouth. I found it interesting how relaxed and natural I felt in his arms. There didn’t seem to be any awkwardness that usually accompanies two people who barely knew each other.
When I arrived home, I received a text from The Bartender saying, “Thank you beautiful for coming in tonight! Xoxo!”
I smiled as I climbed into bed. Whether or not he ever decides to call me, it didn’t matter. It felt good to feel attractive again. It felt good that I made myself whim again. It felt good that the unknown was out there again. He had my number now. Who knows if he’ll use it. But it’s fun to know it’s out there. And never knowing what might happen is the beauty of a whim, and a possible prelude to a romance.