I got dumped by my wingman Sebastien a month ago.
I had sent him my usual text on a Wednesday around noon.
Hey dude, wanna hit up the bars this weekend? Hollywood is gonna be rockin. Let’s do this!
Two hours later, I got his reply:
Hey Rich, I think I’m done with the bar scene for good. Sorry, brother.
I mean, WHAT!
I texted him back frantically.
Dude, what’s up? Bad week at work?
No man. I mean, yes, but that’s not it. Truth is, I just don’t want to go to bars to meet girls anymore. Bars are stupid. Sorry, brother. We still buds?
I didn’t even have to think about my response.
Hell yeah we are. I understand. The babes of LA will miss you.
Buddy, just the ones who frequent loser lairs we call bars. Peace out.
I was dumbstruck. What had happened?
I thought back through the previous 12 months we had been bar hopping together.
Roars of laughter. Drinks. Beer pong at Happy Endings. Super enthusiastic car rides where we talked about girls we were seeing or not seeing, caught up on the awesome runaway trains of each other’s lives, and propped each other up. Supersonic journeys from the valley to Main Street Santa Monica. The valley to Old Town Pasadena. Hollywood. The W. The Roosevelt. Gross ass Saddle Ranch.
Nights ablaze with fun. Brunettes, lots and lots of brunettes. Me and Seb, tossing out beams of personality, lightstorms of wit and humor with a flicker of mystery underneath, to gaggles of girls. Nervous anticipation at the approach, followed by locomotions of bravery. Near-thrilling conversations. Make outs. Number exchanges. Nights that didn’t end.
But I knew why too.
It was those other nights.
Nights the jokes didn’t fly. Nights we liked the girls but for whatever confounded reason, they didn’t like us. Nights there was no one to talk to, where we just stood around the bar, looking around the room with warm beers in our hands.
The nights we got cockblocked. Times we almost got into fights with dudes. That night at Happy Endings comes to mind when a random guy started grinding on my girl on the dance floor. Come to think of it, a lot of fights almost happened at Happy Endings.
Nights where things just didn’t click, where we were tired, and the girls seemed even more so. Sometimes I wonder if I’ve been in LA too long, if we’ve all been in LA too long.
They were those times too, and I knew that for Sebastien, those bad times had started to outweigh the good ones.
My wingman had dumped me, had dumped all the girls in all the bars that we hadn’t yet met. All the bad girls and all the great girls. And while there are some bad girls out there, there are some really great women out there too. What could have been. He’ll never know.
I didn’t blame him.
For a month, I didn’t go out to bars. For a month, I caught up with friends, watched movies, read books, went hiking, and yes, went on dates. With girls I didn’t meet in bars. I avoided the bar scene entirely and was reintroduced to a social life devoid of my beloved Bon Jovi blasting from a jukebox, the sweet nectar of a cold fucking beer, the thrill and touch of a strange girl’s hand on my arm.
I got a lot of work done. I started this blog. I outlined a new horror script. I read the chick lit classic, The Devil Wears Prada, from front cover to back. Ok, never mind that last one.
Because my wingman dumped me, I also dumped the bars. And you know what?
I miss them.
It’s true, bars can be brutal. On those bad nights, you wonder why you spent four whole hours out blabbing to aspiring actresses and social media PR assistants about why LA is better than SF and why sports should be important to a girl — she should watch sports, yes, then she’d be my dream girl! In return, she tells you how she misses her dog in Kansas, how the tap water in North Hollywood tastes different from the tap water in Santa Monica. Vapid conversations flung into the night, to be soon forgotten in a haze of Red Bull and vodka. All that energy and effort spent, for sometimes, a very happy ending — and other times, the failure and defeat of going home alone, American Eagle shirt smelling of cigarette smoke, leather shoes sticky, and the overwhelming feeling of being quite positively and undeniably — unloved.
But then, there are those other nights.
When the thrill of adventure takes you to Los Angeles boroughs undiscovered, hidden oases of dangly Christmas lights, pineapple vodka sours, and glowing fire pits finally revealed. Where you and your friends walk into a bar and the sheer merriment and genuine enthusiasm on your faces makes all the girls want to know who you are and all the guys want to be a part of your group. Where a pretty girl with alabaster legs sitting on a corner bar stool eschews all the pretension and all the bullshit and says she’s not sure if she’ll make it in this town either — and you finally make a real connection. When a gentle touch on the arm leads to a kiss on the cheek, and finally, her soft lips meeting yours. A moment that can feel like an eternity.
When those nights sparkle with electricity and music, crisp air, and wonder and lipstick of where the night is going — that’s when I feel most alive. And for me, there is no better feeling in the world.
So I will continue going to bars. I will continue braving past the hordes of dudes massed against the walls, or as my new wingman Alex calls it, “the cockwall”, as they sausage-fest their eyes upon the lonely girls standing in clusters, wanting a little attention. I will continue being the funnest guy on the planet. I will continue being hilarious. I will continue being manly but sensitive. I will protect my lovely new ladies from hipster douchebags, and I will never ever hold their purses under any circumstances. I will be the Man or at least the Dude — and all the while, I will continue looking around the room, around the bar, for that connection, that spark of life. That really great girl. I live in the great hope that one day, I will surely find her.
And because, gosh darn it, it sure as hell beats staying home on a Saturday night reading freakin’ chick lit, from front cover to back.