Guest Blogger: Brita
I am a bartender at one of the most cutting edge bars in downtown Austin. The space itself is dark, seductive, dripping with whiskey and ripe for a romantic or even just a sexy encounter. During each evening I meet countless men – good-looking, successful, fun and single guys who order cocktails from me, then talk to me for hours. Truly, I do not feel that it is in bad taste for me to admit that I am attractive, intelligent, wild and vibrant. I must be fiercely popular with all of these gents, right?
Okay, sort of. During my time being (newly) single and a bartender I have noticed a puzzling manner of conduct. A man will sit at my bar, engage in brilliant conversation, spend plenty of cash, tip me generously, show interest in me personally… then leave. No phone number, no “Hey, can I take you for coffee or a cocktail?” Nothing. A few days later, the dude will find me on social media – either my Instagram or FaceBook – and “heart” all of my photos and send me a private message.
Actual Private Message from one of these fine fellas:
“Hey, girl! It was really nice to meet you. You make one hell of a whiskey sour. I wanted to ask you for your phone number but honestly, I find you kind of intimidating and this felt easier.”
What the actual hell does that mean?
The first one of these I received, I felt kind of flattered and also sorry for the guy. My empathetic side kicked in and thought “Wow, he must be really shy”, although that is not how I remembered his general demeanor when I met him in person. So I entertained the message with a response. We carried on a conversation and met in real life. This guy seriously seemed not to know how to fully engage with a set-up date – yet was very suave online and when there was a bar between us. During our date, I felt as though I were talking to a rock … a rock that eventually drank too many beers. Needless to say, I was underwhelmed; our interaction fizzled and I wasn’t super upset about parting ways. I figured that was just an awkward guy who needed a barrier to exude any kind of confidence.
But then it happened again… and again.
I responded to the next two messages until I caught the pattern. These people require the barrier just to communicate; but I don’t consider this to be “proper” communication. They were far more eloquent via the internet or text message than in person once it was just the two of us. Naturally, I thought I was just attracting a certain kind of man – one who thinks I’m a great idea until he actually has to talk to me and only me. I thought “Oh shit! What’s wrong with me?”, but it continued to happen. I have now had ten… TEN of these men who meet me in person but prefer to only interact with my digital persona. Of course after the first three, I have basically created a canned response: “If you want to go out with me, ask me in person.”
Only one has actually done so. He’s alright, I guess – better than the others, but not great.
As upsetting as all of this has been for my super sexy “single-yet-dating” life (or so I imagined it to be), I get it. I f*ckin’ get it. In print, I am a genius. In photos, I am a model. In real life, I have to search my brain for answers, traverse awkward moments; I wear makeup and a push-up bra. Whatever. I am not terrified to be myself, however. I suppose that is my whole point, here. The confidence levels of the men around me are so damned degraded that they would rather conduct an entire relationship with their thumbs on a screen with occasional sex rather than genuinely engage. This breaks my heart. I can only imagine that they’re terrified of actual emotion, so they lay back in the comfort of Tinder, Bumble…and whatever the hell else is out there. They don’t understand that when I actually go out with them, I can feel their emptiness and it doesn’t turn me on at all.
Of course I became curious as to whether or not this is a problem I am having on my own. I asked a fellow lady bartender if she’d had this experience. She laughed and said “Yeah, sounds like most of my dating attempts.” She then relayed to me a story where she and a gentleman had agreed via digital platform to meet up for no other reason than to have a romp in the sheets. Obviously, she was like “Hell yes, this will be fun and I don’t have to worry about weirdness afterwards,” until the man sent her a message that I personally found appalling. He asked her to send him a naked photo of herself first so he knew it wasn’t going to be a “waste of his time”. My friend was undoubtedly flabbergasted. I mean she was agreeing to have a sexy fun time with him with zero attachments and he was concerned this might be a fool’s errand?! OMFG. She left him hanging, thank goodness. This woman is gorgeous and it would have been a delightful treat – he missed out. His behavior unfortunately is not uncommon, or so I am being told by my lady friends. To me this is another example of refusing to explore and interact outside of a digital setting.