Over the years, when I didn’t have an acting gig, I have been a part-time bartender. Actually, I started as a cocktail waitress and gradually worked my way up the bar ladder. I decided I wasn’t going to waitress anymore when some bitch pulled my ponytail to get my attention. At least bartenders have a partition separating them from their customers, which would serve to protect me and my ponytail. The downside to bartending is that you are trapped behind the partition for nine to ten hours a night, with no say in who might decide to keep you company by lingering at the bar all night long.
I have worked at a few bars, and at each one I acquire a new bar stalker. It’s normal for a bartender to develop a group of regulars who come to see you, including friends, a few locals, and the neighborhood drunk, but there is always, without fail, a bar stalker. Now don’t get me wrong, they don’t usually take it beyond the bar. That would ruin the fantasy. But, like clockwork, they always turn up for my shifts and sit in the same spot.
My regular non-stalker customers know I’m a yoga teacher/writer/actress who loves music. But the difference between a regular customer and a stalker is that a regular will kindly remember things about you, while a stalker will start taking yoga classes, give you a copy of a play he has written, or bring you a rare Devendra Banhart bootleg to listen to. Plus, they all manage to find you on Facebook.
Stalkers vary from bar to bar. Some are thirty five year old tech nerds with hipster glasses. Others are black men who think I have an exceptional ass for a white girl. Then there’s the older guy in his fifties, recently divorced, who lives in Brooklyn Heights, has lots of money, and tries to impress me with his knowledge of single malt scotch. The one thing they all have in common is coming to the bar with something to do that will require them to stay for a very long time. Sometimes it’s a book or a computer, but often it is the New York Times crossword puzzle. I can’t believe how many of them use this same method of flirtation, and they love asking me to help them finish the puzzle. When it happens on a Monday or Tuesday, I don’t mind that much because the puzzles tend to be easy and I can help them wrap it up pretty quickly. But when they bring in the weekend puzzle, I know it is going to be a long night.
Unfortunately, I have to work a Sunday shift tomorrow.