Saturday, April 26, 2014

I Can’t Believe This Shit

Can a reasonable man in this godforsaken town get a little good, clean American fun please?
Is it too much to ask?
What I’m talking about is that I must have a built in ‘crazy pants’ magnet in my soul. I’m currently patting down my flesh to look for the bug they had inserted under my skin when I was asleep. 
What am I talking about? 
It's my curse. 
Since day one, I only attract the most desperate, deranged, psychotically bitter, father-hating, clingy, plain bat-shit women in this world.
They fucking LOVE me. I must give off the odor of madness. Maybe I’m fucking nuts and like attracts like. Maybe I have a special talent of bringing out this sort of behavior in the opposite sex.  
Now, on second thought, they probably treat any person directly in front of them with the same strange and obsessive behavior. That may just be the nature of a ‘crazy broad’. I don’t know.
As all of you know, I was raised by women: one mother, 3 sisters, 6 aunts, and countless girlfriends, both lover and not, and the number one thing I hear from folks: “Oh, men are so much better raised by females. They make much better boyfriends.”  
Let The Bartender Knows say on the record the whole ‘men are better raised by women’ is bullshit. The sick part of all is that men who are raised by women simply know TOO MUCH about women. And when someone knows too much about something, they have a tendency to sympathize with that thing.
I know everything. Or, at least, I thought I did.
I’ve covered why dating sucks in New York City multiple times (part one, part two, part three, part four, part five, google it). I’m didn’t title this piece under the ‘dating’ category, because ‘dating’ would include the process of asking someone out with an interest in something; sex, love, companionship, bondage time, what have you.
The following events are more like travesties, jokes really, for if any of these events/people/situations are examples of modern dating, then instead of drinking whiskey shots, we of the dating committee, should start ordering formaldehyde by the glass and slug them back.
Let’s start by discussing these ‘events’, so both you and I can relate, and maybe my readers can offer this bartender some solace lost in this forest of some seriously dumb shit.

The Biter:

Hey, I’ll be the first to tell you that I do exhibit some BDSM leanings just like any good old fashion red blooded male, but let me paint this picture for you.
I’m out with a girl. Things are going well. Things are shaping up. Right out of an 80’s flick, guy, girl, bar, drinks are flowing and so is the conversation. We are leaning in close, some minor kisses both on the cheek, the hand, there’s a full-lipped kiss planted. Yes, friends, things seem to be going well. I’m so goddamn picky about who I sleep with these days that I’m actually excited by this lady in front of me. Two more margaritas down and are joyfully roaming down Grand Street to my house. I couldn’t be happier. Then something strange happens.
The girl, in some weird fit of alcoholic delusion, clamps down right on my forearm and bites down hard. Like HARD. Like bursting blood vessels hard. I pull away, half-angered by the sudden pain in my right arm, half annoyed at this odd expression of attraction.
“Hey, okay, that’s enough of that now, Miss…”
She then cackles, and I see something fiendish in this lady’s eyes. Obviously, the drink had gotten a hold of her. Either that or her latent lycanthropy. Despite my protest, again with the biting, this time on my bicep. Deep. There’s marks. I separate from her.
“What the hell is your problem?” I ask her, but apparently my concern and questioning only fuel her to bite down again. “Owww, fuck, Jesus!”
I get her back to the apartment, but by this point all attraction to her has been bled out of me. My roommate, best friend, and ride or die homey is there with a girl, I think to myself, thank God, company. This lady won;t eat me, hopefully, when other people are around. We all gather at the Villa Borghese bar (what I call the bar I installed in our kitchen after ditching the kitchen table) and some more drinks, smoke, and party favors go around the room. I’m thinking, maybe all of that biting nonsense was over.
But no. Right there on my forearm, this broad bites again. “Jesus, what is wrong with you? Stop with that shit. You take bath salts or something?”
My buddy’s girl stares at the ‘biter’ with disbelief. She tries to help: “No sweetie, just nibble on him, he obviously doesn’t like that biting thing you're doing.”
Even having another woman trying to guide this ‘biting’ lady didn’t stop her incisors from ripping into my flesh. I try to remember if there was a full moon out that night.
            “Are you fucking teething or something?” I ask her.
            The whiskey comes out and I drink much of it. The last bite comes down again and I look at her, straight on. Her eyes are spinning like a slot machine.
            “You need a fucking chew toy, seriously, get out of my house,” I tell the crazy broad.
            I can’t feel past my elbow. Obviously this is some kind of strange emotional disorder, or some other neurological problem.
            I’ve seen yellers. I’ve seen slappers. I’ve even seen ‘breakers’ (the people who break stuff when they are wasted). But this biting shit is an example of far greater problems.
Like cannibalistic problems.        

The Dinner Princess:

The ‘dinner princess’ phenomenon is as old as dirt. Quite plainly, the ‘dinner princess’ is the girl that will let you take her to dinner, spend an upwards of 100 dollars (crazy!), kiss you on the cheek, tell you she's 'tired', gets into a cab, and that’s that. She gets a free meal and the guy feels like the biggest chump this side of the Mississippi.
Again, ‘dating’ should never be a bartering system for flesh. But after years of bartending and listening to people’s conversations, I have heard, time and time again: “Sure, I’ll let him take me to dinner. I’m not going to sleep with him or anything.”
Ladies. Ladies. Ladies, please. This is the worst type of honor code. Remember, men are stupid. If you agree to dinner with them (not just drinks, or some other ‘non-committal’ excursion), that is sending them a signal that you not only want to get to know them, but also would like to pursue some other skin activities in the evening.
Now I can already hear the litany of complaints: “Hey just ‘cause I go to dinner with someone I have to put out? Screw you, Bartender Knows Guy!”
I’m not saying that. I’m just trying to help the opposite sexes get along better. If I walk into an emergency room, I probably need medical services. If I wander into a bar, I probably need a drink.
So, at logics’ behest, if a dude asks you to dinner, he likes you. If you don’t like him, kindly decline.
There’s nothing less classy than a girl just trying to get a free lunch.
It's sad.   
Just plain sad.  

The ‘Talk To Every Guy In The Bar But You’ Chick:

Wow. Has anyone had this happen to them?
It really hurts, bad.
You ask a girl out for drinks. She agrees. You meet up. She doesn’t start biting your arm. Check. Awesome.
You’re at the bar. First drinks go down. Everything is fine. She’s says she’s got to go to the bathroom. On her way there, some guys try to talk to her. She’s friendly. On the way back from the bathroom, she’s still friendly.
You tell yourself: “She’s just a nice girl. She’s just friendly. I don’t own her. It’s fine.”
She comes back. The dialogue continues. Things are fine. A guy next to you at the bar says something. She turns, comments on it. They start a dialogue. You are not part of it. Another dude orders a drink behind you. He makes a statement. The girl responses to his dialogue now.
You can imagine how fucked up this is. New York men are persistent, and relentless, so even by pausing for a moment, you’ve lost her attention. And on top of that, feel like an asshole for feeling weird about it.
I try to think how pleased a woman would be if I chatted up every women in the room aside from the girl I asked out. Not so cool if the roles were reversed now is it?
If you say something, you come off as the guy trying to stop her independence. If you don’t say anything, then you must now compete with her attention span.
Total, flat out shitty ‘dating’ style.
Other notable things not to say, ladies:
“When I was fucking this one guy…”
“My ex used to do the same thing…”
“I thought we were just friends…”
Girls, if your over 25 and still do not know the rules of attraction, send me a letter and I will happily break it all down for you.
I’m all for equality between the sexes.
I’m just not down for the equality of being an asshole.

Till next week.




Monday, April 21, 2014

The Dreamer Unleashed (An Ode To Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

There aren’t many moments cemented more in literary memory than witnessing in my mind’s own cinema those white feathers falling from the arid sky over Jose Buendia’s funeral procession lumbering below down the dirt Labrynthian paths of Macondo, a ‘mirrored’ city just as mysterious and wrought with strife as the Buendia family's 100 years of struggle.
As a fourteen-year-old writer (yes, I was writing even at that tender age), I was haunted by the elder father Jose Buendia in One Hundred Years of Solitude bound to a monstrous tree, plauged by the phantasma of the man he had to kill to win the love of his wife--Ursula. She, the matriarch soothe-sayer, holding her grieving generations in her arms, becomes the progenitor of a literary legacy as none ever conceived in the history of writing. Yes, even in the annuls of the Dostoyevsky legion of saints and sinners, so rife with the open nerve honesty of an angst-ridden 1890's St. Petersburg, Fyodor, despite his genius, still left the lid on the oil paint box closed.
Mr. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, an immediately natural magician, painted entire families, cities, and regions with his brand of supernatural rules. I remember carrying the book through the halls of my vacant high school; the dull peach walls devoid of art, the classrooms rumbling with adolescent talk--emptiness everywhere. But there in the back corner desk, I smiled, like I carried a special secret. 
I did. Writing was more alive than it ever had been before.
All because of this very odd Colombian journalist, who was still in 1991, denied Visas to travel to America because of his close ties to Fidel Castro (they drank together). 80's covert war hungry America would have none of it.   
Least to say, staring at the blank page in my spiral bound journal, my mind raced with images, both real and not. I wrote a story of these elixirs transforming the imbibers into the animals they truly were (no doubt an earlier experiment in writing about drunks).
The rules had changed; the written world was flipped upside down. Anything was possible. I dove more into this land, reading Love in The time Of Cholera during a train ride across the Pyrenees Mountains in Spain ten years later, earmarking the corners of a page as we pulled into the train station in San Sebastian.
Innocent Erendira, spoke to me in a used bookstore in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2003. The 1972 soft pink cover of the strange woman, head in her own lap, surround by laurel leaves, attracted me from the isle. I knew of his major works, but like any treasure, the discovery of it on your own changes the read. Another secret acquired. 
Inside this collection of short fiction (actually titled: The Incredible and Sad Tale of Innocent Erendira and Her Heartless Grandmother) lies Death Constant Beyond Love, hands down a favorite short piece—again filled with characters facing their mortality. Marquez, the lyrical acrobat, Death Constant Beyond Love in other hands would never grant atonement for the philandering politician Senator Onesimo Sanchez. Neither would the audience gives him any sympathy, as he laid beside his scandalous relationship partner Laura Farina, a ‘moss’ smelling peasant girl given by her father in exchange for proper citizenship in Sanchez’s regime.
Oddly romantic, when the Senator lays near the young girl, in a sad embrace wryly smiling, he tells her:
“We are both Ares. It is the sign of Solitude". You cannot feel anything but an unexpected romanticism.
The last line is the killer: "Six months and eleven days later he would die in that same position, debased and repudiated because of the public scandal with Laura Farina, and weeping with rage at dying without her." 
This is Marquez’s spear in the body of literature, less than inventing the widely embraced ‘magic realism’ style he is crowned, Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s real talent is in making his characters, townships, and mythologies a stronger reality than our dull parade. Through brilliant colors, a total denial of physics, (as well as cynicism) and a keen gypsy understanding of the supernatural and cosmic world that surrounds us—in dreams or consciousness—made the literary universe more real than real.
Now 23 years later, I can think of no other living author who possesses this kind of insurgent shamanism in their work (save for Marquez’s Czech counter part, Milan Kundera, who is still scurrying around Parisian street at 85). The literary canon has undergone serious changes in the past 50 years, and still we wait for the new voices that will emerge and challenge this present status quo as much as Mr. Marquez had challenged his in his time.
As Samuel Johnson once wrote: “Men are generally idle, and ready to satisfy themselves, and intimidate the industry of others, by calling that impossible which is only difficult.”





Thursday, April 17, 2014


I’ve been thinking too much since I’ve turned 37. One of the things I’ve been considering is deciding on the age I will lie to other people for the next 5 years.
Is 35 pretty good? That says ‘I’ve been around” and also simultaneously “I’m not 40, so it’s still okay to date me”. I got too many grey hairs in my beard to go younger.
            I wouldn’t be the first person to lie about my age. Actresses have been doing it for years—I’m sure some fellas too. And I understand that ‘40 is the new 27’ or whatever (as all the people around say to make me feel better about this whole ‘adult-transition’ thing) but I don’t fucking buy it.
            The change has already started. I feel it. There’s already new paranoia, neurosis, physical ailments, all while staring at my empty wallet (cue cartoon fly buzzing out from my opened weathered wallet).
            Choosing the art path (if there could be one specific path) was a bad move. What is cute and charming about the artist life at 22 (squalor, greasy long hair, nihilism, a vagabond, ‘tortured’ nature) becomes tedious, dull, and plain sad when you are pushing 40.
            I remember being very young, thinking of my life at this age, and I just plain could not see it. I had visions of creating an amazing piece of art that would move the world (yes, I was 14 once too, you know) and I would be lauded for my genius and I suppose I believed a fanciful lace carpet would float down from the sky and pick me up. I would sail around the world, respected by many for my inspirational works that changed the hearts and minds of the inhabitants of this fine planet.
            Or that’s how my little 14-year-old mind envisioned. Exactly what sort of ‘work’ this would be is beyond me. I still don’t think I’ve created it (or even have the ability to do so).
            Now, sitting alone at a bar pushing 40, listening to the drunken babbles of wanna-be dreamers, half measured men, and blubbering philosophies of coke-addled women—all lost to the drink—I wonder:
            Why didn’t I just go for the regular job? Why did I decide upon a 20-year ‘adventure’ of serving people? From barista, to waiter, to finally, dive bartender—what was it I thought I was doing? Couldn’t I have picked a ‘real job’? Joined the ‘real world’?
            But what the hell is a ‘real job’ anyway. There are a few that escape the ‘golden handcuffs’ career of this lifestyle.
            Some have gone into the weekly paycheck world. The biggest complaint I hear, nursing a vodka and tonic: “Oh my God, I make no money! The government takes everything.”
This is the sad reality of that world. There is no cash out. There is no tax-free money stuffed into your beer soaked pants pockets.
Let’s go through the ‘real jobs’ I have considered over these whiskey-filled years. 

Years upon years of school and work, only to start at the bottom of the food chain, harassed by insurance companies and state issued ‘health care’ plans. There was the psychologist option. After all, how hard could it be? Listen to other people’s problems all day: Check. Analyze already present issues in the person: Check (Note: Alcohol is the greatest solvent between reality and truth. After consumption of many beverages, people get real honest.)
What ruined this option? Schooling. Money. Competition. My age. I believe this ship has passed for me. By the time I would be ready to go into my own private practice, I would be at least 45 years old. Not old, but I would have to drastically alter my current lifestyle choices. And leave New York City just so I could concentrate.  

Everybody knows this is a nation of lawyers. The only way not to eventually get fucked by one of these broods is to fight back with the same rules, and becoming a barrister is the greatest defense. Plus people always need a lawyer to protect themselves from other lawyers, so the want is strong.
But, again, the schooling, the years, and my current age again place this late stage game change a little far fetched. Knowing me, I would become a lawyer and consistently fight for the weaker party, which means I would become one of those bleeding heart liberal types, broke and squeezed into ill-tailored suits. I would start some class hatred shit (I have that terrible leaning) and probably become a pariah in the legal world.
Also the only place I would want to go to law school would be in New Orleans at Tulane. There would be a whole new slew of problems eventually, I can already see it. But that is a whole other blog.

It is a known fact I know everything about bars and the operations of them. But then I would become the enemy, since we of the bartending community know that most bar owners and managers are the worst power hungry, control freak types of people. I could do it, sure. But then I would be like them. And since I have a distinct hatred for all authority, I myself, would become the enemy. It would be a shameful day.
I was a manager once, and quite beloved of my staff. Because I knew the honest truth. The customer is always wrong. To serve people feeds into some kind of aristocratic need in people to be waited on like a Marseille King, although they lack the bloodline, the class, and the money befitted for devaluating someone by asking for that extra ketchup. I can’t even sit at a table in restaurants anymore without feeling guilt rage up my spine. The “Hi, welcome to blah-blah, hope all is well, have you guys decided on drinks?” makes me shudder. Please don’t treat me like a human. I’m not. I’m like you.
Servant Class.

I don’t know people. Maybe the cash that day golden handcuff lifestyle has finally grabbed me by the balls.
Like my mother told me when I was a kid: “Be careful, Matthew. What you choose to be part-time now may be your full-time future.”
I know, Mom. You were right.
But what now?
Where do I go from here?
This week, The Bartender doesn’t know shit.

Till next week.

                      HI GUYS. DR. MATTHEW HERE.