When last call means more than ordering a final drink before the lights flash and the bar closes.
It was the third night in a row that I found myself at one of Boston’s newest hotspots. I was there for business, social, and business mixed with social. On the third night, my role was to chaperone or “wing-girl,” an introduction between a business associate and a girlfriend, and lucky me, it came with the bonus of being able to chit-chat with my bartender d’amour.
My girlfriend and I arrived early and grabbed prime seats at the bar while my business associate tied up his boat. Unbeknownst to me, he was bringing a friend. A very handsome, well-built, muscular, jaw-dropping gorgeous friend!
Prior to their arrival, I shared a few teasing words with my bartender and then ordered drinks. Feeling flirtatious and excited at the impending introduction, I ordered a Texas Mule, to which my bartender gave me a sideways glance because I am forever a champagne drinker. He was extra attentive. I felt we’ve been off track recently, so it was truly enjoyable to be the apple of his eye. The timing of an unplanned, random, handsome guy may not have been the best.
The “boat” guys decided to change venues. Well-built, cute guy, paid the tab signaling it was time to leave. My bartender gave me another glance. I told him I would try my best to be back later and he rather coldly told me, “I’m the first to bounce tonight and may not be here when you get back, so do what you need to do.” I didn’t understand his tone; we were not dating, but just casual friends-with-benefits. It wasn’t an arrangement with any sort of consistency. I wondered if he was the jealous type, or was it something else?
Feeling awful, I texted him: “Wing-girling tonight but would have preferred to stay and chat with you.” I never received a response and I didn’t hear from him again until two weeks later. He texted to see if I had any plans for the day. I shared that I would be home until late that afternoon. He replied he would stop over when he was done. It had been several weeks since we seen each other and I was looking forward to his visit. He never showed up. He didn’t have the decency to text or call and say he wasn’t going to make it. Fortunately, I had not cancelled my evening plans in expectation of him coming over. Yet I was mad. What ever happened to common courtesy?
A week later, he reached out to me. The text banter followed the same pattern of his sex-filled porn, only I wasn’t as excited by his sexting this time. My responses were apathetic and programmed. He asked if he should come over to my place or go home and try another time. At that moment, I realized I wasn’t interested in his company. I told him I was at a business event, maybe another time. I wasn’t sure why I said that because I knew there wouldn’t be another time.
I’ve popped in and out of the bar since then only to have him be outright rude to me. He would ignore me until he had no other option but to finally take my order, and once he did, he would walk away as soon as the last syllable left my lips. I could choose to go other places, but the restaurant is a neighborhood staple and I am not running away because he is no longer interested in me. The feeling is mutual, his actions just sucked.
One afternoon I stopped into the bar to meet a friend. My ex bartender was chatting with her, and didn’t even look in my direction. THAT was my last call. In that moment, I confirmed to myself how valuable my time was and that it shouldn’t be wasted on someone inconsistent and unreliable. Hot one text. Cold the next. Deep down, I knew I should only be with those who truly and genuinely want to be with me, but his actions still hurt. I was tired of giving more attention to this guy, who could walk past me like I was a bottle of Two Buck Chuck, when I would treat him like a bottle of 1945 Chateau Mouton-Rothchild.
It was time to fully close-out the bar tab with my bartender and to preserve the dignity I still had. As I walked away, I had a fresh confidence in my step. I walked through my front door and wasted no time in deleting him from my contacts and all forms of social media. I took it one step further and deleted Mr. Professional Athlete too. It was cathartic and stimulating, and it felt good. There was no scorn. It was a relationship that played itself out. I poured a glass of Pinot Noir and audibly said “Cheers!”