Saturday I was at home thinking about working on one of my 10 page English papers, but I decided to go to a bar instead. The last time I blogged about my trip to a bar, my social awkwardness got the better of me and I didn’t have a very good experience. To be honest, I’m not even sure why I wanted to go to a bar again, let alone why I wanted to go to one by myself.
The bar I went to was called Teddy Bears. It’s supposed to be a gay bar, but really it’s just a big black box that a bunch of guys hangout and drink in. I like it because it’s close and the drinks are really cheap. I got there around 6PM. The bar was full, so I had to stand around behind everybody with my $3 rum and coke. From now on when I’m by myself in a bar I’m no longer starting off with a rum and coke.
I felt awkward and out of place for a little while. Okay, the whole time. I just kind of stood and poked around on Twitter on my phone. Everyone there was mostly older “bear” guys, hence the name of the bar. I’m cool with that.
After my rum and coke, I put my phone away and tried to stand all strong and silent like. Some guys in white baseball caps said hey and I said hey back and then they went back to drinking. I felt exhausted already so I bought a beer and took a giant swig. An older guy in a red jacket stood beside me for a while and didn’t say anything. I pulled my phone back out a little later and hearted the replies I received on Twitter. There was one guy who I recognized at the other side of the bar, an older man who I’ve seen in there before and we talked for a minute. A spot back on the other other side of the bar opened up and I grabbed the seat and played on my phone with my drink there on the bar in front of me for a while. Someone bought me another beer after I finished that one and then I went home. I survived. It wasn’t the most exciting time, but it wasn’t as awful as I thought it would be.
On Sunday I decided that my Saturday experience wasn’t a fair enough experience to judge this whole going-to-bars-by-myself thing on its own, so I got back on the horse and went back to the bar. Maybe it was just a different crowd, but this time I actually got properly introduced to the regulars there and had such an amazing time. I played pool and lost. I think I only bought two drinks myself; the rest of the transactions were dealt with by the guy in the red jacket. I actually ended up closing the bar and managing to make it home after 4am. Normally I wouldn’t brag about this sort of thing, but this is actually a pretty big deal for me. I don’t hate bars now.
I think what it boils down to is that maybe I was so awkward at bars because I felt like I had to keep up with people. Going by myself freed me from that feeling and after some trial and error, I was able to have a pretty decent time. Going by myself is kinda scary, and I definitely won’t do it super often, but with proper limit-testing and transportation arrangements, I can probably do the by-myself-at-the-bar thing again sometime.
My Twitter followers really helped to cheer me on during my social experiment, and I’m very thankful for that. I’m not going to deny it; using Twitter to reach out to you guys while I was being socially awkward was probably the only reason I was able to strike up the nerve to go out by myself. Of course I’ll need to wean myself off of bar-tweeting if these outings continue, but I’m going to take it slow and take little steps as I feel comfortable. I’ll try not to go overboard. I’m going to own my shyness and not try to hide it as much.
Now I really have to work on my English paper.
Teddy Bears is a bar on 5th and Oak in Old Louisville. They make strong drinks.