Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Buy me a drink, sailor?

posted Thu, 28 Oct 2004

Miss Manners says, “A generation ago, a lady would not have gone to a pub alone (unless she intended to be picked up, in which case she would not have been a lady).”

I write this as support for my case that reading a book while Harpo and the Snake Docs play is not a horrible thing.


I have tried to explain to Harpo that to me, the idea of sitting alone at a bar is beyond appalling. I was not raised that way! Yes, yes, yes, my parents met at a bar and my mom picked up my dad and he drove her home and they necked in the driveway until 4:00 a.m. and then his car got stuck in the snow and rather than wake my grandfather (who was rather grouchy before he had grandchildren) to pull him out, my dad called his brothers to get him, but that was different. My parents were from a very small town (like 400) and this was the bar in the bowling alley and everyone knew everyone else. This was the early ‘60s, for pete’s sake, in central Wisconsin. This was Happy Days. Richie. Potsie. Not even a Fonzie.

So I might have been raised a little bit that way but not really. Not enough that I feel comfortable sitting alone in a bar, especially when I do not drink. And cigarette smoke gives me a headache. What am I supposed to do? Just sit? I’ve invited friends to go with me, but my friends here are all married with children or with child, neither of which are combinations that make for spending a Friday or Saturday evening at a bar, even if the music is absolutely fabulous, which it is.

Leigh is taking a class from Professor Tom, the leader of the Snake Docs. She mentioned me to him. He responded dryly that I would be OK at their gigs because I always had a book. Apparently, Tom was raised to believe that women sitting alone in a bar are not strumpets, sluts, whores, or loose. (Or maybe not -- and he thinks I am one of those.)

Harpo also gets upset that I read. Just don’t come if you are going to read while we play, he huffs. I have tried to explain that I can hear and read at the same time and that the book serves as a defense shield – not that I worry so much about shooing the men away but that I feel so exposed sitting there alone.

Men must not ever get that feeling – of being exposed and vulnerable. Men will go into a bar alone on purpose. For fun. To drink alone. On purpose. Did I mention the on purpose part?

I cannot imagine the circumstances that would drive me to go to a bar alone for fun. I don’t even like going with other people. But alone? Going to a bar alone is not something a woman with any class or culture does. It is something trashy, inelegant, slutty, trampy, sleazy, whorish – I am running out of adjectives here but you get the idea. It is not something Nice Girls do.

Maybe I’m wrong. But Miss Manners is on my side on this

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