I write a version of this blog, once a month, for local magazine Outline. I get 250 words or so each issue, about a quarter page, and I focus on something amusing that has happened to me, in a local Norwich pub, while I mention a beer. Or two. I'd like to say it's all organic and practically writes itself, but it doesn't. I usually end up realising I have a deadline looming at the end of the week and frantically rack my brain to find a pub I haven't written about before, that I actually want to drink in, then find someone who wants to come with me. It's not usually difficult, as being in a pub is awesome.
But, being a writer and gal-about-town, I don't always need or even want someone to drink with me, so occasionally head out on my own. The right pub can feel like a home from home, a place where you know people enough to be in their company but can be left alone if required. This was one of those occasions. It is unusual, still, for women to drink alone in pubs, but being the eye-catching chick I am (currently with half-shaved blue hair and tattoos) I tend to find that people either do their best to ignore me or will strike up a conversation for the entire evening.
Most of the time conversation is welcomed, as the general population of Norwich are lovely and I like chatting to new people, especially new people who appreciate a decent beer. Occasionally it takes a turn for the creepy and slightly saddening. Unfortunately today ended up being the latter. This isn't a rant about how awful it is when guys approach girls and chat them up. Done correctly that should always be a compliment, whether it turns into something more or not, but over the last few months I've been approached by a few chaps who managed to make it a very sad affair, not only for themselves but for decent chaps (and chappesses) who enjoy a drink and a chat without their partner from time to time.
I clocked this particular chap as soon as I walked in. He was the youngest of three guys at the bar and eyed me for a little longer than was completely necessary. Well, I do have blue hair, so fair do's. Then he came and chatted to me. No problem there either, all polite and friendly. Then he asked if the barman was my boyfriend. Negative, just a mate. Did I have a boyfriend? Yes I did. Again fair enough, I appreciate someone being up front, life's too short etc. Was I waiting here for him? No, just here having a drink on my own. Odd question, but the guy was a good few beers ahead of me so, benefit of the doubt. After that he offered to buy me a drink, which I accepted (as he knew I had a fella I didn't see any chance of leading him on by having a pint). We chatted a little longer. He spoke to the two blokes next to us at the bar. One had recently had a baby. Drunk chat-up guy said his girlfriend was expecting a baby soon and he was worried about it.
Yep, you heard right. Girlfriend.
If you're thinking 'well he didn't actually ask you out, he's done nothing wrong', strictly speaking that's true. But if a guy is asking if you have a boyfriend and where he is, he's interested and trying to actively get somewhere. End of.
He then bought himself another drink and invited me back to his house as he and his mates were having a party. "I don't know about you, but when I get drunk I just want to have lots of sex".
How interesting. Oh no actually, how awkward and creepy.
After turning down his kind offer of joining him and his friends, he persisted with his invitation.
"I did say I had a boyfriend"
"Oh yeah, you did. I've got a girlfriend but, y'know"
Unfortunately yes, I do know. Still not interested.
He left soon after, but not before discussing with the neighbouring chaps how he wanted a 'blowie' when he got home.
This whole exchange not only creeped me out, but made me very sad. I felt sorry for his girlfriend. I felt sorry for myself actually (do I come across as the kind of person who cheats on someone? Am I worth that little?) and I felt sorry for the two other guys at the bar too.
After Creepy McDrunkard left, they looked at me with a mixed expression of 'How weird/gross was that?' and 'Are you ok?'. They then told me about their girlfriends and babies and how they had to leave soon as because they'd promised to be home by a certain time and didn't want to be late. How they liked their partners and didn't take the piss by rolling home smashed. How guys like that gave nice guys a bad name, and made girls paranoid about 'letting' their men out on their own. One told me I should meet his girlfriend as we'd really get on. The other insisted on showing me a photo of his new baby girl, the massive grin on his face partly made up for the previous hour or so.
Unfortunately the horrible part of that evening is not unusual. It won't stop me going out on my own, and it won't stop me talking to people (as my faith in people refuses to be shaken), but it will contribute to the growing girl-paranoia that leads to pub-bans and arguments. Don't get me wrong, it's not just girls who do the 'are you going to the pub again?!' rant. I'm constantly grateful to be with someone who let's me be myself, and go to the pub alone and as many times as I like, who trusts me not to be a cheating dick (although with Creepy McDrunkard around I'd rather stay at home with my chap, so maybe that's his thinking?).
My point is (if there is one to be gleaned from this) if you've got a nice partner, let them go to the pub. It will make them happy and more likely to come home to you.
If you don't trust your other half to be out drinking without you, ask yourself why that is?