What I Learned About Marriage From Bartending

As one of my first post on this site I want to begin by sharing some background information about my life experiences.

These will likely be intermixed throughout. As you have possibly read, I am currently a therapist…you know a well-rounded, even keel, always express myself appropriately therapist…can you hear the sarcasm in my key-strokes?

Well, I wasn’t always this optimistic about the concept of marriage. I was a bartender…at a smutty bar. Is that a word?

Needless to say, I was surrounded by a lot of people that, behaviorally, expressed a distaste for marriage or at the very least their own marriage. I bartended at a variety of bars from the time I was 21 until I completed graduate school around 26, 27.

There were many aspects of this job that I enjoyed such as freedom, the cash, the notoriety in a small neighborhood where bartenders were a big deal and pinned after.

Being a bartender, or anyone in the service industry, you know this is somewhat of a game and unfortunately for the customer, they are often the catch in that game or rather their money :/

Manipulation tactics are used whether it be a smile or an innocent brush of your hand on theirs as you pass back six ones in change rather than a five and a one to coerce the customer into thinking they are meaningful in order to get an extra dollar.

Over and Over and Over again until your shift is over.

Unfortunately for the customers, predominantly male customers, this was not typically a one time or temporary transaction taking place as one often experiences with a waitress at dinner or even when getting a haircut at the salon. What I mean by that is, we often had repeat customers or what one in the industry calls “regulars.”

Thus…being a bartender and having to continue applying these tactics throughout the interaction as people typically stick around for more than one drink…or at least that is also part of your goal in the game…you have to keep this charade up for an extended period of time.

And then when these customers keep coming back and keep coming back and this tactic is applied over and over again and this cloud begins to form around reality.

If you are doing your job well these people actually think that you care about them as a person, you care how their day was, and that you are really friends. Now, I realize this is a very logical and applied manner of viewing people in the service industry and frankly, quite cold hearted and manipulative.

I’m not here to say that this is always the case or was always the case with myself, so I ask when you apply your judgments please apply them to me only and do not generalize them to ALL bartenders or ALL service industry workers.

I can say honestly that as a psychology student taking classes on social psychology and theories of human behavior…I did find some pleasure in seeing how I could apply these tactics to increase my monetary gain to its fullest potential.

For this I do feel to this day like a HORRIBLE person.

Not to say that there were not some regulars and people I served that held a special place in my heart and I genuinely cared how they were doing. I mean I did work in the same small neighborhood as a bartender with the same customers for years and saw most of the same people multiple times a week.

You may be asking yourself at this point…dear God what is this awful person trying to say about marriage and why should I be listening to her?

Well it has a lot to do with the viewpoint that I developed for these creatures called men that sat at the bar across from me drooling over their drinks instead of being at home with their families.

As you begin to have these conversations of “expressed interest” in people, because ya know I was learning all of these cool things about how to increase the odds that someone will like you in school and asking questions about their lives was part of the deal…you begin to find things out.

And again, I ask that all of you continue to NOT generalize your judgments to ALL men having a drink at the bar as I tended to do. I simply want to tell you of my life experience and how they shaped my view of marriages and relationships.

As I continued to apply these tactics and be successful in them, I began to decrease in my level of respect for men. I would see men sitting at the bar after work by themselves flirting with the bartenders, handing them all of their money because of a smile, because of a wink.

They are in this cloud of feeling wanted and feeling like they are so interesting to this woman.

Well, men, likely knowing that this is all a game and part of the bartender making money, let their egos and their desires to be wanted get in the way and for a brief time while in that bar they think this is real…..

I often wondered what it was that these men did not want to go home to?

Because of these experiences as a bartender, I have always had this thought, this desire to have a full and happy marriage, to have a husband who is happy to come home after work. A husband who feels wanted and interesting and fulfilled to the point that he does not need to go and find that from a random…or regular bartender he see on Tuesdays at 6:30 each week.

I felt determined to be a wife that my husband bragged about, that did not share his experiences of a nagging wife with his friends.

SO I ask you wives…if your husband is at the bar after work ...what is he searching for that he is not getting from you?

Does he need to get an extra smile from you or a sexy wink as you pass each other in the hall rather than bitching at him to clean up the kitchen?

If you give him that smile and wink he may be more invested in cleaning up the kitchen on his own accord just as he is willing to give a little extra tip (ewe I just heard my husband in my head..”that’s what she said”…not that tip let’s hope!) to that bartender showing him interest.

Oh…and the best part..neither of you will be feeling that awful resentment!

You know what I’m talking about…you are mad because he is not taking the initiative to clean the ring in the toilet that he acts like he can’t see forming, and he is cursing you in his head as he cleans it that you “are not my mom!”

No one wants to fuck their mom…more on that later!

BS 11.2018

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Just wanted to tell you that I really enjoyed reading this post.

Jenny Bhatia

This is so true, but it goes both ways! Both sides need to pay attention at home, appreciate each other, make an effort to be an equal team, and make each other feel wanted. Not sure why I went off on that, but as a therapist, you may know😎


Absolutely, we need to ask oursleves these honest questions. (Goes both ways, though!) Enjoyed reading this post on many levels!