BY GLORIA MARIS Really, I’m not in the habit of bringing home men from bars. I’ll recount two of them here. Keep in mind that the tales may not be too accurate, since they originated in bars. And furthermore, who knows how true are the tales men spin to me in bars? How true are the tales I spin in bars to men about myself?
One of my bar dates told me he was a world-class soccer player. He had been selected to play for the U.S. in the World Cup, but suffered some horrible back injury and could no longer play competitively. He accompanied the team for the trip and enjoyed the trip immensely — France 1998? Italy 1990? — but gave up soccer and went to engineering school instead. How true was his story? He was built like an ex-athlete: heavily muscled as if from years of training, broad shoulders as if from physical therapy to heal a back injury, a belly as if from working behind a computer during the day and hanging around bars at night. He name-dropped the owner of the gastropub several times and had come downstairs after celebrating some kind of dinner or get-together with a crowd of friends. He wrote his phone number on a coaster, but I never called him afterward because his friends had taken his keys from him. I don’t want to get involved with a man-child alcoholic again, even if he does have a soccer player’s stamina.
Several months earlier, I was studying in my “local,” a dive bar with very cheap basket food specials and continually discounted PBR but a few good offerings on tap. I did a lot of law school studying in this bar. Sometimes I would set up my laptop computer at a table in the early afternoon and prepare notes for the next couple of days’ classes. Sometimes I would simply take a casebook and a highlighter to the corner stool at the bar. Most of the time I’d last three pints, at which point I would join in on some nearby conversation, or another regular would stop by and I’d decide to be social, or I’d have had too many pints to study efficiently — after enough time had passed for me to finish three pints, I would do best to take a study break anyway. Some younger guy from the neighborhood was sitting a few stools down from me and was intrigued that I was drinking one of the local microbrews rather than a PBR or lager or Budweiser bottle. We talked about local microbrews, the lack of a wide range of choices at my local, and the wider range of options at the Belgian gastropubs here in Philly. We ended up at my place in short order. MORE