It's Monday night. The weekend's over, but you're still jimmied up, and you really need to get out and get some action, no matter what the cost.
Unfortunately, your friends have a firmer grip on reality than you do and they plan on getting some sleep because they do things like work, or go to school, and take their futures into consideration. You have no time for responsibility, 'cause you ain't no square mo'fo.
There are ladies out there waiting for you, and if you don't get to them first, somebody else will. Modern society has developed to a point where you can't just walk into your neighbourhood club by yourself.
First, there's the danger factor: clubs are getting increasingly violent and without an entourage, you may find yourself chewing on your own broken teeth after being accused of staring. Secondly, you suddenly have to front yourself all the alcohol and this can get quite expensive. But lastly, and most importantly, the intangible loser factor has just skyrocketed, and you might as well take your sister to the school dance.
The good news is that even though you are working with an extremely poor hand(in fact, you probably might as well stay in and work with your hand), there are options available, and it takes patience, social engineering, and a little bit of work to make the night eventful. There are a few routes you can take to try to land something good, but I will discuss only three that I have tried and have had relative success at.
They are as follows: working the bartender, making new friends, and being upfront.
Option 1: working the bartender
If you are between the ages of 18 and 22, bartenders, barmaids, and waitresses hate your freakin' guts. You think you're the king of the world, but they all know you're just a stupid dirtbag. Firstly, this age category makes them work the hardest, and on average, you tip the least.
You're too young to appreciate the services that they can provide for you. You're too stupid to spend the extra buck to get them on your side. Did you ever wonder why that time you downed 10 shooters and didn't even get a buzz? It's because they've been short-pouring and pantomiming your ass all night, laughing at you because you're telling everybody you're such a hardcore drinker.
Bartenders are like Switzerland. They hold no allegiances to anybody except for money. They are the whores of the alcohol world. They respond to dollar coins and paper bills, and nothing else. Trust me. If that hot girl behind the counter is smiling at you all night, she's been smiling at every other guy all night as well. You are not a stud. Keep your ego in check.
Money talks, and it talks most loudly when you're by yourself and you've got nothing else. The general rule of thumb is the fifty-cent ratio: for every 2 dollars you spend, it's a fifty-cent tip. If you buy a four-dollar drink, you throw five on the table, and if you expect change, you need a better paying job.
Don't even try to rip them off. There could be four hundred people in line waiting to get a drink, but bartenders know the sound of money and they remember the face of any el-cheapo punk. They will converse with the other bartenders about how much of a cheapskate you are. Ever had to wait a ridiculous amount of time between your first and second drink that one time you 'forgot' to tip? That shit doesn't happen by accident.
You can't get away with anything when dealing with bartenders. They are con artists. Talk to one, ask them to tell you a story, and sit back.
You won't believe the crap that these people have been through and poured onto others. However incarnately evil they are, a bartender has the power to make the ugliest bastard on the stool look like a movie star if the price is right.
Use this to your advantage because when you have a bartender on your side, you can do nothing wrong. Have you ever tried to mess with a bartender? Juice-monkeys would be on your ass faster than white on rice. There is no 'customer is always right' in the land of bars, just check the big sign in the Gashaus for the real truth.
In essence: when a bartender notices you, so does everyone else.
Option 2: making new friends
Get yourself a pack of cigarettes, even if you don't smoke. Walk into the place, and check your watch every so often, like you're waiting for somebody. Look around the place. What are you looking for? A couple of guys and an empty seat. The last thing you want to do is hit up a girl the moment you walk into an establishment. You need a base of operations, and you need time to settle down and weigh all your options. You need some old boys - though you don't know them, beer speaks loudly. Or a cigarette. With the prices of cigarettes these days, people are foregoing the free drink for some cancer.
If your in a joint where there is a no-smoking policy, that's even better for you. Your targets are everywhere you look. DO NOT BUM A CIGARETTE OFF OF ANYONE. First, you're alone. And second, people want nothing to do with leeches. You can try to offer somebody a cigarette, but they'll think you're hitting on them. You don't want to give off the gay vibe - unless, of course, you are gay, and I have no problem with that. I speak with a strictly heterosexual mindset.
Your ability to get pally-pal with people you don't know is a testament to your social aptitude. Very few people go out to not meet people - the people that go out looking for a shitty time end up being date rapists and school gym teachers. So, the atmosphere is in motion for you. The only issue is that people are generally just afraid to say hi to one another. Just take a deep breath, act casual, and make up some lame excuse that you're waiting for a couple of buddies to show up. Do whatever it takes - lie your ass off if you have to - you need some friends, and they are probably just as interested in picking up girls as you are. If you can sniff them out, anyway. Besides, it's a lot easier to take when she shoots you down in a group, rather than by yourself.
Once you get a posse established, refer to parts 1 and 2.
Option 3: being honest and upfront
Okay, so the first two methods fell through the roof and you're stuck with this last option - and unless you have balls big enough that you need to wheelbarrow them around, you should save this for the last ditch effort. People in bars and clubs like to watch one another. You get shot down, and people are going to notice. People aren't going to want to associate with a downed pilot afterwards.
The pick up line, 'can I buy you a drink?' is the most successful line in the history of picking people up. Unfortunately, this leaves you wide open for gold digging. A pretty girl can milk you into getting her drunk, and then suddenly, the boyfriend will show up out of the blue, and since you've probably been drinking with her as well, you'll be too drunk to defend yourself. But such is life, so be aware of the risks.
If you do end up landing a possibility, there are things you will not discuss and you've heard it before: Do not talk about how much money you make. Do not talk about sex. Do not say weird shit. Do not talk about other girls. You talk about yourself in not too much detail, and you ask her a lot of questions. Spend the whole time talking about her. Girls love talking about themselves no matter whom they are. Act interested.
If you see them running their hands through their hair, or adjusting any piece of clothing, you know you've won. It's a natural instinct in the animal world to groom themselves to look better for a possible mate.
Oh, and the real winner, once you get a conversation going - tell them stupid anecdotal stories about when you were a kid, or that one time in secondary school where you went to help some old man clear out an old flat, and he worked your ass off, and just when you were about to tell him to screw off, he hands you 500 dollars for the day. Chicks love stories like that.
Regardless of what anyone tells you, RELATIONSHIPS THAT ARE STARTED IN A BAR DO NOT WORK. If you have any friends that have been in a steady relationship for over a year, ask them where they met.
You will get very few 'at the bar' answers. First of all, people in a bar are looking to either score, or have a good night out. Very short term goals. As the relationship pans out, you'll realise that you really have nothing in common with that person and the relationship just fizzles. There is a definite three-month expiration date on bar relationships.
If you're looking for true love in the land of the bars, stop watching chick flicks, you moron.
Originally appreared in Distemper Magazine