Well folks, looks like the end of this long covid nightmare could be in sight! Granted…I said the same thing at the beginning of April when I was overly optimistic about seeing F9 in theaters, and yet here I am, still a human-being who has not been graced with the privilege of seeing John Cena and Vin Diesel drag race in outerspace…but to be fair, there’s some numbers to back the optimism up this time.
They have seen a 90% success rate, which is pretty solid, but I’m cautious. I mean when I started doing this blog at 18 I thought there was a 90% chance that I’d be a famous radio host and/or Kanye West’s touring DJ. But here we are. Guess Kanye and I were both a little disappointed this weekend. He lost the presidential election and I lost in Mario Party. We are in equally low places in our lives.
Now look, this definitely doesn’t mean things are going back to normal, but at least it’s a glimmer of hope. Hope I desperately needed, because I was feeling especially nostalgic about the bars this past weekend. I got dinner with my roommates outside on Friday night and due to the 9:30 curfew, I was back at my house with no other plans than to play Nintendo Switch and drink with my roommate by 9:45. As great of a time as drinking lukewarm margaritas and playing Mario Party normally is, when that’s your big weekend plans, not great.
All I wished, is that I could turn my brain off, send a few “where u guys goin tonight” texts, and get disgustingly obliterated at an overpriced establishment in the city surrounded by a few close friends and hundreds of strangers. My mind was whirling with all the things I missed about bar culture, and I thought I’d share with you all. Here’s my top 9 things I miss about the bars.
9. Saving Money By Spending Hundreds at the Bar
Did you read that last paragraph? About how I went out to dinner and then was going to just play Mario whilst drinking tequila? That’s an expensive night. Every time I go out to dinner these days I think “welp, could be the last time in a while, might as well ball out” and then I drop $75 because I splurge on green tea shots, beer that you can’t buy at your local gas station and the pulled pork nachos (but to be fair, it was National Nacho Day on Friday, and I was just being festive).
Also, Mario Party? That cost way more than I’d like to admit. It’s like a $60 game and I had to buy 2 more controllers so we could do 4 player mode. Why did I buy it? BECAUSE I HAVE NOTHING ELSE TO DO. You know what cheaper entertainment is? Buying double-digit bud light bottles and splitting an $11 Uber X with 6 other people. I am a more frugal human being when bars are open somehow. It defines all logic, but it’s true.
8. Buying People Drinks
Oh when you read double-digit bud lights in that last paragraph you thought they were all for me? Haha, please! What do you think I’m some sort of lunatic who can’t control his drinking? No sir! No I switch it up, I get a Red Bull vodka right when I get in, then I get a vodka soda to make me feel skinny while I’m at the perfect “hey, maybe I could converse with a woman tonight” drunk, and then once that confidence disappears after about 3 minutes I hit the Bud Light Bandwagon and start doing one of my favorite things, buying other people drinks.
Buying people beers is like giving someone the feeling of finding $5 in their pocket, which is one of the greatest surprises in the world. It’s bond-building, it’s brotherhood, it shows you care. There have been nights where my friends are in the deep end in a pool of people. The men’s basketball team from the nearby college is standing in between them and getting another round at the bar. All hope seems lost. But then, all of a sudden, ducking underneath the point-guard’s elbow, they see me, holding 3 beer bottles by the neck with one hand. I went through hell and back to get them this beverage. Jon Snow in the Battle of the Bastards style. The DJ played “Calabria” and I gave up the opportunity to dance to it, for them. That goes a long way. It’s like volunteering at the homeless shelter except the people you’re helping are extremely privileged in almost every single way. And the next day, when they wake up wanting to vomit from dehydration, they’ll smile before that vomit hits the bowl, and think, “hey, that was real cool of mr. chickenparm to buy me a brew last night”. One last sweet thought before a day of pain.
7. Bringing Your Drink Into The Bathroom With You
Remember this! What an absolutely WILD time! I used to walk into the place where I pee and poop with an OPEN BEVERAGE. I’d plop the bottle right there on top of the urinal while I actually URINATED. Then I’d pick it up, wash my hands (like that actually did anything!), and go right back to it! Same beverage in hand! No worries about whether or not being gross was going to kill my friend’s grandma. That’s the world I want to live in.
6. Having the Chance to Talk To Girls But Not Taking It
Alright this one’s kind of a double-edged sword. On one hand, it has been amazing to have a go-to excuse for the embarrassingly long dry-spell I’m in.
Hey Bro, how the ladies treatin’ you these days
Well, guy who talks like a frat boy from an early 2000’s sex comedy, not good! But it’s not because I’m not handsome and cool, it’s because I don’t want Dr. Fauci aiming a sniper rifle through my window for breaking Covid protocol, OK?
But regardless of the good excuse, it would be nice to have the opportunity to talk to a woman. Like being able to go out and talk to someone other than one of the 5 male friends I do everything with would be super tight. Partially because it could end in a romantic encounter but also partially because all I talk about with my friends is Mario Party, Covid, my roommates new dog (who is an absolute waste of a cute conversation starter right now) and how Kanye wouldn’t be that bad of a president. That takes a toll on a man. You can only say “American Boy would make a great new national anthem” so many times.
I wanna talk about the Bachelorette and why Clare was right to call her run early. I wanna talk about what my astrological sign means and be like “cmon all this stuff is ridiculous” unless they say something good’s gonna happen and then get kind of optimistic for like 2 days. I wanna talk about how Ariana Grande’s new album was ok, but how 35+34 in particular is one of the most catchy songs I’ve heard in years. That’s all I want! Is that too much to ask? Just having the chance to do that, I don’t even have to take it, would be great.
5. Seeing Your Life’s “Guest Stars”
That’s right. In the TV show of my life, there are guest stars, and I almost only saw them at the bars, and that’s how I liked it. Would Jean-Ralphio be as good of a character if he was in every episode of Parks n Rec? NO! What makes him great is when a random one comes on and you’re like “oh let’s go this is a Jean-Ralphio episode!” I had the same experiences with my special guest-stars.
Nothing better than when you show up to the bar and you’re ordering and you see, from across the bar, it’s Jimmy from high school! No way! Last time I saw this kid he was break-dancing around a full shot of fireball on the dance floor! We ended up walking through a McDonald’s drive-thru! He asked if the McRib was back in a British accent it was absolutely hilarious! Oh man tonight is gonna be crazy!
Jimmy’s not a guy I would invite over to my house to watch Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, that’s main character stuff. But Jimmy’s getting bumped in to in the bathroom of the local bar and is gonna buy you tequila shots even tho you just threw up in the toilet. Because that’s what guest stars do. They’re wild cards. Wild cards that have been begging to be dealt for months.
4. Doing Obnoxious Bar Tricks That Annoy Everyone But Your Friend Group
If you have come out with me and my friends in the past 2 years or so, you probably had an amazing time participating in one of our bar gags. And if you were at a bar with me and my friends in the past 2 years, but you didn’t know us, you probably thought “who are those a-holes taking up 40 square feet of the bar doing Irish step dancing over an empty Miller Lite bottle?”
I LOVE busting out some hilarious bar tricks. I’m talking dancing around an empty beer bottle and trying to get extremely close to it without knocking it over. I’m talking using my beer as both a microphone AND guitar and playing along passionately to the song on at the current moment. I’m talking taking off my belt and starting up a limbo competition on the dance floor. All of these things are hilarious, exciting, ridiculous, and fun…if you’re with us. Otherwise, I acknowledge I am being annoying. But right now I’d turn the annoyance up to 10 just to be drunkenly crab-walking on the moist floor of a bar in order to win the night’s limbo competition.
3. Having to Care Even a Little Bit About How You Look in Public
Not gonna lie, in the past 8 months I’ve gone from a soft 7 to a rigid 4. I’ve gained weight, I let my hair grow out far too long, I’ve had absurd facial hair, and why? Just because I have no one to impress anymore. If I was going to the bar I’d shave every 3 days, I’d make sure my hair was trim and styled, I’d make sure I had cool shirts and jackets to wear. But now? This is my favorite T-Shirt,
and this is what I was letting my face look like IN PUBLIC.
That is not the appearance of a man who has the will to live. That is the look of a man who decided “welp, I have no control over my life, might as well look funny while we spiral into despair”.
I was walking around the other day in rolled up jeans, tevas and a Star Wars shirt my mom bought me at Kohl’s and it didn’t cross my mind once like “oh, people are making judgements about me”. I need that kind of pressure. Guys like me don’t wake up with good reputations. I’m not a natural 7, I had to work for that. Since everything went down, I’m back to my god-given 4 status. It’s atrocious really. We need bars to wake guys like me up. It would just be a swift slap in the face to say GET YOURSELF TOGETHER. YOU GOT ABOUT A 4 YEAR WINDOW BEFORE YOU HAVE A FULL ON BEER GUT AND PAUL GIAMATTI’S HAIR. DON’T BLOW IT.
2. Not Having to Make Plans
Ugh. What a treat this was. Remember this? When you didn’t have to make a dinner reservation a week in advance so you could sit outdoors? When you didn’t have to buy things like Mario Party just to entertain yourself on a Friday night? When you just woke up, on a Saturday, and knew…that was the plan. Go to the bar. That’s it. Simple. Maybe you get a pregame invite somewhere, great. But if not? Just you, your close friends, go to the bar. Was it repetitive? Of course. I started to resent it because of how many times I did the same thing in a row. But now? Never taking it for granted again. I will literally uber to the same bar, get the same drinks, have the same awful hangover every weekend and you won’t hear a peep from me. Not having to craft a plan other than that was a gift. I ran out of things to do a long time ago and the time where I thought I was going to be able to be productive during quarantine ran out back in March. We need the routine back. Badly.
1. Getting Disgustingly Sweaty and Out-Of-Breath from Shredding the Dancefloor Too Hard
Over the past few months I’ve really realized how euphoric this experience was. My god. Nothing brought me more joy than being precisely hammered, getting out into a congested dancefloor, and absolutely losing it on the d-floor. I’m jumping around like an 9th grader at a homecoming dance, the DJ is playing a Flo-Rida song, I take off my jacket because the pit puddles are starting to form, and I am just belting out every single word. For something so infused in alcohol and darkness, it is one of the most wholesome experiences one can have. Pure vulnerability. When that happens, it doesn’t matter how much I spent at the bar, how many girls I didn’t talk to, how many times the McDonalds employee had to tell Jimmy “no sir, the McRib is NOT back. And also, that’s more of an Australian accent than a British one”, in that moment, all is forgiven. The night is a success. Life. Is. Good.
So please, although we’ve had multiple false alarms on things getting better with Covid, I really hope this one comes to fruition. Vaccine approved by December, widely distributed by Spring, Bars are back and ready for me to sweat all over their dance floors by Memorial Day baby. Keep the faith. We got this folks.