We have all heard the adage "drown your sorrows" and that usually involves sitting on a stool clutching a beverage of the alcoholic variety at your local bar. There are other people at the same bar who are, perhaps, doing the same thing, and there is one brave soul behind that bar that paves the road to recovery. Your bartender can be your best friend, but at the very least, he can be your best therapist. And I have six good reasons why he or she may outdo a clinical therapist. Of course, it is all subjective, but let's just entertain the notion for a moment.
We're funny AF
Let's face it, life is funny. How are we truly expected to survive it without a little laughter (and maybe some cocktails)? When you come in the bar, the comedian behind the porcelain/wooden/stainless steel fortress is sure to greet you with a super cheesy grin and a "what can I getcha?" And we are bound to shoot off a hilarious joke in the process. Thus, begins the exchange of shots -- pun intended -- in which you and your bar bestie communicate. We know all of the lines that will have you rolling, and we are truly incessant as we try to emote the ideal amount of life's best medicine with hilarious jargon (yeah, we repeat this stuff to multiple patrons) to assist that Jameson in making you feel better about your life.
We keep your secrets, and your confidence, high
You hate your job? Cool. We are with you on that. We also think you work too many hours for too little pay. You haven't walked your dog all day? We got you! We're sure he is potty-trained, and normally you really do right by your four-legged kid. That little bitty you brought in on Thursday night Isn't your wife? Duh. It's ok, we all occasionally need a break from real life (some more than others). We know all. We are here to make your drinks and tell you jokes to make you feel better about yourself and your life. We care not about who you drug in with you from the dive up the street. We are the master protectors of the helm of secrets that almost every patron trusts us with. Admittedly, we are much better at keeping those truths stowed away in our liter bottles, when we are aptly compensated.
We are better at keeping a straight face when wifey is with you.
You and the missus walk in, and the bar full of regulars is now abuzz. And the flies are buzzing because they know, and you know they know, that just last night, the bitty on your arm did not resemble the woman tonight with the carats on her finger. So, we play it off, because, after all, we are only here to make drinks. And we smile and laugh, and we talk about your kids, and your wife and kids' trip out of town, while you (ahem) bonded with your pup all night long. All the while, we smile and nod, and nod and smile. And you sweat and dodge. Never fear! We shall save the day! We craft the absolute perfect Cosmo and some more on down the line, and we keep wifey smiling while you're drowning in nervousness. Relax, dude, she may find out, but it won't be here.
We pour your anecdote in a shiny little glass
1.5 oz, 10 oz, 16 oz, we have all sizes of meds that can help you in your life. A pint of beer will take the edge off. Ahhh, that barley and hops sure do calm a dude down. That bourbon and ginger cocktail will work a tad better, and may even make you social with others. Maybe you're feeling extra aggravated, and need liquid courage just to say hello. Yep, that sparkling little jigger packs enough punch for the high-stress days. We are sure to only prescribe you with what you Need, and stop short of what you Want. Easy tiger.
We only expect nominal payment, unless you get crazy with it.
When it is all said and done, our bill/tab/scripts pale in comparison to that of a real live therapist. That is, if our method is not used frequently and in high volume. We are more than prepared to make you laugh, keep your secrets, not let on, and pour what you need; as long as you understand that your bottom line includes OUR gratuity, we are cool as a fan. Rest assured, when our bottom line is affected by the lack of Your bottom line, it then may better serve you to go find that licensed therapist.
We've been there, Bro
Perhaps the main reason why it is so easy for bartenders to offer counsel in times of need is because we can relate. We, too, have sat on the bar stool, waiting our turn to tell our cocktail champion the details of our shift, or the latest drama at our bar. We, too, need to unwind and spew after a hard day's work of advising others. We have our favorite spots that we choose to receive therapy, and our actions are almost identical to yours. We get it. All of it.
And at the end of the night, when you're paying up and preparing to call it, do not apologize to us. Just say thank you, and press that bill into our palm. We got you! We have heard it all before, and our advice goes a long way when paired with a cocktail or a brew. We have helped people out of jams, made love matches, listened to them laugh and cry many times over. And one thing is true: we make it to work everyday to do it all over again. So come, sit on our proverbial couch and pour out your life. We are right here, waiting to listen (and medicate).
This piece originally ran on Shana Swain's blog, feedmetipme.wordpress.com