Let’s just call him Carson. Carson is sloshy and has already been denied his first drink upon opening at 4pm.  I scan the bar and see him also getting denied a conversation with each woman sitting down. My colleague politely gives Carson a pint of water. Carson mosies on over to my well and in less than 5 minutes, I’m already the 5th woman he’s approached with a slew of compliments. I’m an awkward compliment-taker.

“Oh, you like my hair? Thank you, it’s covered in sugar syrup and egg whites.”

“I have a nice smile? That’s relieving, it felt like there was something in my teeth.”

Anyway, the compliments quickly turn into uncomfortable innuendos. Then he asks for my number. *Yay, I’m number 5!*

I’m usually much more graceful with my replies but I slip up. “Please stop targeting all of the women here. You should go talk to your friends.”

So he puts his sunglasses on and starts dancing, raising his eyebrows and extending his arms towards me saying, “Ya dig it?” I ask him to dance somewhere else. He continues. I ignore him for a while, thinking maybe he’ll just go away, but he keeps going.

“That’s creeping me out. Will you please go back to your table?”

Annoyed that I won’t acquiesce, he turns to my colleague and asks (inarticulately), “Does her confidence intimidate you?”

I obviously don’t know Carson well, but I know enough based on our exchange. We come across a handful of people like him in our trade: excessively drunk men who need liquid courage to approach women. I am lucky enough to work at the type of place you go to enjoy a nice cocktail and good company, not to harass the staff.  But alas, even “Carsons” want to hang out somewhere nice.

I’m not here to write about the men who have hit on me, or to act as a feminist in a predominantly male industry. I’m writing because I am deeply fascinated by the renaissance of elevated social drinking and very much enjoy high-volume, high-end cocktail bartending.

The Carsons of the city do not see a reason to respect the ambiance of quality establishments, but it will be alright. I feel privileged to be able to learn and share during a time when not everyone has caught on yet to the idea that bars don’t have to be just a place to get hammered. If being professional in a place where fun experiences are sold makes me seem self-assured, then Carson has gotten it right…  I’m confident as fuck.

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