Rules are meant to be broken

The two women who sat at the bar were of a “certain age.” Whatever that means is relative to one’s own age. A hot young mama to one person is a “ma’am” to someone else. Just as true for men too. That young stud to one, is a grizzled geezer to another.

But regardless of their age these two women had currently found themselves single. And it certainly didn’t seem to be bothering them. Both were professional, stylish, and sophisticated.

Gin martinis were ordered: dry, local, and cold. Extra cold. Not only were drinks ordered, but a short discussion on the drinks was offered. Not a meticulous neurotic controlling discussion about each step and why, but rather an imparting of knowledge from one person to another.

Bartenders are now known for talking about themselves, about their drinks, about their bars, but in days gone by they were known as listeners. And you know what? Listeners learn.

“I don’t like blue cheese stuffed olives,” mentioned the brunette. Her beautifully styled locks infused with just the slightest whisper of silver thread.

“The cheese melts in your drink and makes it cloudy.” She wrinkled her nose. “And who wants milk in their martini?”

I couldn’t have put it better myself.

“What you should try are parmesan stuffed olives,” she said in between sips of her twist garnished cocktail. “The cheese is hard, so it doesn’t dissolve.”

Her blonde friend looked at her, and then at me.

“Do you have blue cheese olives?” she asked.

“We do.”

“I’ll have those,” she said putting the twist in her drink – the twist she had been so happy about a minute before – on the bar, as if it was a discarded lover.

Birds of a feather might flock together, but not always, and sometimes they wander off on their own.

A man wandered over and offered to buy the lady’s drinks. Both women pulled up what I thought had been ascots or scarves to cover their faces.

“No thank you,” they said in unison.

Independence earned is not so easily given away.

I know a few servers who although vaxed, still wear masks, partly out of concern for others, and partly because of their concern about others. It’s a veiled way of saying “mutual trust” is still hanging in the air.

As with all groups of the same sex, eventually the conversation turned to the opposite sex.

“No married men is my rule,” replied the brunette to a comment I hadn’t heard.

The blonde woman’s response was lost in yet another request to buy the ladies a drink.

“No thank you,” said both women covering their faces with their scarves.

A business discussion, a vacation discussion, something about children and then the discussion returned to men.

“How are you ladies?” asked the man on cue, just two seats over.

The ladies turned but did not raise their scarves.

Names, occupations, interests and then the inevitable.

“Are you married?”

The answer wasn’t direct. Which was a sign of something, I’m sure.

The brunette pulled up her scarf ever so slightly. The blonde, however, did not.

“Do you like hiking?” asked the blonde.

“Does your wife?” asked the brunette.

“Do you like skiing?” asked the blonde.

“Does your wife?” repeated the brunette.

“Do you like Europe?”

“Does your wife?”

On and on the discussion went, as one scarf went higher, and the other one disappeared altogether.

The next time a drink was ordered it went a little something like this:

“Two gin martinis, ice cold, with twists.”

“Make one with olives, blue cheese olives. Oh, and make it vodka.”

“I’ll get those,” said the man.

“No thank…” started the brunette.

“OK,” interrupted the blonde.

Predators are known for separating the weak from the herd, but sometimes that separation is all voluntary. When the brunette left for the restroom, phone numbers were exchanged. And when she returned, a request for the check was proffered.

“I’ll get that,” replied the man.

A brief discussion ensued, resulting in a split check, an awkward handshake, an awkward hug and one peck on one cheek.

Leaving me to pick up one discarded twist and to have these thoughts:

-When one sex accuses the other sex of being “cheats” they always seem to forget that cheats need accomplices.

-Has anyone else noticed that the debate about veils in public seems to have disappeared altogether?

-There are some people who really don’t want to be told to wear masks. Ironically, many of them are perfectly OK with telling other people not to.

-If you don’t follow your wing person’s lead, wherever you land, or you crash, is entirely your own fault.

-Parmesan cheese olives, you heard it here first.

-People making bad decisions has fueled the human social drama long before there were either bars or bartenders.