Is it the season of giving? Or getting?

“Have you seen Johnny lately?” asked the woman in a dress so low cut in the front that it might not have actually qualified as clothing. In fact, the neckline was so low as to actually qualify for a waistline instead.

I contemplated the risk/reward to Johnny of answering that question honestly. Then steeled in professional resolve I answered it the only way I could.

“I may, or may not, know a Johnny. And I may or may not have seen him lately,” I said. “Which is exactly the same thing I would tell Johnny if he asked me about you.”

I don’t think she really appreciated the subtlety of that answer, but considering her charms were on full display, I didn’t think subtlety was her milieu.

“Who want to buy me a drink?” she asked.

There were no takers, which considering her state of undress certainly indicated her level of charm, or even, charms.

Keeping confidences is part of a bartender’s job. It’s not a requirement, but often it is rendered as a courtesy. Up to a point. Some years back one of my co-workers friends stopped by the bar with a woman who was not his wife. Their friendship wasn’t clear until he began to feel her knee.

Maybe they were good friends?

Then he kissed her.

Really good friends?

My co-worker pulled him aside.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“I kinda figured there was ‘bar confidentiality’,” said his friend.

“I know your wife. I know your children. They come to our house. Don’t involve me in something like this by bringing it in to my work.”

Subtlety wasn’t that guy’s milieu either, because clearly, he had never thought of that possibility. But when someone is more interested in the getting (even during the season of giving) the possible ramifications of such can go right out the window.

“This man wants to buy me a drink,” said Ms. Lowcut, literally pulling a man by the arm through the crowd.

“Uh, sure,” the man said.

Once his duty was done, she turned slightly towards another woman sitting at the bar with her husband. Because of the angle I assumed her lack of ornamentation wasn’t obvious.

“Your husband is cute,” she said. “Does he have a brother?”

“He does,” replied the other woman.

“I’d like to meet him.”

What followed was a brief introductory spiel about said brother, during which Ms. Lowcut seemed interested, right up until her drink was finished.

“Buy me a drink?” she asked the woman.

“Uh, I don’t know,” she said looking at her husband. He just shrugged.

“I’ll tell you what,” said Ms. Lowcut turning fully towards the couple. “Buy me a drink and I will meet his brother. In fact, I might even go home with him.”

The couple laughed, at first, and then when the woman just looked at them, they laughed again, this time nervously.

Sometimes when you sit next to someone at a bar, a conversation will start. It is a public place with people, and you are sitting right next to them. But occasionally, a conversation will go along amicably and then something happens. It can be subtle or gross, but you suddenly realize that you are talking to someone that you would rather not be talking to. And this was exactly one of those moments.

“In fact,” said Ms. Lowcut. “I’d even go home with your husband.”

This seemed to catch the married woman off guard. Because it was not quite the compliment as was intended. And coupled with her now full frontal view of the other woman, she might have just realized that she no longer wanted to be a part of this conversation.

Her husband shook his head, as if to say, you got yourself into this, now get yourself out. And then the ante was upped.

“I’d even go home with the both of you,” added Ms. Lowcut much to the other woman’s discomfort. “And his brother,” she added pointing.

Conversations entered into are sometimes hard to exit. Or at least exit gracefully. Especially when you are sitting right next to someone in a busy bar. But the married woman did her best. Ultimately to no avail. The only option left was to get up and leave. Ever a kind person, she offered her hand to the other woman in a gesture of goodbye.

That was a mistake. The other woman clung to her hand. “Please take me home, you won’t regret it,” she cooed.

When the couple finally left, Ms. Lowcut looked around.

“Anyone want to buy me a drink?”

The couple to her left looked away, the single man a seat down looked away. And so did I.

Leaving me with these thoughts:

-If you willingly enter into a conversation, don’t expect the bartender to get you out of it.

-Is it the season of giving? Or getting? I have forgotten.

– Warm Northern California Decembers can have unforeseen consequences. The same goes for chilly evenings.

-I have never bought a drink for someone who has asked. And that has served me well.

-I think Johnny might have dodged a bullet.