A buddy invited me out drinking at this bar he'd talked of before.
"Look," he said, "if we are polite and mind our manners we just might get lucky." Luck had never been something I had associated with bars, but I really didn't need any luck at the moment anyway. For the record I will not be mentioning the name of this bar nor will I confirm or deny it's location. Sure it could be in Andersonville or Avondale or even by the Zoo. You'll just have to find it on your own.
When I had asked last time what sort of bar it was I had gotten a vague answer. "It's women friendly," he'd said", "but it's not lesbian. I mean lesbians are welcome and you will see them there. It's kinda feminist but guys are welcome too. It's just a comfortable bar for women."
"SO why are we going again," I asked?
"It's 'gentlemen's night.' Beer is cheap for us," is all he would say.
We entered the bar. It was inviting. More of a cafe feel than a bar feel. Yes there was an actual bar with bar stools but there were also tables scattered around and a few couches etc. I almost didn't notice the absence of a big sports tv with a game on. It was a comfortable bar. Also missing were loud booming male voices. In fact the men that I saw seemed more quiet than the women.
My host began in, "Now listen don't stare and don't draw anyone's attention." It was an odd thing to say, I thought to myself. I looked around. There were plenty of well dressed and not un-attractive women there. Some even sitting alone.
"What did I just say," he whisper hissed at me? "You gotta pay attention to me. Don't go eying the women."
The more insistent he got the more curious I became. I was here to hang with him and I was not in the market for a fling or even a chat-up. But the more he said the more I wanted to check the place out.
A server came over to us. "Good evening gentlemen. Have you been here before? Do you have any questions?"
I was beginning to have questions but I held my tongue. I would be following my buddy for now.
"No thanks. I've been here before," he said. "I'll fill him in as needed."
"Fine. Are you ready to order?"
He turned to me. "You like wine? They have a really good Bordeaux Blanc."
I had thought we were coming for beer. He was clearly a bit nervous. I figured the best thing to do was just to keep humoring him. I simply nodded. I was becoming talk shy. Afraid of making some faux pas.
After she had left I ventured that I was expecting beer. "I changed my mind. I think wine would look better."
I was becoming increasingly puzzled. To my mind there were two major considerations when choosing a drink: the taste and the alcohol content. Looks, to my mind, while interesting were not a consideration by themselves.
It was then that I noticed a table of guys. In fact, now that I thought about it the table had become noticeable in a stand out sort of manner. A server approached and tapped a man on the shoulder.
"No. No. I didn't do anything. What did I do? No."
"Ugh oh," my buddy said. "Now he's just digging himself in deeper."
"What," I asked?
"He should have quietly apologized immediately and meekly gotten up to leave."
"What? What did he do?"
"I don't know, and it doesn't matter."
Just then the server came over with two drinks. "Compliments of the lady over there," she nodded in the direction of the bar.
I looked and then looked back at my buddy. He said, "just nod thanks and return to talking to me. For gods' sake don't stare and don't get up."
In my quick glance and nod she seemed nice. What had gotten into my buddy?
"Look," he continued, "if she's interested in us she'll come over to our table. Whatever you do don't call attention to yourself now."
At that point I had had it.
"OK," I said,"what's going on here. You've been acting so strange. I'm starting to get worried about you. Tell me what's happening or I am out of here. What is this place anyway?"
"I thought I told you? I didn't? This is like a feminist bar. They have a very strict code of conduct for us guys. Number one is no hitting on the women. Don't even look like you're hitting on one. Never do anything that could even be construed as the 'first move.' That guy that got ejected, well he coulda been sent packing for just staring too long at some woman. And it wasn't even necessarily the woman he was staring at that got him ejected. Any woman at any time can ask that any guy be kicked out. She doesn't even need a reason. She just has to ask and they do it. And you never know who or why. Because there might not have been a reason."
"That seems unfair," I replied.
"Maybe it is but it's the owner's bar and the owner's rules. With alcohol they have a lot of leeway with the liquor commission in the conduct they can permit in their bar. And here it's one strike and you are out. Here they have zero tolerance for whatever they choose to call 'sexist behavior.' Their goal is to make it a very comfortable bar for women."
Just then the woman who had bought us drinks came over with a friend. "Hey hard butt studlies mind if we join you?"
Like he had told me, sometimes you get lucky. Just don't push your luck. Don't even tap it.