Life Beyond the Bar Scene: Does it Exist?
Apr 2011 14

Life Beyond the Bar Scene: Does it Exist?

Posted In Blog,Booze,Favorites,Food & Drink,Love,Relationships,Sex,Society

by Laurelin

When I first came up with the idea for this column, the name “Life Beyond the Bar Scene” just seemed perfect. The life I lead is so immersed in the service industry that I really can’t see past it right now; everyone I know in Boston I met at a bar. Literally, everyone. Everywhere I turn, it’s bartenders, servers, bouncers, barbacks, nightlife, my life. It wasn’t always this way.

When I first moved to Boston from Rhode Island five years ago I was escaping the coastal college bar scene that had become my life. After waitressing in restaurants though high school and waitressing in bars, nightclubs and strip clubs through college I was desperate for change – I called it the life of strobe lights and glitter. With the threat of becoming too tan, too skinny, and too hung up on easy money, I ran to Boston with a new 9-5 job as a preschool teacher five years after graduating college.

After almost a year of lonely early nights and lonely early mornings teaching, I gave up. Waking up with the sun, coffee and toast for one in the morning, packed lunch for one in the afternoon, and a rushed cooked dinner and TV for one in the evenings wasn’t for me. Coming home exhausted to the cat every afternoon around 5, looking forward to weekends that ended too quickly, trying to date but not having the time – God, I am getting nauseous just thinking about it. So, I came crawling back to the only other thing I had ever known – bars.

I started waitressing and instantly had a Boston family; I couldn’t have been happier. Ever since my first night at that restaurant on Brighton Avenue in Allston it began again – the bar scene life that other people leave behind in their early twenties was now going to see me into my thirties. It was ready and waiting for me with open arms, and I dove back into them, telling myself that I would leave when I was ready; the money is too good, the hours are too easy, and for now, this life fits who I am. Hell, I even got hired to write about it!

But the line between my professional life as a waitress turned bartender and nightlife writer and my actual personal life has lately become blurred. Where does the job end and the lifestyle begin? Can the two ever really be separated? I was unable to date in the 9-5 environment. The one guy I was with for a while was ten years older than me, and even he said I wasn’t giving him enough time. I fell off the planet after a few months, figuring with our age difference it wouldn’t have worked out anyways. He recovered quickly so I was told, and when I ran into him next he was with a woman his age. I couldn’t help but be a little jealous, even though our parting way had been my choice.

Once I got back into the service industry I was back in action. I met some really amazing guys my age, dated, hooked up, had some amazing relationships…but all with servers, bouncers, or bartenders – I was happy with these guys, but we all had the same problem: the nightlife. We were all wild. When it comes to relationships, I’ve always told guys that they need to keep up or get out. Other industry people understand me, they understand the life.

I’m not easy to keep up with; I’m not exactly the mild mannered little girl you want to take home to meet your parents. That’s what I keep telling myself anyways. The reality is actually quite different, although lately I have been questioning my ability to find a balance. After my last relationship ended six months ago I can’t help but feel like two different people. I keep asking myself, what’s the difference between who you are when you’re single and who you are when you’re in a relationship?

I truly believe the service industry has effected me and what I expect out of guys and relationships in general. I’ve always come off as tough, crass, and sarcastic – and that is who I am – but there’s another side under there somewhere. I am a hopeless romantic. I believe in fairy tales, love at first sight, soul mates. I like wild nights out, but there’s just something nice about having someone to come home to, quiet nights in, and routine. Those are things that you rarely find when you’re dating within the bar scene.

That hopeless romantic isn’t around much these days,. Up until six months ago she was me, and she believed in happily ever after. I don’t even know that person anymore. I’d say that I don’t recognize myself, but I know exactly who this crazy girl is. She’s my worse half, and for some reason she keeps looking for answers on the bottom of a bottle of Jameson.

This lifestyle is literally dousing gasoline on what was already an out of control fire, and all I can do is stand and watch. Back in September it was justifiable. I was just out of a serious relationship and needed to get back out there. Now it’s just taken a turn for the weird. I literally see myself acting a certain way or saying certain things, and it’s almost like I’m watching someone else sabotage my life. I’m my own nightmare, waking up mornings and just thinking, “Oh God, not again…”

I know that I’m a handful, and that nothing is ever easy. “Keep up or get out” seems to be where I’m at right now, even though in the back of my mind I know I can’t do it forever (nor do I want to, honestly). All I can do right now is work on finding a balance. Is there a life for me beyond the bar scene? I think so. I hope so. Because I’m exhausted.