hey pretty

Ceci n'est pas une "dating blog."

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Why 30 Year Olds Should Not Frequent College Bars

I was excited to receive an invitation from Val to attend a happy hour at McFadden's last Saturday. I've recently been drawn into her excellent circle of wonderful friends, and was delighted at the prospect of spending time with a few of these fab men and women. I had been to McFadden's before for various kickball events, but never on a weekend. I knew its rep as a college bar, due to its proximity to GW and Georgetown, but had yet to experience the establishment in its full raucous glory.

Those who know me are familiar with my ability to get down. Despite 10 years of ballet & jazz training I'm not much of a dancer. But I do know how to drink, and always relish the opportunity to let off some steam by kicking back a few adult beverages on a weekend. Problem is, I can't drink as much as I used to. Over the past several years my tolerance has taken a nose-dive, and now several beverages leave me feeling sluggish and looking tired and worn out. But that never seems to keep me from trying. Normally, I limit such activity to dives and the occasional upscale hotel bar. Atmospheres that are relatively chill, where you can hold a conversation with the person standing next to you without have to talk directly into their ear. Places where there is room to stand and a bouncer isn't constantly chasing you away from the only patch of open space. And most notably, places where people do not dance on the bar and offer their fellow patrons the opportunity to vote on their hotness.

This my friends, was a truly terrifying spectacle. At some point into the night, a dozen or so young ladies climbed up on to the bar and starting shaking their stuff for the crowd. Ho, hum, I thought. Nothing special here. But then came the judging process where the crowd seemed to be voting on which of the specimens before them was the "best" or "hottest" or whatever. To be honest, it was extremely loud in there, so it was hard to understand exactly what was going on. But young ladies were bumping and grinding with invisible partners for all to see, while drunk 20-something men ogled and cat-called.

Now, if that makes them happy, it's their business and not mine. But my maternal, sensible side was aghast and sadden by what it saw. Where's the line between liberated self-acceptance/pride over one's body and shameless exploitation? The topic is debated every time a new pop tartlet climbs the charts or some aspect of stripper culture seeps into the mainstream. If men have long gotten off by seeing young ladies flaunt their nubile young bodies, does dancing on a bar for the honor of being the hottest lady in McFadden's conform to that sexist dynamic? Or are the women the ones in control? Are they calling the shots, inverting centuries-old paradigms of gender politics? These are not new questions, and sadly, the confluence of pop culture and the way people live their every day lives continues to obscure the answer. I do know that when I saw one woman in particular, she of an extremely hot little body, writhing on the bar with her tube top dangerously close to sliding off her body, I wanted to reach up and wrap my sweater around her.

Again, bumping and grinding on a bar is a personal choice, and I do not begrudge these women the opportunity to do whatever makes them happy. Just because it's not for me, doesn't mean it's wrong or bad. But it certainly raises quite a few questions. More so than one's typical Saturday night activities, that's for sure.

So anyway. Between the hot lady contest, the 20 minute long wait for drinks (which included watching the bartenders pound Miller Lights), the pounding sound system, and being stepped on repeatedly, it was time to call it a night. I found an ATM in the lobby of a chic hotel nearby, hailed a cab, and found my way home. In short, I was happy to have spent time with the crew, but I don't know how much longer I can go on frequenting such establishments

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Blogger Matt said...

You said it, Hey Pretty.

It wasn't until afterward that I realized it was a college bar and that there was a reason 30 year-olds don't belong there. Constantly getting stepped on? I had no fewer than three separate confrontations with other men in that bar over proxemics issues.

I'm 30 and I don't tolerate getting stepped on any longer.

Also, I had to tip $5 just to get the bartendresses' attention at one point for a frickin' Yuengling.

Sure, I was bumping and grinding (and groping) but I felt embarassed afterward. I need to find me a bar that admits only those whose ID proves they are between the ages of 25 and, say, 35.

Where's THAT bar?!

7:51 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

Though I did, however, enjoy seeing the young ladies on the bar and found a few of them passably attractive (Number 7, I'm talking to you, honey), I found the younger men quite irritating.

And I'm going to sound like my seventh-grade nun but would it kill you to tuck in your frickin' shirt like a real man? I mean, I was wearing a tight, shiny dress shirt but at least I know enough to tuck.


7:57 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I knew there was a reason I didn't go. Well, all of the reasons you said and the fact that I had other plans, but really, all of the reasons you said.

8:03 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

I went to college with quite a few of the bartenders there and consider them to be some of the worst people I've ever known. Needless to say I don't frequent that bar.

8:21 PM  
Blogger honeykbee said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:44 PM  
Blogger Ally said...

Blogger ate my comment! Anyway, I can relate to this post. I reached my limit when a guy bumped into me, spilling my drink down my top and didn't even apologize.

2:52 AM  
Anonymous 123Valerie said...

I'm so glad you came out, honey, but, yes, next time we will retire to some place where the sanctity of dishing out drinks quickly is respected.

Were you remember the girl in the feathered tube top? I feel ashamed I wasn't more offput by the bar girls, but, then, I have about 150% more testosterone than most women, so I might have even let out a hollar or whoop for #9.

4:35 AM  
Blogger EJ Takes Life said...

GACK! The girl in the feathered tube top! I'd forgotten about her. Man, that was bleak.

Still, good to hang out with you all on Saturday. Next time we'll do it at a bar that MTV has never, ever filmed at.

4:38 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

I had a similar experience at Rumor's on Saturday. Although to that establishment's credit, at least the DJ was playing music that made me feel like I was at a party back in college.

12:36 PM  
Blogger Ryane said...

Yeah, I agree with you. I love to go out, but I really can't handle the bars where other patrons think being rude, aggressive, stupid or just downright mean is part of the fun. As for the girls on the bar, well..I am no prude, but seriously, you hit the nail on the head with that one. Just no.

1:24 PM  
Anonymous zandria said...

I completely understand. I can't stand the thought of hanging out in some of the types of places that I thought were so much fun in the past. :)

3:08 PM  
Blogger Michael J. West said...

I give you props for actually braving such a jungle. I stay away from college bars as much as possible. Actually, this reminds me of a quick story I'll post on my blog...

4:02 PM  
Blogger mmafan said...

I have to agree with ryane..Nothing wrong with having a good time, but some people just cannot handle their liquor and act like total asses. I used to frequent many places in Adams Morgan and may have even gone to Mc Fadden's. Now, I don't even set foot in many places around here, as the atmosphere gets plain hostile. If I want a beer, I'll have one at home.

5:25 PM  
Blogger Consul-At-Arms said...

I've quoted you and linked to you here: http://consul-at-arms.blogspot.com/2007/03/re-metro-section-few-more-reasons-to.html

9:23 AM  
Blogger Alex said...

Your post reminds me of a time when I walked into Coyote Ugly, before it closed. What sad, sad people in there -- throngs of beady-eyed men hoping that somehow staring at the women dancing on the bar would translate into one of them talking to them, which of course it did not.

1:17 PM  
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9:58 AM  

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