Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

My friend the bartender, of previous “inappropriate weeknight drinking” blog-lore, recently left her position at my go-to bar and posted up at a restaurant/bar inside Grand Rapids’ notorious “tourist building”. At first notification of this transition I got angry and blamed her for effectively ruining my social life and putting a halt to all things blog-worthy. You can feel free to momentarily blame her for my absence as well, but I think you’ll change your tune once you read on.

The BOB

The BOB

Last week I finally gave in and ventured into what I assumed was an area sanctioned only for those with bedazzled jeans, afraid that I would instantly be infected with Nickelback fandom and a sudden urge to pound a Jager-bomb. I just couldn’t leave my dear friend all alone in there to fend for herself (And I was honestly at a loss for where else to go by myself) so I gave it a go.

Tonight, since I had already familiarized myself with the terrain and I knew that I needed to get my mouth around those bacon-wrapped scallops again, I decided to go ahead and pop in to visit my friend once more, on a Monday night. I sort of liked that there were no 22-year-olds shouting at each other. There were only real live grownups, drinking real live grownup drinks and minding their own business. Minding one’s own business isn’t great for blog fodder, however, so I obviously tuned into a few of the patrons.

Gilly's. Classy without an uncomfortable amount of class.

Gilly’s. Classy without an uncomfortable amount of class.

One man, who sat proudly next to his hard-hat while he alternately drank both his bottle of Corona and his tall Long Island Iced Tea, told Courtney to put my next drink on his tab. I was much obliged and a little surprised considering my greasy hair and general Am-ish (sort of Amish…) outfit, but I accepted nonetheless. I was drinking a Grey Goose martini, after all, and those aren’t cheap. Once I thanked the small man and went back to my sumptuous scallops, it became clear to me that I was betrothed to conversation with him for the duration of his stay. He asked me the requisite “getting to know a stranger” questions and I answered as sincerely as I could (which we all know is terribly difficult for me). I told him that I was a writer but that I spent my time as a customer service rep to pay the bills. He seemed intrigued with my writing and axed (yep) a million more questions about the blog, so I gave him a card. That may have been a mistake since I’m currently writing about him. Oh well.

This man would sit quietly, drowning in his dual-fists of alcohol until I put a giant bite of food into my mouth, at which point he would ask me a question that required much more than a simple “yes or no”. I would put up the “effing WAIT a minute!” finger and answer to the best of my ability. He asked me what I ordered and I told him they were scallops, as innocently as one answers a food-related question. He then said, “Oh, so you like seafood, then”, in such a lecherous manner that I felt instantly naked. As if my affirmative answer was somehow payment to him for that $12 dirty martini he naively purchased for me. Luckily, after several more minutes of attempted conversation, the small man moved on with his life, taking my business card with him.

The absence of yet another tiny suitor left me to observe my friend the bartender. She’s a magical creature with powers I’ll never understand. She had three middle-aged men on the opposite side of the bar metaphorically bending to kiss her feet. This became especially relevant when they began to woo her with tales of their self-importance. I sat, smugly watching from afar as they promised her a free pair of Timberland non-slip shoes. They were, after all, very important men at the company. They commended her on how nice she was, before she even knew how important they were. And then they said something that will remain in my nightmares forever, “See? You were meant to wear us!” (Confusing and gross). And, as a side note, nobody who shows up in poorly pressed plaid button-downs and white athletic shoes can be that important. I glanced away from the threesome and looked back just in time to see them take a group selfie and discard the first attempt after a brief veto from the double chin police. I had to stifle a snort. Or maybe it would have been a chortle. We’ll never know.

The Timberland crew at rapt attention.

The Timberland crew at rapt attention.

As I prepared to leave, the bar began filling up with even more middle to old-aged men. I was hesitant to leave such a goldmine but contented with what my bartending friend left me. She has a way of sidling up to any group of men and by simply remembering their drink order, making them hear, “Oh yes, big daddy. Do me! Do me for as long as your little blue pill will allow! There’s no pressure here!”

Gos bless you, miss Courtney. What would I do without you and your legions of suitors? In all seriousness, Courtney is an amazing bartender and I will follow her to the ends of Mcfadden’s if I have to. Ok…so that’s going a bit far. I may burst into flames if I enter Mc’Frat-ens. Gilly’s at the BOB, however, isn’t so bad. It’s sort of good, actually. I stand corrected.

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