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Cheers! Chicago: Can you possibly meet “The Right One” at a bar?

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Cheers! Chicago: Can you possibly meet photo

Well, can you? It’s a fair question, isn’t it? A bar seems like a practical place to meet someone, right? If we’re not there to blow off steam from the stresses of work or to hang out with friends, we’re probably there because we feel a little, well, lonely. And where better to have a beverage and socialize than the local pub? In fact, the word “pub” is taken from the phrase “public house,” which in reality operated more like a motel with a diner and bar. These types of social gathering structures have been traced all the way back to the Roman taverns and baths, and these days we have more leisure time as a society then ever before. As a people, we Jews embrace drinking as a function of prayer and thankfulness, not reckless intoxication or stress pacification. If you really think about it, since it’s a part of each Shabbat and many holidays, the Jewish people have been drinking together as a community for a long time. We are a merry people and are not afraid to show it!

But let’s get back to whether or not the bar can be a genuine place to find love for single Jews. Working as a single Jewish bartender in one of the hottest cities in the country, I have seen my share of successes and failures regarding the male-female interaction. Everything from buying drinks for the hottie at the end of the bar to watching guys write little cheesy love notes on the back of a cocktail napkin. I have heard lots of lines that would make your sides hurt and seen lots of obscene and rather intriguing behavior. I have even had the pleasure of watching two very drunk guys attempt to out-macho the other one and duke it out at the bar, trying to buy a drink for a hot brunette in a little pink number that just straddled the bar stool. Now I’ll admit it, I may be a very observant person by nature, sometimes just too observant for my own good. However, I am NO dating doctor or expert body language reader; having said that, I’ve tried nearly everything when it comes to interacting with the opposite sex myself. Blind dates, online dates, speed dates, “casually bumping” into old flames (shameful, I know), all the way down to just striking up a conversation with a cute stranger at a bar. Which one of those scenarios do you think is the easiest or has the best chance of success?

I can definitely tell you things look quite different from behind the sticks, where you are in a position to make drinks, hear and see everything that might take place, and manage the crowd, all while sober. Hey, we’re all there to have a good time, right? So why not be open to meet and have fun with some new people? Sure, it can be awkward to meander nervously toward a beautiful group of women by the bar and try to explain how un-creepy but interesting and fun you really are. Yes, it’s true: alcohol does lower the inhibitions, but I’m talking about the right one and not a one-night stand. Now, I am sure there are some of you thinking that it’s possible to turn a one-night stand into something serious, and you’re probably right. But the likelihood of that occurring for every guy or girl is ridiculously slim, which leaves most of us single people to go out without any expectations other than having a great time.

But my question to you is this: do Jewish singles act or treat the dating world differently than the rest when they go to bars, or are they like everyone else, just looking for a good time? Is it easier or harder for Jewish singles to meet in these settings? How do these chances compare to meeting singles at temple, bar and bat mitzvahs, weddings and holiday celebrations? I bet you if I polled 100 single Jews here in Chicago, most of them would not expect to meet “the right one” at the bar, but would reserve some judgment over whether or not it could work out should they meet someone they like. What are your thoughts?

Have you ever tried to pick up your local bartender? On the lighter side, I went to jewishjournal.com and found a blog by Merissa Nathan Gerson, host of AskYourYenta.com, titled “Are All Bartenders Perpetual Boys?” Her answer to a non-Jew’s question regarding dating bartenders and the bar scene as a function of social interaction is quite insightful. It even concludes with rays of hope for single Jewish bartenders, like me, by mentioning how even bartenders are prone to finding “the right one,” too! So go out to the bars, grab a drink and have some fun! Who knows what might be waiting for you there…


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