As a bartender, I see many things. It’s part of my job to pay attention to customers, but when it is super busy, it’s hard to notice everything. At slower times, I see a lot though. I know a lot of people, and I know things about them that they don’t even know. I have an acquaintance friend who I know from bartending and from mutual friends, who I have a whole story and idea about and he has no idea…
This guy is in a band and was dating a girl I know who is also in a band. I met the girl first because we had mutual friends. I had a girlfriend who I’d known for over 20 years, since we were teenagers. She was friends with the band the girl was in, and invited me to a party where I first became friendly with the girl’s band.
Although I never knew her very well, the girl in the band was friendly and nice to me. My old friend who introduced us had this nasty habit that I never agreed with… she was a cheater. She cheated on all her boyfriends for the entire time I’d known her. Being someone who would never do that, I never liked that part of my friend, but because I make a point to not judge others, it was a part of her that I just tried not to think about.
The girl in the band was dating one of the guys in her band at the time. When I met them, they were in a relationship and I liked them. Later I found out that my old friend was sleeping with the guy, so he was cheating on his girlfriend in the band with my old friend, and my girlfriend was cheating on her live-in boyfriend who I liked very much. It bothered me to know this, but since I didn’t know these new band people well, I kept it to myself and just felt bad for them. I mostly felt sad for the girl being cheated on, and I wished that my old friend were a better person who wouldn’t act like that. Another really yucky thing about it was that my old friend also slept with the band guy’s brother. Sleeping with both brothers while she had a live-in boyfriend… yuck.
When I heard that the couple in the band broke up, I was glad. Although I didn’t know the girl well, I wanted better for her than a cheating boyfriend. Her ex would come into my bar and act friendly and expect free drinks even though I barely knew him, and he didn’t know what I knew about him or that I really didn’t care for him at all. I thought he was a slime ball, but as a bartender, my friendly demeanor with people I knew made him fail to have any idea about it. His cheating and his sense of entitlement at the bar did not impress me, but I always had a soft spot for the girl because I knew something she probably didn’t, and I guess as a woman, I felt for her and wanted her to be appreciated.
After some time, I met her new boyfriend, who was in another band and he and I also had mutual friends. I always thought her new boyfriend seemed very nice. He also seemed to be very in love with her. Even though neither of these people knew that I knew anything about them, I was always very happy for the girl that it looked like she had met a better guy who really cared about her and seemed good to her. I was a silent cheerleader for them.
One night, the new guy came into my bar alone. He seemed distraught. I wasn’t very busy that night, so I kept an eye on him and could hear parts of what he said to other people. I heard that she broke up with him and he was upset. I felt really bad for him and was bummed since he seemed so genuinely nice. I noticed he drank more than usual. I watched as a very attractive girl talked his ear off and was clearly flirting with him overtly for a pretty long time. This sweet guy seemed completely oblivious. It was sort of amusing to watch. He had a girl who was even more attractive than the girl who dumped him, who was clearly throwing herself at him, and he was too in love and heartbroken to notice. He seemed blissfully unaware of it. And because he drank too much, he eventually ended up passing out on a bench and being carried out by his friends.
Normally, if I saw something like that while at work, I would think the person was being kind of an idiot, but knowing all I knew, my heart went out to the guy. I felt like it showed what a good guy he was, even more than I already thought. The fact that he got dumped and didn’t jump right in to leaving with a pretty girl who clearly wanted him, showed that he really was in love and heartbroken and even while hurting, was a better man than most. I think most men (and women too) are likely to go for the instant rebound sex as a distraction to make themselves feel better. This guy not only didn’t do that, but even seemed oblivious to it and just had friendly conversation with the girl, seeming genuinely interested in what she had to say. That night made me like him even more as a person. He just seemed like a good, pure person. This is rare to see in the bar business, not only because there is so much going on at all times, but also because in social situations where alcohol is involved, you don’t generally notice people on a high moral ground.
This nice guy and I cross paths often. He ended up getting back together with her for a while, but I heard they broke up again some time ago. He seems genuinely happy when I see him now, so I’m happy for him. It’s always pleasant to see him. It’s funny how when you meet people through bartending, you have different perceptions of them sometimes than if you had just met them socially. This guy has no idea that I have a soft spot in my heart for him as a person, and I see no reason to ever bring it up.
I also never told the girl what I knew about her being cheated on or that I had a soft spot for her. I hope she is doing well and is happy as well. It’s funny how I only know these people as passing acquaintances, but their backstories have made me genuinely care about them. I saw this guy the other night and it reminded me about all of this when I chatted with him and he was friendly and personable and seemed happy to see me. There is a lot you can learn when you slow down and pay attention to what is happening around you, and often your gut instincts are right.
And as a postscript, that old friend of mine who was a cheater eventually ended up attempting to do it to me after a 22-year friendship where I had accepted her as she was. She came into my bar one night complaining about her boyfriend and that she wanted to cheat on him because she wasn’t getting enough sex. She had introduced me to a guy I’d been dating for five months and I was pretty crazy about. He came in that night and I bought them both drinks. They were being kind of flirty, but I am a very secure person and I didn’t care, even though I noticed and thought if I were a jealous type of person, it would have bothered me.
My boyfriend got too drunk that night and we had a big fight after work and broke up. The next night, he slept with someone else and I found out about it. I was extremely heartbroken, but I cared about him, so shortly after that, I tried to stay friends with him. He came into my work to see me again and told me a few weeks later that that night in the bar, my old friend of 22 years had asked him to go home with her and have sex with her—right in front of my face basically while I was buying their drinks. I am no longer friends with that girl, but I still never told her 2 ex boyfriends what she did to them, or told any of the other parties involved.
Just like the people who I was rooting for who were mistreated in the past, I hope there may be people out there rooting for me as well. Although no one is perfect, there are some of us that are genuine people who treat others how we want to be treated, and I hope that each one of us finds others who will treat us right instead of wasting time with people who are unworthy. There are a lot of people who I am a silent cheerleader for based on my interactions with them. That’s something that I’ve never told anyone.