I’ve seen her at the pub before. She is young, especially for a place like this, and one of the first things most any fellow would notice about her is how full her lips are. Generally she is sitting at the bar drinking with an older fellow – not the same older fellow – but different men who look almost but not quite old enough to be her father.
She doesn’t smile very much. Her posture and her expressions remind me of the way a person drinks at a work function.
Another gal I used to drink with at this pub once told me that she is a sex worker who picks up clients here. Perhaps it is the formality with which she drinks that led to this conclusion… perhaps it is the ever changing older and far less attractive men around her.
I don’t know if this story is true. Maybe she’s just socially awkward and, let’s be honest, it’s pretty much only older folks who drink at this place so if a pretty young gal shows up here, there’s bound to be any number of daddies creeping on her. And, who knows, maybe the gal who told me this story was just feeling insecure or jealous of her beauty.
But, honestly, I don’t care either way. If a person chooses to be a sex worker, I reckon that’s no better or worse than choosing to be a social worker or a construction worker or any other kind of worker.
When she sits down beside me, I thought I had a pretty clear idea of where our conversation might go. We are both fairly drunk – her more than me, I think, as she keeps repeating the same questions or makes the same statements multiple times. She begins by telling me that she is a registered nurse but later states that she’s actually a nurse practitioner – it’s just most people don’t understand what a nurse practitioner is, so it’s easier to say she’s an RN. On weekends, she goes to Toronto and is a “Bud Girl” at special events. She does a mock performance of how she gets the fellas to buy beer from her. She is quick to call me “honey”. Mostly, I only like it when the older servers at the bar call me that. They’ve spent a lifetime waiting tables, dealing with drunks, putting up with pricks and I reckon they can get away with calling people “dear” or “honey” or “sweetie.” Whenever the younger servers pull that on me, I feel like they’re trying too hard. Let’s not get carried away, okay?
But she calls me “honey” and she touches my arm a lot when she talks to me. She asks me if I’m single and I say that I am. She asks me why and I am honest and say that most everybody I meet bores me – I don’t really give a fuck about hearing somebody talking about her favourite TV shows or her favourite kind of music or the fact that she really digs guys who can make her laugh. Wow! Who knew? God, what a bore. She says she understands and feels exactly the same way about the guys she has met since moving to Ontario when she was twenty-four. That was three years ago – she came here from B.C. – and started a new life for herself.
I don’t mention that I’ve already decided that she is boring, too.
She gets excited when she learns that I play piano and have a keyboard. Turns out she is a classically trained musician – piano and vocals. She asks if I have all eighty-eight keys and if they are pressure sensitive. It is imperative that they be pressure sensitive. I say that they are but that I don’t have a full range. She asks if I have drinks at my place and if I like to party. I mention I have drinks but I don’t party much these days. But, hey, I don’t care if she indulges.
She asks about going back to my place.
I say okay.
Getting into her car she says, “But we’re just doing this as friends, right? This is just a friends thing, okay?”
I say okay.
My place is a bit of a mess from having kids for the last four days. I tidy up quickly and mix a drink for her as she settles at the keyboard. She plays some songs from memory and some songs from sheets that I have. I play a few songs and she sings in the background. She has a decent voice but she is an exceptional piano player. When I play, she pauses to powder her nose… a few times. And then she plays one of the most beautiful renditions of the Moonlight Sonata that I have ever heard.
When she finishes, she says thank you very much and, gosh, it’s hot in here, and I escort her to her car and say goodnight. I smoke a final cigarette out back after she drives away and then I go to bed.
A friend tells me I should be looking to get laid. She points out that the mock profiles I set up on an online dating site – one to see if I could get rid of an old toaster, one pretending to be a total D&D nerd dressed up like a banana, and one pretending to be a circus bear – aren’t actually very conducive to meeting people and she reminds me that, really, I should be more serious about dating or at least picking people up. She says it’ll make things easier.
I’m not so sure. The story of lonely people meeting in bars and going home to lose themselves in the embrace of strangers seems a little overplayed. I met a girl at a pub. She came home with me and played my piano and then she left. I never touched her once. And, that, I think, made this whole encounter much less boring than I thought it was going to be. I was laughing to myself about it as I fell asleep.
I hope I don’t ever see her again.