Monday, January 15, 2007

Epilogue: Barman Ben

I did not get to sleep until 8:00am this morning (another story for another time) so I'm pretty much ready to crash. Forgive any potential incoherence in advance.

Willow and I were on the phone yesterday, when I saw another call coming through. It was a phone number I didn't recognize and my heart gave a little jump: Barman Ben. It had been nearly two weeks since I gave him the story. I had been too busy to give it much thought and didn't expect to hear from him.

"Willow, another call is coming through, but I'm not going to take it. I think it might be Barman Ben."

"Are you sure you don't want to take it?"

"Absolutely. I want to see if he leaves a message and what he has to say."

It was a while before my phone beeped again. I was going to finish talking to Willow before checking my messages, but curiosity got the best of me.

"Do you mind if I call you back?"

Not at all.

I checked my phone: three missed calls, all from the same number; one new message.

It was Barman Ben. He left a 1:52 minute message (long, right?). He did have a deep, rather sexy phone voice, but sounded utterly exausted. Without transcribing the whole thing, here's a general sketch:

"Hi, it's Barman Ben from Cozy Bar. I can't talk too long, my voice is pretty shot, and I start rehearsal tomorrow. But I did want to tell you that I thought your story was really, really good, and I think you are very talented. I would have called sooner, but I figured I'd see you in the bar, and then got busy with other things... But I did want to call because I read the story probably the day after you gave it to me, in one sitting, and remembering what I felt reading it, it was just so detailed, I didn't want to put it down. There's something really wonderful there. Maybe when I get out of this play and whatever else is going on... I want to make a short film and if you have the time, maybe I could grab one of your short stories, if you have one collecting dust. I'll let you know about this play when it goes up, if it looks like it's going to be any good. Anyway, I'll see you when I do. I'm not going to be around that much. I did want to thank you again for giving me the pages. It was such a nice gift, a rare gift, and you are super-talented, and I'm happy to have gotten to see a bit of your work. Have a good Sunday."

To save this message, press 9.

And that's it, just like that, the fantasy is over, my image of Barman Ben irreperably shattered.

It was dreadful to learn that Barman Ben is an... an... (even writing it saddens me, but I must)


I need to pause just to shake my head. I had hoped Barman Ben wouldn't be such a stereotype, but alas.

At this point, I'd rather get romantically involved with a man in prison than an actor, so even if Barman Ben showed a keen interest in me, I'd never, ever go there. Besides, there were enough hints in the message to express how unavailable he is. Which is fine, because I am not available, either.

Still, it has to be said that the message is quite kind and complimentary. The fact that he read the story, saw "something really wonderful there", and called to tell me how "super-talented" I am, makes me feel good. And hey, he still inspired a hell of a good short story, so that's worth a lot.

Now to find my next muse...


Anonymous said...

Uh? Well, I've never been privileged enough to date or even talk to an actor or actress. So I have to ask. Why is this a bad thing?

Maybe this is something only New York people know, and I'm sure there are a lot of actors there. What's the turn off, aside from the fact that their de-facto narcissists.

G M said...

You have the weirdest set of criteria I have ever come across.

As I see it, this is so cool, so fitting -- suave barman ben has an artistic side. As for me, I would love to date an actress.

To each their own. But this is frustrating! :-/

Anonymous said...

G M,

No, I mean, I kinda get it. Can you imagine in places like NY or LA, all the "actors" you might run across? Its probably like having a tattoo on you forehead reading "I'm flaky and self centered". I'm sure Dolly has her own reasons. Not to mention his cold reaction to something that is obviously about him. (Also NYC actor = stage actor = gay, if you ask me) Personally, I'd "melt" if a girl wrote something even remotely sexy or romantic about me. But then again I'm a "beta male", so what do I know?

Anonymous said...

This was just like watching your favorite cliffhanger drama. They leave you hanging. You wait a week, talk about it with your friends, speculate what the mystery could be and find out it wasn't really as bad as you thought it would be. You laugh at yourself for having got so worked up over it and think, "Of course." Then you continue to watch because you realize that the really big cliffhanger is going to be at the END of the season, not in the middle of it.

Putting myself in your shoes, Dolly, I guess I could see how actors are a dime a dozen. Although, there is some romantic overture in the idea that you write the stories and he acts them out. In any event, he is also a bartender, which I continue to believe doesn't amount to good dating material.

Anonymous said...


Move to Akron, Ohio...actors here are few and far between!

coasta said...

Ahh well, sounds like a good dude anyway. You should keep in touch. Anything against being friends with actors?

Dolly said...

Halstead and GM,
If you read back through my blog, you'll see that my last boyfriend was an actor. It was something I had a lot of reservations about before getting involved with him and a factor that I knew would make us unable to last in the long run. I have since made a rule that there be one starving artist per couple (namely, me). Basically, I'm not comfortable with the instability, narcissism, phoniness, unpredictible hours, and high potential for infidelity. Actors tend to be pretty good liars, too.

It might be somewhat romantic, if he wasn't in his mid-40's, divorced, and trying to make it as an actor. If I'm going to date someone that much older than me, I want them to have a hell of a lot more career stability.

Heh, I don't know what I would do with myself in Akron. I'm a city girl through and through...

Considering Polly is an actress, I don't have an aversion to having thespian friends. And I would consider collaborating with him in the future on a creative project. It's just sad that he seems to be so different in real life than how how I painted him in my story. Oh well.

Anonymous said...

Oooh, in his mid-40s?! He should have reached his "it's just not gonna happen" point well over a decade ago.

But then he's a bartender, so what else could he be? (A musician, I suppose.)

I hate ruling out an entire profession as undesirable for dating, but actors are kind of up there. If they're not gay-unavailable, they're crazy-schedule-unavailable, with a high tendency towards all of the other qualities Dolly listed.

-Constant Dater (dang blogger acting up)

StrangerInTheseParts said...

Same thing happened to me.... hot girl, foreign, used to come to my yoga class. She obviously really liked my class and I saw her around the studio all the time and just got a great vibe.

Finally fell into a situation where we were talking about our lives outside the studio and she let it out that she's an actress and POOF the entire mystique just vanished in an instant.

Anonymous said...

You don't choose acting - acting chooses you. It's like being able to earn a living by being a hemophiliac.

I'm sorry, Dolly.


Anonymous said...

Hey Dolly

Akron is a city, kinda like a very small version of NYC. We don't have cornfields downtown if that's what you're just need to head about 5-10 miles out of town to see those


Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that the attraction dropped from off-the-charts to zero the instant he became a real person. Although Barman Ben didn't actually become real, he just got labeled. But we think labeling someone is understanding the degree that we will ignore everything that our senses and intuition were screaming at us for several obsessive weeks. Intuition, senses, gut feeling -- all irrelevant. The label is all.

It's fascinating also that a career bartender is an object of desire, but a guy with a dream who tends bar to help make it happen, who happens to love your work (and is considerate enough to make that clear to you) is a loser.

Or are you bummed that his message was about wanting to collaborate with you, rather than sleep with you?

You don't even seem interested in the real reasons behind the collapse of your attraction. This guy is clearly not the shmuck the last actor was.

Doc Love said...

I agree with the annonymous on this one. Seems kind of shallow to me Dolly. I'll continue to read your blog though. Only because I think shallow people are interesting. If you weren't, I'm sure your blog would suck.

Anonymous said...

Wow, good one. While I don't know the exact contents of the folder, she did give him a script. And he didn't follow it. Maybe I'd be upset too.

Also, and I'm not calling Dolly a golddigger, but she has mentioned money as being a reason not to get involved with someone. But then again, how much does a NYC bartender make? Plus acting? Probably pretty healthy, not a career mind you, but it probably works out. At least he has a steady job. And he's good enough at it to impress Dolly. It sounds like stability to me.

Anonymous said...

"You don't even seem interested in the real reasons behind the collapse of your attraction. This guy is clearly not the shmuck the last actor was."

A good point.

But...they both indeed may be "shmucks". Regardless, I too found it interesting that the feelings vanished SO quickly and seemingly without a trace.

I guess some people can turn it on AND off immediately. I think that kind of behavior can be worrisome.

Being an actor is an immediate turn-off for some. I could better relate if he was a serial killer or something truly horrible.

To each his own, I guess. And if him being an actor is not your thing, Dolly, at least now you can move on. :)

However, past experiences with one actor can't absolutely predict the outcome with another person who also happens to be an actor.

Another thing, that confuses me. Dolly, you said:

"Basically, I'm not comfortable with the instability, narcissism, phoniness, unpredictible hours, and high potential for infidelity. Actors tend to be pretty good liars, too."

But you also said:

"Considering Polly is an actress, I don't have an aversion to having thespian friends."

I know I took what you wrote out of its original context, but it could sound like it's ok to have instable, narcissistic, liars just as friends but not as lovers?
This logic sounds a, at least to me.

Sex & Moxie said...

As someone who has "dated" my share of actors, I can totally understand why you don't wish to date this guy. Actors are self-obsessed and flaky and everything is always all about them. Too much work and too high maintencance. Inconsistent schedules. Lots of late nights and lots of hanging out with exhaustingly needy other actors.

Anonymous said...

Oooohh...I missed the part about him being in his forties. A guy in his mid-twenties who doesn't have his ducks in a row is a little more forgivable than one in his forties. I see your point. Forgive the pun, but if he doesn't yet have his ACT together, you don't want to have to mother him. I have no idea what it is like to date an actor. I'm not sure we have them in Pittsburgh. ;)

I think everyone has been a little hard on you. When you discover one detail about someone that you are highly attracted to that just doesn't do it for you, it can be a buzz kill. It's ok to have a thing against a certain type. It's just not for you.

Dolly said...

Constant Dater,
Hahaha, I was actually telling Polly and Willow that the only thing worse would be if he was in a band, too.

Thank you for getting it.

Acting could choose whoever it pleases, just like I can not choose actors. It happens.

Anonymous 1:35,
I know my real reasons for ending the crush and have explored them, I just refuse to justify them to some snotty anonymous commentor.

Doc Love,
I love being called shallow by a guy who writes in his blog, "Getting drunk and picking up skanks at the bar is good practice for the real thing."

Anonymous 4:21,
You don't have friends with qualities you wouldn't find attractive in a mate? Yeah, some of my friends are flaky or unstable or neurotic or otherwise messed up, and I still love them. Doesn't mean I would be romantically involved with male versions of them. I think it's your logic that's flawed here.

Amen. Also, I'm sorry, but the most acutely intelligent people I've ever met have not been actors. But I love how these commenters are jumping down my throat for being so judgmental while they are judging me just the same. Also, they assume I have only ever dated one actor, which isn't true. I've had my share of thespians, and I'm done. If I would rather date a computer programmer than an actor, that is totally my perogative.

Doc Love said...

Touche! :-) Nice one Dolly.

Anonymous said...

What I love about this is that everyone was jumping down your throat for having a crush on a bartender (he's a slut! he's a ho!) and now everyone is jumping down your throat for not having a crush on the exact same person.

I'm with you on the actor thing. Maybe someday I'll meet an exception to the "I'm not attracted to actors rule", but probably not. It is what it is.

Enjoy your dating hiatus. I think you'll find it very refreshing :)

Dolly said...

Anonymous 2:25,
I love you (as much as an anonymous blogger can love an anonymous commenter). The thing about this blog is that I think a number of men (*cough*PUAs*cough*) read it as a kind of a glimpse into the female psyche, and ask questions to try to figure out women as a whole, or understand inconsistencies. Or just to get a rise out of me. It can be annoying when they get belligerent, but I try to ignore it as much as I can. Besides, no woman should give away all her secrets, and there's no harm in us being unpredictable or having certain preferences or anti-preferences. I mean, if I met a guy who didn't want to date writers because he thought we're moody and misanthropic and too verbal or arrogant or whatever, I'd be annoyed, but I'd understand, because his concerns would be valid. So here's to us finding non-actor mates.

CoatMan said...

Aha, what you might have lost in romance potential, you might have gained inn getting somebody to make a play/short film of one of your short stories... ;-)

Anonymous said...

Ok, if you have an anti-actor thing going on, that's fine. Just don't get annoyed when a guy you date finds out that you have a blog and dumps you- not everyone likes to date bloggers, either. It's also funny that you find acting narcissistic- I find writing a daily blog about your life and thinking that it would be fodder for a whole book to be totally narcissistic, if you ask me! A woman is single and lives in New York City, and all of a sudden she thinks she's Carrie Bradshaw- Sex and The City has already been done, think of something else more original.