Wednesday, January 03, 2007

new year, new oneitis, new cure

Can I just say how happy I am that the holidays are over? I truly am. No more hordes of tourists in my work neighborhood, no more false cheer, no more pressure to be warm and fuzzy. In fact, now that the ubiquitous carols have been muted and the decorations are coming down, I'm perking right up (wouldn't mind some snow, though).

For those who didn't listen to the podcast, I am in the throes of a massive crush on Barman Ben, the most dashing bartender to ever grace a drinking establishment. Yes, it's a bad idea, so everyone says, so I realize. However Barman Ben has become more than my object of unrequited affection, he has also become my muse.

Sounds crazy, but it's true. Apart from this blog, I haven't done any creative writing in over a year. Since I started going to Cozy Bar, I sensed inspiration buzzing; a story started to form. I can't remember the last time I felt this kind of urge to write: I'd have to stop in the middle of anything I was doing to scrawl a word or phrase or concept; I had trouble falling asleep because stray sentences would keep circulating; I'd wake up at 3:00am to scribble bits of dialogue in a notebook.

Last week, Podcast Penny accompanied me to the bar, to visit Ben and see if he would provide any more inspiration. Despite being preoccupied, he did, so did the bar's retro atmosphere, and so did Penny, who helped me iron out some details for the story. I spent the rest of the week working feverishly; I barely saw or spoke to anyone and put in hour after hour on my laptop. The final story that emerged is, I have to say, pretty damn good. It's bittersweet and has an open ending. It's the first thing I've been passionate about in months. It's the best thing I've written in years.

Naturally, since Barman Ben inspired the piece, I needed to give him a copy. I mean, how often does a person have a living, breathing muse? It's rather flattering, no?

I went to the bar last night, expecting it to be pretty quiet. Instead it was full of people and more brightly lit than usual (I'm not one to talk, but what kind of lushes go drinking the day after New Year's??) . I was terribly nervous, but had to go through with it.

Ben was in the middle of arguing with a female customer at a back table, who being bitchy over something stupid (don't give the dashing barman attitude, woman!). He went back behind the bar, obviously annoyed, obviously busy. Oh dear.

I was just standing there. Now or never.

"Happy new year," I smiled, shocked at how calm my voice sounded.

"I'm actually not staying, I just wanted to give you this," I handed him a Manila envelope.

"Thank you," he took it and put it beween some bottles behind him.

"It's a short story. I was here the other week taking notes for it."

"Should I be worried?"

I grinned, "No! Not at all. Though you might find one of the characters somewhat familiar."

"Well, thank you."

He seemed genuinely grateful, like I had given him a gift, which was enough for me. I was about to turn away, but he continued.

"I'll read it and let you know... is there any way for me to...?"

"My contact info in on there."

I left the bar, not feeling the ground, dazed on the subway, elated on the walk home.

The thing is, I don't expect him to call, even though it looks like there's a chance he will (I only put my name, address, and number on the story; email is less personal). And if he does call, I don't expect him to ask me out (though on Planet Dolly, we are already mad about each other and trying to make it work despite my 9-5 and his 6-2 hours).

Honestly? This was enough. Giving him the story was my way of curing my infatuation. I'm keeping the ringer on my phone switched off for the next few days so that I can keep calm, and after that I'll put him completely (well, mostly) out of my mind. Since I miraculously managed to play it cool, I'll even be able to return to the bar sometime.

Most importantly, Barman Ben gets to read a lovely story of which he is the imperfect-but-endearing hero. Everybody wins.


coasta said...

while you may not have intended it, this is quite a hilarious pickup up going on here. depending on what you wrote....i could see it working out. if nothing else, you could make a cool friend.

and kudos on having the balls to follow through.

incidently, you sound much different than i had imagined.

Dolly said...

Different how?

Anonymous said...

You have guts!

CoatMan said...

Wow, you work fast. How long was the story? And how did it end? ;-)

This really is an intriguing caper...

Dolly said...

The story was around 7,800 words and I wrote it in eight days. Which is pretty unheard of for me. It ended with the main character needing to make a major decision. If you've read the story "The Lady or the Tiger", it's in the same vein, but not as frustrating.

zosnut said...

Bravo ! This is the kind of thing I could have done myself; that's why I know it's utterly silly.
But everyone should do silly things from time to time.

CoatMan said...

Aha, so your fictional story ends where you want the real one to begin? ;-)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations -- that takes a lot of courage!

Anonymous said...

you should post the story here!

i like this, it seems like something you would've done ten years ago, which was also a super transitory time

Anonymous said...

Bravo! It's good to see you back.


Anonymous said...

Good call! I am quite intrigued.

Rosie said...

Wow that really takes some balls! I'm dead impressed.

Whilst attempting to recover from my own heartbreak and winter blues, I developed a massive crush on one of my acquaintances. It caused me more distress than anything else, but now that I'm over it, he's one of my closest friends, and is providing lots of support to help me through aforementioned misery.

slaya said...

dolly, i have to say that this was one of the cutest things i ever read... not to mention romantic. it's nice to see that even though there might be some dating cynicism around, romance isn't quite dead yet.

Working Kitten said...

Hey Dolly,

I've been reading your blog for months now and just wanted to say its wonderful to hear you starting 2007 sounding so positive. I'm not sure I'd ever be so brave myself as to give my story over like that and fully empathise with the heart is mouth feeling you must have had at the bar waiting to hand such a personal thing over to BB.

I'd also echo what others have said here and add that it would be fabulous to read this story, you've got us all intrigued!


Dolly said...

Wow, thank you for all the positive feedback! I was sure that somebody would call me crazy or tease me for doing something like this.

NikkiWozzy said...

Hey Dolly

Longtime lurker here.

I have to commend you on giving him the story. I see it as you coming out of the dark and things are looking up for you! You give me inspiration in my own dating life!

Take care of yourself, because without that, you have nothing to offer others.


Anonymous said...

Say you worked in the service industry, and someone you only knew very little or as a customer brought you a bound short story that he'd written about you. even if the quality was closer to bernice bobs her hair than a dragon ball Z fanfic, you don't think that you might find it a little strange? do you think he's telling his friends about it-"one of my customers wrote a book about me." You made it sound like he reacted positively though but i might be a little creeped out if it happened to me.

Dolly said...

Thanks for the comment. I also see the move as being kind of symbolic in taking a positive step forward. Good luck in your own dating adventures!

Frankly, I'm surprised nobody mentioned this sooner. I was terrified that he'd think I was crazy stalker girl, but I can honestly say he seemed pleased about getting the story. Of course, he hasn't read it yet, so he might still end up thinking I'm crazy stalker girl. Either way, you get a cookie for the Fitzgerald reference.

Mark said...


The best thing would have been to avoid the bartender entirely.

However, if you must try for him, I think the better thing would have been to line up the cutest guys you know, invite them to the bar, have fun, and ignore the bartender. This would have intrigued the bartender and raised your value.

For instance, invite the dude across the hall to the bar. You'll be able to play it cool with the dude across the hall because you really want the bartender. The guy across the hall would be impressed with how cool and fun you're being. The bartender is impressed by how other attractive males flock to you. Your value is raised for both men.

...unless being surrounded by both of these guys makes your head explode - which would just be bad.

Keep doing this until the BARTENDER makes a gesture to YOU. Then smile slyly, and pull away again. Keep doing this until he blatantly asks you out.

This would establish you as high value. You're different from the others. He might have even been nervous on his date with you.

Anyway, this approach was too direct. Now the bartender knows your exact intensions and there's no challenge whatsoever.

If something comes easy to someone, they want a challenge. This guy gets laid so much, women aren't a challenge at all. This approach wasn't challenging.

Don't feel bad. This happens to all of us. We get infatuated and can't think straight. All the rules go out the window.

The only advice I can give is Abort! Abort!

He's going to chew you up and spit you out - not what you need after a depression.

My prediction: He'll call you eventually to add another notch to his bedpost, demand sex as quickly as possible, and if you don't comply, he'll get mad.

If you do comply, he won't call afterwards. You'll call him, and you'll just be another girl in his rotation.

Hope I'm not bursting your bubble. My intention is to help you keep your walls up. You're too fragile for this right now. You don't need a shitty experience at the start of your new year.

This guy is NOT the fantasy you've built up in your head. He's quite the opposite, I'm sure.

Even if I'm wrong (which I'm not) and you get into a relationship with him, you won't be able to handle him working at the bar with all the women hitting on him.

Anonymous said...

One guy might think it was creepy.

Another guy might take such an envelope home and look at it for days without opening it because being the object of someone's desire was so nice that whatever was inside didn't matter.


CoatMan said...

Dolly: you are crazy - and we love you for it ;-)

Tis said...


I'm glad that you went through with it! Three comments:

1. Planet Dolly shouldn't worry - there's always seven hours between 2 am and 9 am.
2. He was obviously interested in you before you even left - he wanted to know how to get in touch, regardless what was inside. If anything - it was an excuse. Looking at it from his shoes, who knows what could be in the envelope. It could be a news paper clipping about funny bartenders all over the world, it could be blackmail photographs, it could be a love letter - but the last thing he expects is a story (novel?) written about him that he inspired. If he's got any depth (maybe he can't read?), he'll call. Turn your ringer on!

3. We're all dying to read the story!

Dolly said...

Ah, if only more men fell into the latter category...

*laughs* Thank you!

I love your optimism! As for sharing the story, I think it's something I might try to get published under my real name, so I won't be posting it here (sorry!).

Anonymous said...

You'd be amazed...