It's that time again! Meet-cute time, that is. I swear, I'll go months and months without meeting a single guy cutely and then all of a sudden, I'll meet a bunch right in a row. But today, we only have time for one meet-cute story, so I'll do my best to make it a good one.
But before I begin, a precursor:
I'm not normally one to flirt with a bartender. This is generally because I myself was a bartender at one point and as a bartender, there's one very important part of your job description--be open and friendly, hospitable, talkative. Bartenders make their money on tips, so (generally speaking) they're getting paid to be nice to you. I have a friend whose favorite type of guy is a bartender: "They're just so easy to talk to!" she'll exclaim. That's their job, Sweetie.
Okay, precursor over. Back to the meet-cute.
A few weekends ago, my friends and I decided to go to Pride in Minneapolis. Unfortunately, the moment we left our car and ventured from the parking ramp, it abruptly started to downpour. So, not to be completely outdone by weather, we sought an indoor activity; we went to a brewery.
Now this brewery was cool, a big open warehouse that's been converted with high ceilings, rustic light fixtures, and beautiful wooden hightop tables. My friend Laura and I grabbed a booth while my other friend Mara stole away to the bar for a beer. We waited for her to return so we wouldn't lose our table, and when Mara walked up to us, she had the biggest smirk on her face.
"Okay, so, the bartender is super hot."
I laughed but was mildly intrigued. Laura and I left Mara to fend for our table and approached the bar. At this point, I found myself immediately agreeing with Mara--he was super hot. Tall, brown hair, slightly ginger beard, and gorgeous blue eyes. He asked me what I was having and I fumbled over my drink order--I'm not exactly a beer connoisseur so I ordered something generic and safe--and he just smiled and poured it for me. I signed my name and tipped him a dollar before Laura and I retreated to our booth. I was shakey.
"Okay. So he's like, super cute." (I'm unabashed to admit that this really is the way girls discuss guys amongst friends. I'm much more sophisticated via the written word.) Of course, my friends (being the pushy, lovely humans that they are) encouraged me to write out my number and give it to him. I've certainly done that before, but I haven't in a very long time. And I wasn't about to start again with a guy I couldn't get a clear read on. I'd thought he'd treated me just like any other customer. My friends forced me to compromise and get a second beer, this time with the intention of chatting him up and feeling out any possible interest on his end.
I conceded and handed them my drink to finish. When I approached the bar for the second time, he grinned and asked me what I was having. I asked if I could try a sample of the War & Peace, a dark, coffee-infused beer I'd already tried (and hated). He turned and poured me a sample. I choked it down and grimaced: "Yeah, I can't do that." He laughed and replied, "Yeah, it's terrible, isn't it? What else do you want to try? Something hoppy?" I genuinely have no idea what it means when someone says a beer is "hoppy," so I asked for a recommendation, specifying only that I'm not a fan of IPAs. He pours me a second sample and slides it my way. This one was better--not great, but better. (At this point in the story, it's important to mention that there was a line of about five other customers building up behind me as I continued to sample beers.)
"It's pretty good," I said. "What is it?"
I rolled my eyes. The one thing I hadn't asked for. "Of course it is."
"So is that the one?"
I hesitated. It was an okay beer, and I could certainly drink a pint of it. But we were kind of vibing, so I wanted to stay and chat for a bit longer, remaining willfully ignorant of the growing line of beer patrons behind me.
"Let's try one more? Third times the charm, so you have to get it right this time," I teased.
He poured me the third beer and it truly was just right.
He raised his eyebrows in question.
"That's the one."
As he poured me a full pint, I pulled my wallet from my cross-body bag. He set the beer down in front of me and waved away my credit card.
"No, no, no. This one's on me," he smiled coyly.
I paused, taken aback.
"Yeah, I'm sure."
I stood there, confused and unsure what to do next. Do I give him my number? Is that too forward? There's nothing to write it down on anyways...
"Are you guys going to be around for a bit still?" He asked as I was contemplating my next move.
"Yeah," I replied. "We'll be here for a bit." With that, I stumbled back to my booth, spilling a quarter of my beer on the table from my shakey, nervous hands.
I quickly relayed everything to my friends, whose immediate reactions were, Give him your number, now! But I waited. We stayed for another hour or so, and if I got up to use the restroom or get some water from the cooler, there was almost always eye contact with the cute bartender. (I don't know about you guys, but eye contact is almost my favorite type of flirting. Maybe it's true what they say--the eyes really are the windows to the soul.)
We eventually had to switch tables and ended up sitting a few high-tops away from the bar. I became engrossed in my friend's story and was suddenly surprised by the bartender grabbing our glasses from our table.
"Hey," he said, smiling at me.
"So, this is super against bar policy, but I have to ask...are you single?"
"I am," I beamed back. (Might've been the first time I've ever answered that question happily.)
He introduced himself, "I'm Anthony."
"Halle," I replied as I shook his hand.
"Are you guys going to be here for a bit still?" Anthony inquired.
Before I could respond, Laura butted in.
"She can be here as long as you need her to be here."
Anthony laughed and looked at me: "This is kind of forward, and I don't want to get in trouble with my boss, but can I give you my number?"
"Yeah," I grinned back, trying not to look too excited or my teeth would start chattering (they do that when I get nervous). "Do you have a pen or something?" Then I realized that I had a cell phone and paper/pen is not the most convenient way to give someone your information anymore. Idiot.
I put his number into my phone, and he scurried back to work. My friends and I stayed for another 15 minutes or so and before we left, I wandered up to the bar and told him we were leaving but that I'd see him later. I then proceeded to exit via the patio door which was not actually an exit to the street, so I was forced back into the brewery, past the bar (from which I avoided embarrassing eye contact after having gone out the wrong way) and finally outside.
Almost as soon as we reached the car, Mara had her phone out, searching for Anthony's name and the brewery he worked at. She's almost as good a Facebook creep as me. Of course, he popped up right away. From a small town in Minnesota. Finishing up law school. Owns a dog.
The verdict was in. This kid was adorable.
To be continued...