I’m in a pub in Dublin. BadBobs Temple Bar, to be specific. It’s Saturday. We had been here a few nights previously on a Wednesday and were welcomed to the city by a beautiful man playing even more beautiful music on his acoustic guitar to a half empty room. He jested about the minimal mingling midnight crowd but we sang together in solidarity, sharing love and heartache and as he strummed the chords of any heartstrings that cared to listen.
Tonight? Tonight was different. Tonight was Rihanna loud enough to rattle your lungs out of your chest and low-cut beauties with blue teeth and batted eyes looking for proof of interest in a dimly lit room. Give it light. Strike up a conversation, set fire to the matches made here.
Lauren and I took a table near the door, the only available, and danced in our seats over casual conversation. A man approached us with a confidence lent only to those fortunate enough to fall swiftly into symmetric line with the societal standard of beauty. He insisted on the importance of living without fear. His name, lost among bass lines and Irish chatter, was the least interesting thing about him. He spoke of his hometown in Holland and diving with sharks and playing guitar… All the while intently focused on my friend.
I was given the occasional drunken slur of inclusion, each word perfumed by malt and cigarettes, but it was clear where his interest lay. I sat quietly, listening, as I often do, and watched as the sharing of humanity unfolded before me. He was handsome, interesting, a bit reckless, sure, but he was leaving in the morning and conversations in bars are hazy like the bottom of empty glasses anyway, so why not have another? I, despite my casual indifference, gained the attention of a man who introduced himself with a name that was instantly forgotten, exchanged like currency where the only thing that mattered was the product.
I attempted conversation, he was from Dublin, after all, and his city was worth mentioning. His general being was forgetful at best. Unimpressed eyes darted as he scoped for a more promising target, but as the room proved chiefly XY rather than XX he returned his gaze to me. “Would ya like to go upstairs?” he asked, any interest to his inquiry feigned by the lilt of his accent. I dodged, seeking refuge from my friend who was in the midst of the best kind of bar interaction, the empty kind, the charming kind, and I was left without aid.
She, enamored, agreed to follow Stan or Stave or Stephan or any number of handsome Holland deviations of nomenclature, it really didn’t matter once his jawline was involved, and she nodded in eager agreement for proceeding upstairs toward the music and the promise of further darkness. I stood from my table. “Oh. You’re…tall…” he discovered with a Sherlockian intuition, failing to disguise his distaste for my nearly 5 foot 8 frame my sensible footwear offered me. I carried on upstairs. This man, the Dubliner, short in stature, character, and conversation, insisted upon dance.
I declined and chose instead to take to the cobbled corners of Temple Bar to write about it. With numb fingertips I considered the evening. Maybe that’s the problem, I write. I lend my thoughts to inked idiosyncrasies rather than sipping on drunken pleasantries.
Thanks, Dublin, but I think I’ll stick to Wednesdays.