It was a pretty diverse place. People of all stripes were there, sitting at a big table together and hoping for the best. We could watch each other’s faces in real-time. There were people there who’d voted for everybody. But it didn’t matter. There weren’t any fights, which is actually pretty amazing when you think about it. I don’t go to super-rough bars, but this one was a little harder than the ones around Brown. That’s why I picked it.
I love prole bars. Not the rednecky ones where you’ve got a mom and daughter rubbing up on the same guy. I mean the bars where people lie for their egos, not to get something out of you. Where you’ll meet depressed people of all ages and where no one is politically correct. Where the bartenders have seen some shit and the people who own the place are incapable of doing literally anything else.
I hung out at a bar like that every night in grad school. (Which definitely contributed to my flunking out.) It skewed student because of the location, but you could meet pretty much anyone there. It wasn’t a “good” bar. It wasn’t a bad bar either, not like the place with the two-dollar Vladi shots down the street that stayed open after everything closed. It was a hippie bar. People would dress up for poker night. They had live bands. You kind of had to watch yourself around one of the owners until he skipped town.
I met every guy I dated that year at that bar. One of them worked the door and I brought him a container of mac-and-cheese I’d made on his shift and people thought it was cute. I was SO fucking comfortable there. When I got the letter that said I’d flunked out, I was at the bar. It was the best place to get the bad news. I was one of those people who could hang out there after it closed. I was that much of a regular. I haven’t approached anything close to that level of bar-comfort greatness since then. But I hope to in the future.
Hanging out at bars is a mixed bag for autistic people. I know I’m not the only one who likes it. We’re not the most talkative people in the world, but even just watching people and listening to conversations teaches us more about the human condition than the Internet ever will. Plus if you hang out enough people talk to you. Especially once it’s late and you’re one of the five people left.
Bars are a good ego boost for autistic women too. We don’t have to talk much. Most of the people who talk to us are guys who want to get laid. Which doesn’t make it bad conversation. If you know anything about men, you know they put looks as 70% of the initial package, but your charm and intelligence are still 30%. Part of the reason I’m so deathly afraid of losing my looks is because I don’t know if anyone will talk to me after it happens. But that’s another good reason for aspie girls to go to bars: to sharpen up on our conversational skills so we’ll have something to say once we actually have to.
Seriously you guys, Cheers is real. People have been going to bars since the dawn of time. Since Mesopotamia. Since Ur. Tavern-owner was one of the first job opportunities open to women. No one there cares if you’re weird. Just find a place that caters to your age group and interests and stick to it. You’ll feel great.