Barstool Activism

And then there she is. Perched on the edge of a bar stool, drink in hand. As usual. Just as she always does, just as she always has done. Nothing has changed about this scene except for the passage of time – she gets older, and the rest of the world stays the same. The same bottles on the shelves, the same lines of glassware, the same tepid smile on some different bartender’s face, asking, “What would you like to drink?” with a slight undertone of, “Woman alone in a bar.”

It’s supposed to be an act of rebellion. But it’s not going very well so far. Alone, at a bar, drink in hand, watching the passers by. It’s supposed to feel romantic, or, at least, that’s what she tells herself and she drinks some more. It’s not supposed to feel like alcoholism, which it may or may not be, although, if it is, this is just the beginning. Or, actually, the middle, because this habit of drinking alone at the bar is symptom of years of drinking all night at the bar with a gaggle of friends while picking up dive bar dick.

No – rebellion. Make it a rebellion. Make it revolutionary to drink alone at a bar. This isn’t an act of defeat. This is a woman, alone, at a bar, unafraid of the world and the strangers who walk in. Although – let’s be honest. She’s afraid. She’s so fucking afraid of this place and these people and what having a drink alone at a bar will to do her. Anything can happen, and anything has happened. All those bad things they say happen to women at bars – they have happened to her.

She tries not to think about it as she smiles at the bartender and asks for another. But those bad things – those are the reasons that this is an act of rebellion. Because she is afraid, because bad things have happened, but she’s not the type of person to let fear get in the way. This is her statement, her resistance. This is her silent way of screaming that you will not get rid of me. I will not go away. You will have to fucking kill me if you want me to leave. I am a survivor.

This is why she’s dressed up like that, too much make up and a Louis Vuitton purse that is far too nice for this downtown dive. It’s supposed to be a semblance of thriving, meant to cover up the pratfalls of fear and pain that are still sharp in her memory. Yes, this is a facade. But is it working? Do you believe the lie? If you believe the lie long enough, at what point does it become the truth?

She finishes up the drink, pays the bill, goes home. She wonders if the rebellion has worked as she takes of her make up and tucks into bed. She wonders if other women will fill her seat after she has gone. If this act of bravery has been worth anything. If a woman alone at a bar in the face of all the world’s danger is a noble pursuit.

Or does the whole world know that she’s a woman alone at a bar, and there is nothing beautiful about that at all.

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