I am not usually comfortable in a bar by myself, but I had been in San Francisco for a week and the apartment I sublet had no chairs in it, just a bed and a couch. My friends in town were married or worked nights. On Tuesday I had lentil soup for supper standing up at the kitchen counter. After I finished, Gwalior Escort Service I moved to the couch in the empty living room and sat under the flat overhead light refreshing feeds on my laptop. This was not a way to live. A man would go to a bar alone, I told myself. So I went to a bar alone.
I sat on a stool at the centre of the bar, ordered a beer, and refreshed the feeds on my mobile. I waited for something to happen. A basketball game played on several monitors at once. The bar had red fake leather booths, Christmas lights and a female bartender. A lesbian couple cuddled at one end of it. At the other end Call Girl in Gwalior, around the corner from where I sat, a bespectacled man my age watched the game. As the only man and the only woman alone at the bar, we looked at each other. Then I pretended to watch the game on a monitor that allowed me to look the other way. He turned his back to me to watch the monitor over the pool tables, where the pool players now applauded some exploit.
I waited to be approached. A few stools down, two men broke into laughter. One came over to show me why they were laughing. He handed me his mobile and pointed to a Facebook post. I read the post and smiled obligingly. The man returned to his seat. I drank my beer.
I allowed myself a moment’s longing for my living room and its couch. The couch had a woollen blanket woven in a Navajo-inspired pattern, exemplary of a trend in San Francisco that a friend of mine calls ‘White People Gone Wild’. When I moved in, the receipt for the blanket was on the mantelpiece. It had cost $228. There was a cast-iron gas stove in the fireplace. I had fiddled with the knobs and the gas, but couldn’t figure out how to ignite it. At night the room had the temperature and pallor of a corpse. There was no television.
I returned to my mobile and opened OK Cupid, the free internet dating service. I refreshed the feed that indicated whether other people in the neighbourhood were sitting alone in bars. This service is called OK Cupid Locals. An OK Cupid Locals invitation has to start with the word ‘Let’s’:
Let’s smoke a joint and hang out
Let’s grab a brunch, lunch, beer or some such for some friendly Saturday revelry.
Let’s get a drink after Koyaanisqatsi at the Castro.
Let’s meet and tickle.
Let’s enjoy a cookie.
Let’s become friends and explore somewhere.
‘Let’s go now you and I’ always comes into my mind, but I’ve never broadcast an OK Cupid chat signal, I just respond. That night I scrolled until I found a handsome man who had written a benign invitation: ‘Let’s get a drink.’ I looked at his profile. He was Brazilian. I speak Portuguese. He played the drums. ‘Tattoos are a big part of my friends and family’s life,’ he wrote. Every era has its utopian possibilities: ours is the chance to make our lives more bearable through technology.