A Man’s Bar

Author: robertinseattle

Perfect Irish BarOne of the many fun e-mails I get – and share – daily from friends had this touched up image with a title, The Perfect Irish Bar. It gave me a chuckle and brought back a memory from my traveling days back in the early 70’s.

I was enjoying a well-deserved semi-retirement sabbatical after finally selling my property and businesses in Toronto in ’73. My girlfriend and I had driven across Canada from Toronto to Vancouver and down the West Coast to Arizona and then all the way down to Mexico in my camper van with no particular itinerary, savoring new adventures as they came up. My girlfriend loved her beer and there wasn’t a bar we didn’t visit along the way. My Asian genes kept telling me I didn’t really enjoy alcohol at all but that’s a story for another day.

We made our way across the border from Arizona through Nogales and into Mexico in the early Spring and ended up at another RV campsite just south of the border where there were lots of old retirees camped out in their Winnebagos. We were always an anomaly as a young 20-something hippie-ish couple mingling in with those generally 70-plus year old seniors who had obviously been making these winter treks for years down to the warmer climes to dodge those colder Northern winters every years. After clearing the border, we made it to our first campground and settled in for a couple of days to acclimatize before heading further south.

One of the couples who befriended us at this first campsite practically took us in and spent a lot of time enjoying the company and it made us feel very welcome. The husband was a tall man and his wife had been a traditional stay-at-home Mom taking care of the household and raising the kids. Can’t remember their names but the husband – let’s call him John – had been a bodyguard to Chief Justice Earl Warren at one point in his career and eventually became a security guard as he eased his way into retirement. Unfortunately, he showed me a mangled hand from where a bank robber had shot him during a botched holdup, which prompted his full retirement. (“Sumbitch shot me trying to rob the bank!”) We enjoyed some meals with them and shared a lot of cool stories. My girlfriend was adamantly committed to feminism and women’s lib issues of the time so it certainly made for some interesting discussions from time to time.

One evening as we were walking back to our campground from dinner at another cool little restaurant, John pointed to this nondescript little bar and said, “Now, Robert, my boy. This here’s a MAN’S bar! Let’s go in for a cerveza!

To which my girlfriend immediately pounced and declared, “Man’s bar?!! That’s ridiculous! I can go in there and have a beer too!”

“Now this is really a man’s bar, darlin’. You can’t go in there.” replied John politely but very firmly.

After 5 more minutes of my girlfriend’s objections, the wife finally just grabbed her by the arm and said, “Let’s go back to our camper and enjoy a beer ourselves, honey.”

Grumbling, she headed off with the missus.

So John and I wandered in to this bar and shuffled our way across the wooden floor littered with sawdust and peanut shells that had probably never been swept in years. It was a scene right out of the movies. We wandered up to the bar and ordered our two beers while still chuckling away about the diminishing sanctity of men’s bars.

The bar was made of old rough granite with a slick wooden top that the bartender used to slide drinks up and down to the patrons. The place wasn’t really busy or noisy at all, so five minutes later I hear this tinkling of water down at the other end of the bar. I glanced over to see what was running and my mouth dropped. One of the obviously regular patrons was literally standing there up against the bar guzzling his beer with his fly unzipped and his schlong just hanging out pissing against the granite bar. I hadn’t even really noticed the gutter that drained everything away until this stream of pee trickled past us.

John glanced over to see my amused shock and chuckled. “Yep! Like I said, a MAN’S bar!”

And then we ordered two more beers.

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