I figured out my bartender thing. I definitely have a preference for bartenders who mix cocktails over bartenders who draw beer or pour slugs of hard liquor into shot glasses. But I had a revelation last week when I was in Austin that revealed my attraction has almost nothing to do with their alcohol-related expertise. (Apologies to everyone in Austin I did not call – I was only there for a couple of days, and I was there for a couple of specific events, which left me with no free time, and I didn’t have a car, which left me stationary, because even though it’s Austin, it’s still Texas, and you can’t get anywhere without a car. Anyhoodle.)
One of the events I attended was a special wine-pairing dinner at Siena with Loraine and our friends Beth and Lowell. I’d never been to Siena before, and when Loraine and I walked in, we both said, “It smells like Italy.” I think it’s because we associate the scent of burning wood with Torre del Tartufo, which is what we mean when we say something smells like Italy. Once we got all the way inside, we noticed that it looked like Italy, too. Whoever designed the building absorbed the architecture in Tuscany and created a beautiful place to have dinner. The food is fabulous, too. You should go.
The dinner paired Italian dishes created by the chef at Siena with wines from two of the most famous wineries in Italy, Tenuta San Guido and Michele Chiarlo. Both of these wineries are family-owned and operated, and each sent a handsome Italian man to discuss their winemaking processes and the wines. Beth, Lowell, Loraine, and I were engaged in fast and furious conversation in our corner from the second we all sat down until we left. I think this accounts for why the handsome Italian winemakers did not come and talk to us except to shake hands and introduce themselves. (I think this is also the reason we didn’t make it into the foreground of any pictures from the event on Siena’s website.)
Loraine, Beth, and I ended up walking out with the Italians after dinner, though. (Lowell left a little before we did.) (So many parenthetical statements in this post.) Did I mention that this was a wine-pairing dinner at which we tasted eight wines? My gatekeeper had called it a night at least a half hour before we left, so when one of the Italians expressed concern about the rain that was falling, I answered him with something sassy about it being a little water. He explained that they were headed to Colorado the next day, where the rain would be more serious, and would I really want to head into that. Here’s how the rest of our conversation went.
CC, sincerely: I’d be happy to go anywhere with you.
Handsome Italian, pretty smoothly for someone trying to recover from surprise: You can come if you have a canoe.
CC: I don’t have a canoe, but I have a swimsuit.
In the distant background, I think I heard Loraine and Beth say, “Charlotte!” and “Charlotte! Behave!” I can’t tell you which one said what because I was so focused on this poor, tired Italian, who I’m sure missed his home and family in Italy and was weary of dealing with wine poseurs and lovers of Italians all across the U.S. The other handsome Italian thought it was good fun, and he would have egged me on, but it’s not a big parking lot, and we had all reached our cars. The last thing the Italians said to me after “Buona notte,” was “Charlotte, don’t behave.” I lied and shot back, “I never do.” (Are you kidding? Behaving is all I do. What the heck has happened to me?)
Do you know how long it’s been since I had a satisfying, fun, and flirty exchange with a handsome stranger? Years. Seriously. Online dating doesn’t lend itself to the kind of flirting I like, and for whatever reason, I don’t get approached with it out in the wild. Except by bartenders. And because of their jobs, bartenders are versatile flirts – they have the ability to flirt effectively with anyone who sits at their bars. It ought to be written into their job descriptions if it’s not already.
All of this to say that when I find Mr. Right-for-me, he may not be able to mix a cocktail as I originally promised. But our dinner parties will still be unstoppable because when you attend, you’ll enjoy one of the best sessions of banter in your life. And if you don’t like bantery conversation, well, let’s be honest. You probably won’t be invited in the first place.