“The usual please,” that was my first word to the bartender as I sat down on my favorite spot.
“Coming right away,” the bartender answered, immediately preparing my order.
There were only four people in the bar that night. Me — the regular guy that visited this bar at least three times a week, two women who talked in a very hushed voice, and of course the bartender who’s also the owner of the place.
I looked at the girls, silently judging their existence in the bar. There were a bit too many drinks on the table for two women to share. You can easily tell that the first girl drink more than the second one, although she didn’t smoke as much as her friend.
My drink arrived, and not so long after that, the smoking lady approached the bartender for the bill. The drinking lady was still sitting while staring at her almost empty glass.
They left. Now it’s only me and the bartender.
“You’ve been staring at those ladies,” he asked.
“Yeah, I feel bad for the drinking lady.”
“You know, I always feel … sad … whenever I see a woman drinking, alone or with friends.”
“Judging from the amount she drank, it’s a pretty normal reaction I guess.”
“No, it’s not that, I mean even in different context I would still feel bad about them.”
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t want to sound sexist or anything, but there’s just something about the image of women drowning themselves with drinks…”
The bartender said nothing, waiting for me to continue.
“Getting drunk puts you in a very vulnerable position, and I just feel sad whenever I see a woman in that condition … like what kind of problems are they facing to let them put themselves in such vulnerability.”
“I get what you’re talking about, I guess that’s the job of their friends — or the bartender in case they come alone — to make sure they are safe from harm … or from themselves.”
“What if the person they came with is the danger for the woman?”
“That’s a problem indeed, but in my case I always make sure to brew them something that wouldn’t make them drunk.”
“And if they want to get drunk? Or the other person want them to get drunk?”
“I gave them something lighter, most women that came here know how to fake their condition pretty well.”
“I guess that’s why we have drinking age huh?”
“Yeah, they should be mature enough to handle themselves. But we can’t control everything, in the end we are responsible for our own actions.”
“A bit of a cruel thing to say eh?”
“I won’t deny that.”
“That woman just now is in safe hands though?”
“Because she’s with another woman?”
“Yes, a chain-smoking woman to be precise.”
“My view on drunk women might be common, but my view on smoking women might come off as weird.”
“I always see a woman that’s smoking is in exactly the opposite position of a woman that’s drinking. I see them as someone who’s … in control. Someone you shouldn’t mess with.”
“I know it’s such a weird perspective, but whenever I see them, it feels as if they are saying ‘I can do whatever the fuck I want and you don’t even dare to fuck with me,’ both figuratively and literally.”
“Both are not good for your health.”
“Yeah, but the first one looks like a cry for help, while the other feels like a wall they put around to protect them.”
“Well the first one is an act of drowning yourself, while the other is an act of burning yourself.”
“Heh, both will kill you in the end … but I guess you can choose how you leave, with dim lights or the silent coldness.”
“I won’t choose any of them to be honest.”