The music is loud and the champagne is overpriced. All the people are well dressed and there are too many of them. Some people have glow-sticks wrapped around their wrists- these people are part of a bar hopping Meetup group.
I hate standing around and drinking in pubs, but it’s one method of meeting men in Melbourne that I haven’t yet ticked off the list. Hence standing here, drinking $11.50 champagne, wearing a pink glow-stick and regretting wearing heels.
I meet man with spiky hair and a stunning jaw line called Brock. With a name like that he should be a bogan but he uses multisyllabic words so I follow him when he invites me over to the balcony. We talk shit. He’s only been overseas once. He went to Dubai. To go skydiving. Over a man made island shaped like a palm tree. For the weekend. Am I talking to some kind of millionaire? If I am, can he buy my next drink?
We look at the city skyline. “I feel like one of those girls in the dance movies,” I say, “When they move from the country to the big city to follow their dreams and they get overawed by all the tall buildings and bright lights. I’ve never been to a rooftop bar before.”
“Well,” Brock says, looking right at me, “I’ve never kissed anyone on a rooftop bar before.”
I giggle and blush and change the subject and curse the distance between our barstools. We talk shit for another 45 minutes, then I venture downstairs to the loo. On my return I find him talking to another girl, with designer clothes and blow-waved blonde hair. I leave him to it and bump into another glow-stick bearing babe.
After talking shit for all of two minutes it becomes clear we’re looking for different things.
“Sorry,” I say, “If I was looking for a fling, I’d have a fling with you.”
“If you were looking for a fling,” replies Glow-Stick Bearing Babe Number Two, “You’d already be in my bed by now.”
Who are these people? Where does all this bravado come from? Beer?
Babe Number Two has obviously done this several times before, so I ask his advice on how this whole picking up in a bar thing works.
“You’re an attractive woman,” he says, “Surely you should just stand there for five minutes and they’ll throw themselves at you. Let’s do an experiment. Stand here, alone, don’t play with your phone, and smile at anyone who looks at you.”
So I stand there. Nothing. Smiling welcomingly at anyone who glances my way. Nothing. I even twirl my hair a bit for added effect. Nothing. I cross my arms and push up my cleavage a bit. Nothing. After four and a half minutes a woman asks me if I’m waiting for someone and invites me to wait with her friends. I scan the room and see that Brock is tuning yet another chick. Is this a pretentious place, the wrong crowd or is there something I’m not doing right?
Babe Number Two comes over and hands me a glass of champagne, incredulous at my lack of success.
“Maybe you need to drink more?” he wonders, “Or wear short shorts? They’re pretty hot. Just show more leg, and more cleavage.”
I try to explain that I’m a classy lady so I’ll only show leg OR boobs, not both, but now that it’s clear I won’t sleep with him, Babe Number Two had lost interest in me. I’d lost interest in this roof top bar. My feet hurt. It was past midnight. I was hangry – so hungry I was getting a bit angry. The loud music had gotten louder and more terrible. On my way out I saw Brock with yet another bird, then while I was waiting for my tram I saw him walking with another.
I watched the dressed up and the drunks strut and stumble along Swanston Street. Were they all just chasing tail too? Does everyone essentially want the same thing? Is everyone playing this game except me?