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A couple comes in to the bar last week. He’s intelligent-looking, with stylish glasses and salt-and-peppered hair, and nicely dressed. She’s a vision of adorableness: petite, with innocent eyes, a gorgeous smile, and the body of an angel. They grab a table in the bar and sit on the same side of it together, all cute-like. They hold hands and whisper in each other’s ear as they sip their cocktails.

Ordinarily these two would be any bartender’s ideal customers. They’re polite, they’re tipping, and they seem to be low-maintenance. But I know something you don’t know: These people are fucking psychotic.

They come in once a month, just rarely enough for me to remember them. And I always forget, it’s terrible. I forget, and since all I remember is their nice, friendly faces, I’m almost happy to see them. That all changes when I walk over to their table to clear their fourth round.

And it hits me: Holy shit, are these people are in the middle of the most mentally abusive breakup ever? Did I just overhear him call her the c-word? Did she just tell him that she screwed his best friend? Oh my God, is he crying? What the fuck?!

It happens every time. They break up every time they come in to my bar. Every. Single. Time. And every time, he leaves. He pays the bill and storms out, leaving her a husk, a shell, whimpering at the table. It’s the saddest thing you’ve ever seen, until you see what happens next.

She goes into the bathroom, and when she comes out, she’s happier than you’ve ever seen her before. She sits down with a group of business guys and chats them up. They buy her a drink and ask her if she’s okay. She tells her psychotic story, that he’s a jerk, that she gave back his engagement ring tonight, and so on. I don’t know who to feel sorry for, him or her. But he’s gone, and she’s sitting here, so I guess I’m feeling a little sorry for her, even though I know she’s completely insane.

I make sure to keep one eye out for her safety as I do my side work behind the bar, but she doesn’t need my help – the men slowly slide away as they come to the same realization. She then turns her attention to me, tells me the same story I’ve heard countless times before, and the next thing you know I’m putting her in a cab and slipping the driver twenty bucks to make sure she gets home safely.

They’ll be back in about six weeks and we’ll go through all of this again. Ain’t love grand?

5 Replies to “Lovebirds”

  • P.S.BarChick says:

    Wow, I just loved this post, made me laugh right out loud!
    I’m pretty sure this couple exists in every town or city. I work in a southern CA desert resort town, and although the players didn’t look the same and were younger than your “psychotic couple”, the game was about the same! My goodness, the drama some people create. my first time kicking someone out was “psychotic couple” and it felt kinda good.
    At least they make for good stories, and thanks for sharing yours!

  • Scooter says:

    Is the girl in the picture Rachel Ray?

  • Mad Jack says:

    I used to date a girl who turned into a nasty, messy drunk. She was OK after the first drink, a little loud on the second, belligerent on the third and mean to everyone on the fourth. She’d then demand a fifth or sixth drink and try to start fights with the people around her. We broke up on drink five, third time this happened.

    I returned several weeks later and appologised to the bartender, and left him a large tip that evening. The man was decent and forgiving, but who needs the hassel? The girl eventually went on the wagon and moved to California.

  • Jessie Jane says:

    Jeffrey, your favorite couple reminds me of one of my own worst shifts: couple comes into the bar, no problems. They’re with some friends, semi-regulars, decent folks.

    About an hour or so in, she starts raising her voice as he walks away from her. Before I even have time to clue myself into their argument, I watch as she hurls her beer bottle halfway across the barroom at his head.

    Luckily, she was a lousy shot, because she managed to hit the wall next to the pinball machine (with nobody playing) instead of her soon-to-be-ex boyfriend.

    That was a fun 86. Keep up the good work!


  • Is this an actual photo of the lovely couple?

    Interesting how coasting through life and relationships on looks alone may not be a workable plan for dealing with life’s little challenges.

    Of course, I’m making some wild guesses about the motivations of said couple. I’ve known plenty of folks blessed with good genetics who are mentally stable, pleasant, productive contributors to society.

    But every once and a while… Damn. Being cute/good looking is not a lisense to be a self absorbed, emotional drain to those around you.

    I predict a tortured future – for both.

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