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The Barmaid Blog™: Life for a 30-something Manhattan Barmaid

Ammonia-Filled Tentacle

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Ammonia-Filled Tentacle

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When I finally tell her on Sunday, she's braiding my hair, an act at once childish and intimate. She doesn't pause or slow down, and I think maybe she doesn't get it. But when she's done she asks me what we'll do when her job brings her back to the Bar every few weeks, and I know she understands. I tell her we'll act like adults, and I hope like friends.

"I don't know if I could handle being just your friend again," she says. "It's not enough."

No, it's absolutely not enough. "I know it's not your fault, Bonnie, but it breaks my heart to be with you."

"Did you make up your mind before you came over here tonight?"

I made up my mind before I came over here the first night. "I'd been thinking about it."

"But you wanted to fuck me again."

Okay. I take a deep breath and reach for my jeans on the floor. I've got one leg nearly through when she reaches an arm around my chest and yanks me backwards onto the bed, my yelp meek like a puppy's. "Maybe I get to fuck you again, too," she says, and pins my arms. I don't even have time to think about the incongruity of the desire and the threat before she gets up again and walks to her window. I lie there equal parts sad, excited, and afraid. "You don't have to go now," she says, her back to me. "It's not a place to be walking around in the middle of the night."

I just stare at her body in the dim wash of the streetlight at the end of the block, and wonder how I'm going to watch her flirt with my customers without wanting to tear them apart. "Please don't leave yet," she says more quietly, and then she comes back to bed. We sleep, a little, here and there, but mostly we just grab at each other, unsure of how to let go. When I leave in the morning I'm leaving a gap in a part of me where, not so long ago, I never even knew I had a part of me.

Tuesday afternoon I'm at the Bar with my laptop, Jocelyn over my shoulder, taking advantage of the nearly complete lack of customers at this hour. I've logged into the one dating website on which I've ever had a profile, and I'm reactivating it and editing it ever so slightly. "I can't find the damn setting," I bitch at her.

"There," she points. "Wow, that could be a little less intuitive."

I switch from "Straight" to "Bisexual," and just like that, I've come out. I did it here many months ago... but this is a different kind of anonymity. On the dating website I'm just another 26 year old woman with a few witty sayings... it doesn't even say what I do for a living. But right there at the top is my photo. This, the profile now says, is a photograph of a girl who likes both boys and girls. Step right up and take a gander, you might see her on the street. My head spins.

"So what are you looking for in a girlfriend?" Jocelyn asks.

"Huge tits."

She laughs, "I'm taken!"

We craft a search for women around my age in or near the city who are also interested in women, and we start browsing. "Hey, she's cute," Jocelyn points, and I smile, thinking how far we've come since our first conversation after she found out I was bi. She is cute, though, and I scroll to read more about her. I barely get past "poetry," though, because the laptop goes "ping" and a new little instant message window opens up in the corner.

"ur hot," the IM says. The tiny little photo is of a mostly bald guy with a big, toothy smile.

"Thanks," I type in response.

"my gf & i love 3somes, u?"

"Wow," Jocelyn says. "That didn't take long."

"I might have to make a few more edits to my profile," I reply, and close the IM window just as a group of businessmen enters the Bar.

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