A Little Jack Daniel’s and A Lot of Advice

a little jack daniel's and a lot of advice“What’ll ya have?”

“Jack on the rocks.  And some advice.  Please.”

“Well, the Jack is easy.  We’ll see how I do on the advice.  What’s up?”

“I’ve been seeing an amazing woman.  She’s smart, funny, beautiful, independent.  She has friends and she’s tight with her family.  She’s had a few relationships, so she’s already worked through stuff.  Thing is…  I dunno.”

“Ah….  sounds like I better leave the bottle of Jack right here.  I’ll be back.”

The bartender walks to the end of the bar to greet a new customer.  After filling the order, he grabs some empties and returns.

 

“So what’s your name, anyway?”  The bartender extends his hand across the bar, “I might as well know what to call ya.”

Reaching across the bar to shake he says, “Thanks.  My name is Joe.”

“Thanks for coming in, Joe.  I’m Hank.  While I’m happy to dish out advice, I wouldn’t recommend taking any of it.”

Joe laughs and says, “I’ll have another shot.”

Hank pours and says, “See that blonde in the corner?  The one surrounded by girlfriends?  Her name’s Jenna.  She’s probably one of my most popular customers.  I don’t need to tell ya that she’s gorgeous.”

Joe looks over his shoulder and then turns to grab his glass.  “Yeah.  I noticed her when I walked in.”

“Jenna is smart – street smart – with looks and a killer sense of humor.  She has more friends than God.  Everyone knows her.  Every woman wants to be her.  Every guy wants to have her.  She never has an off day.  She’s quick with a joke.  She’s the friend you could call late on a Friday night and she’d invite you to hang with her and the rest of her gang.  She’s where the fun is.  I can’t find a single negative thing to say about Jenna.”

Joe laughs and says, “She can’t be that perfect.  Is she seeing someone?”

“She’s gone through a few guys.  She’s not the use and abuse type, but she hasn’t found “the one” yet.”

 

Hank walks to the waitresses’ station to take an order.

Joe looks over his shoulder to watch Jenna interacting with her friends.  She sips chardonnay – of course.  She’s dressed in a perfect mix of professional/feminine – of course.  Not a hair is out of place – of course.  Her friends are smiling.  He doesn’t see any of that typical feminine competition amongst the group of four.  He turns back to take another sip and wonders why someone hasn’t put a ring on her finger yet.

Hank walks back, “Are you ready for some more?”

“Better get me an ice water.  I could be here awhile.”

Hank laughs, “Good call, man.”  As Hank is filling a glass with ice he says, “See the brunette at the window?”

“I didn’t notice her, but I see her now.”

Hank places a water in front of Joe.  “That’s Beth.  Beth is smart – keeps you on your toes kind of smart.  Her sense of humor runs deep.  She’s intense.  She’s beyond beautiful in that way that you don’t notice at first, and then when you do, you can’t take your eyes off of her.  She’s loyal as the day is long.  She doesn’t hang with a crowd.  You always see her with the same two friends.  She’s independent, unpredictable – in a good way, kind beyond words, and reliable.  Conversation with her is never shallow.  You may not know you are interested in what she has to say until you are sucked in and then realize you cling to her every word.”

Joe turns to look again.  “She’s all that?  Come on.  What’s the negative?  Is she taken?  If she’s not, then there’s something wrong.”

“Nope, she’s available.”  Hank dries a wine glass and hangs it from the rack above his head.  “She’s dated a bit.  She stays with one guy for a long time.  And then things seem to fall apart.  Once she told me that she thought she was too intense for most guys.”

Joe laughs and says, “How is this going to help me with my situation?”

Hank grabs a couple bottles of beer to fill a new order.  “I’m getting to that.  Hang on.”

 

Joe turns to watch Beth.  She’s involved in conversation.  As she talks, she’s unaware of herself.  She isn’t adjusting her hair, or checking the room.  When she listens, she looks at nothing but the friend who is talking.  There’s intensity in her eye contact.  He recognizes a quality that he’s only seen in a couple other people.  Something draws you to her.  Something indefinable.

Hank returns from filling an order at the end of the bar.  He wipes the spot in front of Joe.  “Here’s the thing.  It might seem like it’s a toss-up between those two amazing women.  How would you decide?  A guy would be beyond lucky to have either one of ’em.  It comes down to how you feel about yourself when you’re with them.”

“How do you mean?”  Joe pushes his glass toward Hank.  “I better have another shot.”

“Well, Jenna strokes your ego like you wouldn’t believe.”

“Ah….  now I get what you mean.”

Hank puts the bottle of Jack Daniel’s down and laughs.  “Not like that, Joe.  But she’s no slouch in that department either.  I mean, she says the right things – the things that make you feel good.  She’s good at playing the part of the adoring partner.  Beth, on the other hand, doesn’t cater to you.  She makes you work at a relationship.  She expects you to meet her half way.  She challenges you.  A guy likes himself better when he’s with Beth.  I don’t know how else to say it.  It’s real with Beth.”

 

Joe looks at his watch.  “I gotta go.  Dinner date in 30 minutes.  Thanks for the drinks.  And the advice.  I’m not sure I know what to do, but I got a lot to think about.”  Joe stands to put on his jacket.  “Hank, I gotta ask ya.  How do you know so much about those women?  Do you learn that much by tending bar?”

Hank throws the bar towel over his shoulder and looks Joe in the eyes.  “I was engaged to Jenna.”

Joe puts both hands on the bar, “Are you kidding me?  What happened?  You didn’t get married?”  Joe slowly shakes his head.  “How do you know Beth, then?”

“Beth and I are friends.  That’s it.  Just friends.”

Joe stands up and grabs his keys.  “How come you and Jenna never tied the knot?”

Hank grabs the towel from his shoulder and wipes a spot on the bar that doesn’t need to be wiped, “I couldn’t quit thinking about Beth.”

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3 comments

  1. Serendipity….

  2. Wow Jesse, I love this post. I couldn’t fathom at first how Hank knew as much as he did about both women. At first, I believed he gained all his insight through his mere observation of both women. Maybe he was able to pick up on his idea of who they both were by seeing them routinely in the bar. As you read further he is clearly knowledgeable about core characteristics of each woman, which leads one to believe there is some involvement or knowing of each woman on a personal level.

    Both women, though different are clearly appealing. In Hank’s description they would be likable to any man for varied reasons. A relationship, however, would only work with either if the other person is clear in knowing what they are seeking. Hank clearly thought his first choice (Jenna) was the right choice for the many listed reasons above, yet truly seeing his friend (Beth) sparked an interest that delved deeper, challenged harder beyond a surface level. Tough dilemma.

    My question is does he ever let Beth know?

  3. Kira,

    I don’t know if Hank lets Beth know. I also wonder what Joe will decide.

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