The keys to my heart

Imagine it’s one of those days where you get off work and head to your favorite bar to have a nice drink and unwind from the day. Now, imagine you walk into said bar and there are at least 75 people all crowded around for a poetry reading. Not to judge, but poetry readings have never been high on my to-do list, much less when all I want is a quiet after-work-drink. The bartender told me it was the last reading of the night so I ordered a glass of wine and decided to stick it out.

With the last metaphor spoken and applauded for the bar started to clear out, but was still quite a bit busier than your average weekday night. I’m standing by the bar waiting for a seat to open up but the crowd is all literary types that think it’s ok to sit at the bar and not order a goddamn drink for over an hour. Or better yet the ones who think it’s completely normal to have a seat just for their jacket (mind you there are coat stands available in plenty). You know the types (or hopefully not). Anyway, I had several guys try and hit on me, but they knew when to stop and none of them lasted very long.

All of the sudden I am swept off of my feet by the most charming would be suitor of all. Oh Devin Keys (imagine sarcasm just dripping out of my ears). Keys as in “I locked myself out and have to go home with you” type of keys (I’m not making this shit up, he said it not me). But here I am getting ahead of myself. I’m standing, facing the bar, as that’s where my drink is, and Devin, a paunch, middle aged, nerdish guy, comes up and introduces himself. He leads in with “Do you know if they make a good Shirley Temple here?” That’s the good note that we get off on. I looked at him in disbelief and asked him to repeat himself. I said I had never had a Shirley Temple at this particular bar (or ever) but I would vouch for all the drinks at this bar. It turns out however that this was just the pickup line, because this guy didn’t have a single drink all night, which made the whole encounter just a touch creepier. After a few more exchanges he leads in with, “So what do you do with your life?” I’m not sure what it is about that sentence, maybe it’s the vaguely hostile wording, but immediately I felt weird. I explained to him my dancing-nanny situation. He told me he did ballet to better help him play tennis (I didn’t know that was a thing) and busted out the first position and some jetés for me right there in the bar. The crowded bar. Luckily I didn’t have to call paramedics, although the paramedics are generally hot and that might have actually made the night better. Eager to get him off this kick, I proceed to ask him what he does with his life. Turns out he’s a journalist and human rights activist extraordinaire. Lucky me. He leaves to go back to his friends but before going he says “I like how you didn’t even turn around during our conversation, just your head. You know they say you can tell within the first five minutes if a girl is into you just by the direction of her feet.” Instead of taking his own comment as a hint, he led this into how we should make that a yoga position, or some such nonsense. Then he leaves for his friends table and I let out a sigh of relief.

A seat finally opens up at the bar and I sit down, enjoying my refreshing glass of wine and before I know it, guess who is back? That’s right, Devin the human rights activist. Now I won’t bore you with the entirety of this lengthy pickup endeavor, because frankly, it was lengthy, only the highlights. Talking about his whole human rights activism thing, he asked me if I did anything like that. I said I liked to think I wasn’t a complete waste of time but that I was in no way up to his standards. He told me not to worry, if I just spent all my time making him happy then inadvertently I would also be helping with human rights. Ew. Several sentences later he told me how many death threats he’d had this week. Here I am wondering if this was supposed to impress me, ‘cause the main thing it is doing is making me feel the need to get away from him as quickly as possible. It’s at this moment in the evening when I notice his super creeper stance. He is standing in front of me, hands on either side. One hand on the chair next to me the other on the bar. He’s got me pinned in. As if that’s not bad enough he’s standing so close to me that his crotch is lightly brushing my knee, and there’s nothing I can do about it. Trying to move out of the position would only make it more obvious that I was in the position in the first place. Trapped between a rock and a crotch? Horrifying, and yet the conversation continued. He made a passing comment on being wealthy, and I jokingly asked “Oh good, so you’re rich?” His comeback was to tell me that his shirt was made from fermented monkey tears and his socks from baby seals. He told me we could talk about it over a hot cup of tea and asked for my email. I gave him my oldest email, you know, the one with your first pets name and your favorite number type shit. He didn’t write it down, told me he would remember it. It was at this point that he ‘jokingly’ proposed we go home together (his first attempt), to which I politely told him that I don’t go home with men that I had just met at the bar. After that exchange we had the following conversation:

“He broke your heart didn’t he, that guy that broke up with you a few weeks ago?”

“Ahhh, no.”

“A month ago?”


“Several months ago?”


“Six months ago?”


“The girl that broke up with you six months ago?”

I should have just said yes to that and possibly saved myself a whole lot of headache. Instead I feigned polite amusement, and the conversation went on. After revealing to him that I live in Bushwick he got excited and suggested we go take a little walk and end up at my apartment at some point or other (his second attempt). I told him that I still didn’t make a habit of taking random men from the bar home with me. The siege continued. When he found out I play the piano he told me that he owned a piano and wanted to invite me to a private concert at his apartment, a one time show exclusively that evening featuring him playing the fabulous Chopin (attempt three, I think, I had lost track). Somehow, I resisted his charm and declined yet again. Through our entire talk I had been sipping on wine, at least two glasses had passed while he loomed over me. Yet, he failed to even glance in the direction of my constantly emptying glass. Now, I don’t expect a guy to buy my drinks, but with this level of invasion, I do expect an offer, especially when the bartender looks right at the guy while filling my glass every time. There are rules to the game after all.


Finally his friends were leaving and he said it had come to that point in the evening where decisions needed to be made, making another oh-so-tempting invitation. I flat out told him he should go home and what did he do? He stayed. However, he went and sat on one of the couches at the bar, still not drinking anything, just sitting there. Not within talking distance, just staring creepily. So weird. He came over to me after an extended period of time and asked me to please come sit with him on the couch, that it was much comfier. I told him I’d think about it and continued sitting at the bar. After another extended period of time he came back and told me he’d given up and he was leaving but insistently asked for my number. I told him I was awaiting an email.


After he finally left, for real, I almost collapsed with relief. I respect everything that you do Devin Keys, keep up the good work. But maybe, read up on appropriate pickup lines. If the book picking up girls for dummies exists, read it from cover to cover. Now I know you think this story is over, but it’s not quite. Devin showed his best game by waiting 3 days (the standard), until sending me an email. That’s right folks, he remembered my email that I’ve had for over 10 years now. What exactly did he invite me out for? I won’t leave you hanging for long. 




About 25shotsandcounting

My name is Sylvia. I’m a 22 year old girl living in NYC. For reasons I wish I knew, I get hit on a lot. I don’t think it’s because I’m particularly more attractive, funnier or even more intelligent than other girls. I’m convinced that it’s some kind of weird aura that only men can sense. An invisible sign that says, “Well hi there, I’m open for business.” Ironically, I’m usually not. The idea for this blog came about while I was dating a bartender in Williamsburg. I would go his bar and have several drinks by myself while waiting for him to get off work. Like clockwork, it was usually only a matter of time before I had a parade of guys come and talk to me. So much so that it became a running joke between my boyfriend at the time and all of his co-workers, just betting how long it would take before I had my next victim. Sometimes flattering, sometimes annoying, other times like some sort of scientific curiosity, the unelicited attention became enough of a pattern to notice and, free drinks aside, generally dread. I seem to be a magnet for awkward pick up attempts, which sometimes lead to misadventures of one kind or another. I know this is a common phenomenon for young women in NYC, but I figured, why not write about it.
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