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Bar Scars

Bitter Bingo

Autumn Whitehurst
Download ten bingo cards you and your friends can use. [zip] [sitx]

By Anna Ditkoff | Posted 11/3/2004

It’s happened to all of us. You go out with a few friends for a quiet drink, only to be accosted by a series of physically, and more important, psychologically repulsive guys. You’re not dressed up. You’re probably wearing the same thing you wore to work or whatever was least dirty in your hamper. You’re certainly not “on the make.” In fact, you’re probably having an in-depth discussion about a heinous breakup or a childhood trauma. But that doesn’t deter these guys. It’s their mating call. We’re not talking about nice guys who strike up a pleasant conversation. Or someone who comes over, pays you a nice compliment, correctly assesses your reaction, and proceeds accordingly. No, we’re talking about the guys who usually hit on you in a bar. Because for every legitimately nice man, there are dozens of others who think they can turn a weeknight at a bar into spring break through sheer force of will. So rather than just being a passive victim of the skeeze, some friends and I invented a game. We call it Bitter Bingo.

The next time you go out for a girls night out, bring along some Bitter Bingo sheets (we've provided a few--use the links under the illustration) and a few pens. Each girl receives a sheet at the beginning of the night. It works just like bingo—you win when you mark off five squares in a row horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. The only difference is that instead of having someone call out B-1 or I-22, you mark off squares based on what kind of creeps come up to your table and try to chat you up. Any guy who comes up to your group is fair play for everyone no matter who he’s hitting on, not that these guys tend to specify. And just like bingo, a lot of it is luck. Some cards are better at certain locations. A card full of macking hipsters isn’t going to help in Federal Hill any more than a baseball-cap-guy-heavy card will at the Ottobar.

Here are just a few of the squares you’re likely to encounter.

The Uninvited Guest: If you’ve got this square, you’re in good shape, because almost all of the perpetrators of these flirtation train wrecks start out this way. You’re in the middle of an intense heart-to-heart when suddenly a strange man decides to change the topic to whatever cheesy pick-up line he thought up a few minutes ago, making him also . . .

The Cheesy Pick-Up Line Guy: You wouldn’t think sane men would toss these tactless grenades—“Fuck me if I'm wrong, but is your name Cleopatra?”—but they do. Then they sometimes morph into . . .

The Guy With No Follow-Up: He started out all right. Maybe a little overrehearsed, but coherent, with some comment on your clothing, a piece of trivia, or a witty observation. But that’s all he’s got. After his initial comment, he falls into awkward silence. He doesn’t leave. He just stands there smiling uncomfortably. Often turning into . . .

The Guy With No Exit Strategy: Once he realizes that this chitchat isn’t getting him anywhere near naked, rather than effect some sort of graceful dismount, he just turns abruptly and leaves. Sure, it’s usually a relief, but still. Guys: “I need another drink” or “I really should get back to my friends” is always a nice option. Speaking of friends, perhaps you’ll run across . . .

The Undynamic Duo: One is goofy. The other is sullen. They play off each other, noting their differences, like they were starring in a bad sitcom: the straight man and the wacky neighbor out to score some chicks. The generally both become . . .

The Guy Who Makes Fun of His Friends: This guy mistakenly believes that guys who think their friends are losers but hang out with them anyway are hot, hot, hot. But mostly he is hoping that by pointing out his friend’s flaws he will become . . .

The Guy Who Looks Good in Comparison. From here things can go in a number of different directions. Maybe you’re in Federal Hill, Canton, or Fells Point. Then you’re likely to run into . . .

The “I’m Not From Here” Guy: This tourist or county-dweller’s wife, tact, and/or sense of shame were apparently lost in baggage claim. He feels that because he is in a different city he is obligated to chat up girls who are quite a bit younger than him. He is often also . . .

The Countercultural Tourist: He’s the straight-laced guy who thinks that the people at Club Charles or the Ottobar are part of some fascinatingly deviant subculture. He will ask you about your tattoos with a sense of confused awe that will make you wonder if he has ever ventured outside his parent’s house.

Not that our homegrown boys don’t have a few issues of their own. Here in Baltimore City we have plenty of . . .

The “What Do I Do or What Do I Do” Guy: He has a day job but refuses to be defined in any way by it. He must then spend far too much time telling you about the art that he plans to create some day. He is often synonymous with the . . .

The Musician/Waiter: I have nothing per se against waiters, or musicians, or musicians who are also waiters. It’s simply that I think I’ve dated you all already. These guys are also often . . .

The Guy with the “Open Relationship”: Which can be loosely translated as “I cheat on my girlfriend and she is either in denial or too insecure to dump me.” These guys make me puke in my mouth a little.

And on and on it goes: the “Let’s Do Shots” Guy, the Guy Who Compliments Weird Things, the Guy Who Talks About His Genitals, and the Thinning of the Herd Guy, who waits until your friend goes to the bathroom to pounce.

Next time you are approached by one of these types, don’t let it ruin your night. Just pull out your Bitter Bingo sheet and realize that the worse the guy talking to you is the closer you are to victory.

Men and women, gay and straight: If you’ve been skeezed on by a type of guy or girl that you think deserves a square of his or her own, drop me a line at aditkoff@citypaper.com. This is also a good place to call me a man-hating bitch

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