A Herd of Merry Revelers

A friend and I spent the evening last Saturday at a local bar.  As I was waiting (my friend was delayed a bit), I did a lot of people watching, and got really excited about the things I observed.  Yes, I know I’m a nerd.  Deal.  There’s a big difference between being in a big, crowded bar and being diverted by friends, and being there alone and observing everyone else.  Plus, I’m a writer.  This is useful primary research.

Anyway, the list of observations:

  1. There were several large, dense and impenetrable groups of friends.  Not even T-Bone could have opened up some of those sets.
  2. Many small groups (two or three people) proliferated — and they tended to cluster around the venue’s periphery.
  3. The sexuality tended toward the extremes — either being downplayed, or being flaunted with reckless abandon.  Not too much “I’m sexy, but not a whore” mannerisms or apparel.
  4. A lot of the loners either stood like statues, often with a drink, or with a face perpetually buried in a cell phone.  There were many loners.  It was sad.
  5. There didn’t appear to be too much mingling among groups.  Several of the groups were porous with other groups, but in general it seemed that mixing was kept to a minimum.
  6. There were a lot of young people present, and their inhibitions were lower and their desire for alcohol was higher.  Surprise, surprise.
  7. Public displays of affection were surprisingly restrained and tasteful, despite the large number of males who eventually decided that shirts were optional.
  8. This particular venue has five distinct areas:  (a) an upstairs bar with a seating area and an active karaoke station, and on the lower level, (b) a dance floor, (c) the bar and standing area associated with the dance floor, (d) a large seating area by a third bar, and (e) a set of pool tables near the bathrooms.  Each area seemed to have a “feel” that was different from the rest.  The karaoke area was relaxed and a bit older and quieter.  The dance floor was the most sexually charged.  The lower-level seating area was where most of the groups congregated.

Nothing earth-shattering, to be sure.  But still, an interesting study in group dynamics.  Sometimes, you can be somewhere and not really appreciate its human ebbs and flows until you step aside and simply watch.

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