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:
- There were several large, dense and impenetrable groups of friends. Not even T-Bone could have opened up some of those sets.
- Many small groups (two or three people) proliferated — and they tended to cluster around the venue’s periphery.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- There were a lot of young people present, and their inhibitions were lower and their desire for alcohol was higher. Surprise, surprise.
- Public displays of affection were surprisingly restrained and tasteful, despite the large number of males who eventually decided that shirts were optional.
- 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.