Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Relationship Obstacle #2: Working Together - Bar Staff Edition

Image by Josh Kenzer,
"If Barack Obama can do it, why can't I?" - Rhys Cronin (Bar Staff, Boyfriend)

Couples in the workplace are a common occurrence, and the issues that are tied to the situation are even more common. It is less of a problem if you aren't put to work the same times, the normality of relationship routine continues with 'How was your day?' However, relationship boundaries are tested when working the same hours, depending on the industry you've both chosen (or are just stuck in).

When working as bar staff both partners have to deal with the inevitability of their boyfriend or girlfriend being pursued by the opposite sex. Everyone who says relationships are built on trust never worked in a bar. Trust is one thing, but seeing your other half fawned over by your average nightmare (e.g. wannabe Cheryl Cole types who can't tan their legs properly) can awaken insecurities in the most secure of people.

The advantage of this situation is you both understand the issues that you encounter on a day to day basis, and you both understand the hostility involved in the environment that you work in. You can both complain about the ice bucket being empty and about the bands always singing Whiskey in the Jar -there'll be whiskey down my throat if I have to endure that one again. There is also your mutual distaste for overly peppy co workers. Seriously, why can't you just hate life like the rest of us?

The other issue we have to face in the work place is privacy, as private issues are challenged in the public sphere, becoming common knowledge and in-house gossip. The delicate and mostly fragile balance lies between keeping your work selves and personal selves completely separated. Even couples who work in the same building, or even the same office, don't experience the moments dominated by doubt that are fuelled by the drunken sex fuelled hormones of single men and women, looking for an easy flirt with the bar staff.

These are the scenarios we both seem to encounter on a regular basis, I have enlisted the brain of my boyfriend to help me put this one together.

Scenario #1: Girl being flirted with at the bar.
She's thinking: Smile politely. Insert coquettish laugh and avoid awkward eye contact and maybe I can get a £1 tip.
He's thinking:
a.) Shit. Look at him, I don't care if he's here with twenty friends the next time he does that I'm going to jump over the bar and make him regret flirting with my Misses.

b.) Shit. Look at him, he's a good looking lad. Why is she even giving him any attention? She knows I don't like this, why doesn't she say she's got a boyfriend on this side of the bar? She doesn't want me.

Scenario #2: She's messing around with a male co-worker
She's thinking: Oh for crying out loud, there's anti bacterial spray in my hair again.
He's thinking: She doesn't love me. I'm going to sulk in the glass wash.

Scenario #3: He's messing around with a female co-worker 
She's thinking:
a.) Oh how nice, you have a friend. Wait.. why don't you act that fun with me in work?
b.) Have as many girl friends as you want, I just want you to be that happy with me when we're here. I'm going to get chocolate buttons from Tesco.

He's thinking:
a.) It's only a bit of banter. I have her best interests at heart.
b.) Where's she going now? Maybe she's had a better offer on the other side of the bar. She doesn't love me.

Scenario #4: She leaves chocolate in your locker.
She's thinking: Thank God for that sleazy guy earlier, those tips paid for this Lindt bunny.
He's thinking: Why has she done this? Is it out of guilt or what? She can't afford it. Oh look, a can of unmarked energy drink (she said I couldn't promote in this blog, even though she said Lindt.) She must love me.

The only thing to remember, you're the one they're going home with - while those wannabe Cheryl Cole types walk around with their false eyelashes stuck to their cheek and the athletic looking men are throwing up their kebabs down Chippy Alley on a Saturday night.

Disclaimer: If anyone wants to send us energy drinks to leave in each other's lockers, you're more than welcome. So if Mr Red Bull is reading, email us at, also known as
Written by myself and edited comically by Rhys Cronin.