Being the wife of a competitive flair bartender, I’m asked all kinds of questions once the subject of his career comes up in conversation. From “Do you travel with him to his competitions?” to “What is it like having opposite schedules…how do you spend quality time together?” and even, “How do you deal with all the women hitting on your husband while he’s at work?”
So I’d like to shed a little light on the subject. Hopefully, whether you’re a guy or a gal, today’s post will give you some insight into what it’s really like being married to a competitive flair bartender.
Competition & Travel
The first year Dan competed in national competitions, I went with him on every trip. I felt it was important that I fully supported his decision to grow professionally as a flair bartender. And truthfully, I wanted to know how this whole sport worked.
What I learned first was how accepting and amazing the people are in this industry. We now lovingly refer to all of them as our ever-growing “flair family.” After several years of him attending competitions, we can honestly say that we have a friend or at least a flair acquaintance in pretty much any place we’d ever want to travel around the world.
Most competitions are not held on weekends because this is when most bartenders make their money. Therefore, traveling to every competition soon became impractical due to financial and vacation-time constraints for me. I try to attend at least one major competition each year. When time and money allow, I go to more.
The main thing that comes along with competing is practice, practice and more practice. Dan is thankful to work at a place that encourages flair, and therefore, does a lot of his repetition practice at work. However, practicing for a competition requires extra time due to the specific (and different) rules for each comp. It’s not unusual during the month of a big competition that Dan is in the garage flairing at 5:00am after he gets home from work. He will also wake up early during the day (while I’m at work) to do a lot of the more difficult moves that may result in a large amount of noise like glass breaking or tins dropping.
I won’t lie, the scheduling issue is a challenge sometimes. I have a day job and he works nights and weekends. When Dan is coming home from work (usually around 5:00 or 6:00am) I’m just getting up, ready to start my day. And, when I get home from work (6:00-7:00pm), he’s getting ready to leave and start his shift at the bar. Granted, this doesn’t happen every day of the week, but it is a regular occurrence. We also don’t normally have weekend time together like most couples.
Obviously this schedule isn’t for everyone. We, however, actually enjoy it. Both of us are pretty independent and require certain amounts of time alone to recharge and regroup to be creative and productive. Because our schedules allow us this time, we each maintain a wide network of friends and a diverse set of hobbies that we may not have if we felt we had to always “ask permission” to do these things.
Most importantly when we do spend time together, it’s definitely quality time. We don’t normally watch TV or count being in a room doing separate things as “real time together.” We plan fun, exciting days and always look for things we haven’t done. We travel, visit family, see a new Broadway show, explore a local neighborhood, etc. No matter what it is, though, we make sure that we both are still growing and learning from each other.
And, even though kids haven’t entered into our equation just yet, we know that with this philosophy our relationship will continue to work no matter how crazy the schedule becomes.
“Flirty” Girls (or Guys) at Work
No matter which flair bartender you’re dating or married to, the issue of flirtation is always going to present itself in the relationship. I’m not sure what specifically it is, but there’s something about flair bartenders. You could be a completely unattractive person and someone will find you exciting as soon as you step behind that piece of mahogany and toss a bottle. I fell for it, just like many other people, and have learned a few things about “how to deal” with the flirty girls.
First, I’m not a jealous person normally. So, girls who flirt with my husband on a regular basis don’t really bother me. They didn’t get under my skin even before we were in a committed relationship. I think most of this attitude comes from me being secure with myself. My thought: “Hey, if he finds someone better than me, then I’m sure I can find someone better than him.”
Second, Dan and I have a very strong relationship that consists of a lot of communication. I trust him completely and he’s never given me a reason not to do so. He doesn’t take girls’ phone numbers when they offer them. He always states that he’s married when a girl presses for further contact like asking when his shift ends. And, he doesn’t really flirt all that much when he’s not at work.
Finally, this is a job. He’s employed because he’s an entertainer and exceptional people person. So I actually think of flirting in this instance as a valuable job skill. He doesn’t stop flirting when I’m present at the bar, but I know he’s working for tips. And when that girl puts another $5 on the bar, I remember that it’s coming to our house. This is business.
Overall, It’s Worth It
I can’t think of anything more rewarding than watching my husband exhibit his passion for this sport. His never-ending dedication to improvement for himself and others is inspiring. And, I can’t describe the feeling I have when he’s on that competitive stage, flairing his heart out and earns a new trophy after all his hard work pays off.
The past several years have been awesome. I’ve watched him grow into a better competitor and overall person from this sport. Marriage to a flair bartender isn’t always easy, but overall it’s definitely worth it. This works for us.