Bartender's Guide To Happiness
Bartender's Guide To Happiness
Ian Malcolm (Bartender) gives expert video advice on: How is a bartender's perspective on happiness unique?; Why do so many people seek happiness in bars?; In your line of work, do you see more happy people or unhappy people? and more...
How is a bartender's perspective on happiness unique?
Qualified, if you're going to use that word, I don't know if it's entirely appropriate. I don't know if I'm qualified for anything. I'm not a psychotherapist. I don't have a degree and I'm not paid as much. I think what's makes me qualified is that I've been bar tending for ten years now. I've met a lot of people. I've talked to a lot of people. And you know, it's that classic bartender joke, the school of human experience. You know, I've just.... I've met a lot of people, I've seen a lot of things, I've heard a lot of stories. I've got a perspective just based on years of meeting and knowing people. And there's some people that walk in and say one sentence and I know the kind of person that they are. So, I wouldn't say that, you know, I'm qualified per say. I just say that I have enough experience, that I might know something of what I'm talking about.
Why do so many people seek happiness in bars?
I absolutely get approached as the armchair psychologist, or in this case the bar top psychologist. Alcohol is a depressant, the reason that people go to bars a lot of the times is to have a few drinks, to loosen them up and they're able to talk to people. There are people who go there for entertainment, sports, pool, whatever. I run a bar, bar - there's no TV, there's no pool table. People come here to talk and meet people. And when people come to my bar they're coming in there to take off these kinds of shackles of being pent up and not able to talk to anybody. They want to loosen up and have a conversation, or let something out, or whatever it is. So people absolutely come in here, say in a happy hour, when its just me and them, and they'll just talk to me about their day. Then they come in here for that, that's the reason they come in. Drinking is a tool for that.
In your line of work, do you see more happy people or unhappy people?
I have the one or two people who are always bummed out, always something going on, after a few shots of bourbon I hear about it. But there's plenty of people just glad to see each other and glad to be in a social situation.
Can drinking make people happier?
I do not think drinking, in and of itself, makes people happier. I do not think by taking a shot of Jameson, you are going to suddenly be a happy person. It is not going to happen. I think that drinking in the best possible world can help. It can help. It can also hurt. A lot. Because alcohol lets your boundaries down at first and then it makes you stupid later. In the short term, can it take away the stresses of your daily life? Yes. It can make you forget the things you do not want to think about, the things you have not done, the things you should be doing, the things that are making you unhappy. So in the short term it can make you - I do not call it happy, I call it giddy because it is an ignorance of life.
What are the most common life complaints you hear as a bartender?
Most common life complaints, the most common things that people are unhappy about when the come in: work, money, relationships - the three big ones. People are unhappy with their job. “Oh god, it was such a long day!” “Oh my god my boss is such a pain in my ass!” “My wife, my husband is such a pain in the ass!” “My boyfriend, my girlfriend is just killing me!” “I don't have enough money; I gotta figure out a way to get more money!” Those are the big ones. Those are always the ones that you hear. There's various alliterations of that, but it usually will come down to the big three.
Why do people gravitate to alcohol when they want to be happier?
I think that the reason. I see a lot of people who are running away in a bar. I see a lot of people who are trying to be happy and aren't. And, I see a lot of people who are using alcohol as an escape. There's a reason that; usually when you hear of someone who is homeless or a wino. Ninety percent of the time it's a generalization but they're drunk a lot of the time. I've got a lot of bums that walk outside my bar. They usually have a little brown bag. They're trying to escape. They're trying to not feel, not think. And the same is true in a bar. There are a lot of people who come in to bars to escape. To not think about their day, or their life.