Wednesday 14 January 2015

Barista Barry

While I was digging through boxes, I came up with an old comic monologue I wrote years ago. It is on a subject of interest to Cardinal Burke. Sadly, it is based on real conversations.

                                                                 "Barista Barry"

You won't believe how glad I am you came in today. Just a sec. I have to tell Jerome I'm taking my break. Would you like a latte? Chocolate or cinnamon? I'll be right back.

You know what? My problem is that I love women too much. They're just so cute. Well, some of them. I don't mean fat ones or the ones over thirty, of course.

I am such a feminist now. Before I dropped out of university I was a big conservative, but then I went to the Boston Museum of Art and was SAVED. I love art. It changed my life.

I was in the Catholic seminary then. I really wanted to become a priest. I loved the seminary. They had maids. The maids cleaned my room and did my laundry and did all the cooking and never complained. They worshipped us as gods.

But my girlfriend wanted me to leave. Her name was Dahlia. Isn't that a beautiful name? It's like a flower. I still can't believe she ditched me. I gave her a big art book or Christmas. It cost me a hundred dollars. I took her to the Symphony Orchestra and to dinner so many times. I read her Keats in the moonlight. Wasn't that romantic? I love Keats so much.

One night I took Dahlia to Canoe. It cost me two hundred dollars. Afterwards I gave her a rose and said I was in love with her. And do you know what she said? She said, "Barry, if you really love me, you should leave the seminary."

That's when I learned that the best part of a relationship is the thrill of the chase. It's such a letdown once you've told a girl you love her. Talk about a denouement. Anyway, I did leave the seminary, but by then I hadn't spoken to Dahlia for three months and she got engaged to a teacher named Pierre. I mean, Pierre. I am so bitter. I don't want to talk about her.

I like high school girls better than university girls. You don't think I'm too old to go out with high school girls, do you? I'm only twenty-eight. It's not like I'm some pervert. I am very sensitive to the way women think and feel. I mean, "Ally McBeal" is my favourite show. Mmm, Ally. She's so sweet. Besides, women my age are so cynical. And they're desperate, too. You know: tick-tock, tick-tock. All women know that once they hit thirty and they're not married they've had it. High school girls are so naive and sweet. They totally believe in romance.

I met a high school girl on Saturday. Her name is Lily. Isn't that a beautiful name? It's like a flower. I think I'm in love with her. She's a vegetarian, and she thinks all religions are crap. I am so over Catholicism. I told her I've based my own spirituality on Keats and Deepak Chopra. She thought that was amazing. She's sixteen. Do you think that's too young? For me, I mean.

I'm asking you because it's so important that I get this one right. I used to ask Violet for advice. She was my only woman friend. It's very hard to be friends with women. If I meet a girl, I can't help falling in love with her. That said, I would never fall in love with Violet. She's so cynical and bitter since she left her psycho husband. She's twenty-eight, too. Tick-tock, tick-tock. I phoned her all the time when I was in love with Daisy.

Oh my gosh--DAISY! Isn't that a beautiful name? It actually is a flower.  Daisy was a  grad student at York. Art history. She was beautiful, and she was actually smarter than me. I was in awe of her. We used to talk for hours when she came in, and even though she was a graduate student, she believed in romance. I gave her a red rose every day for a week. That cost me twenty dollars. I took her to the opera three times in one month. I always got the best seats: one hundred and thirty dollars each. And of course I took her to dinner, too.

After the third opera, Daisy and I made out on the boardwalk near the harbour. I called Violet the next morning. Incidentally, isn't that the weirdest name? Violet. It's like "violent" without the N.

"Barry, I'm not in a good mood," Violet said. "My ex threw our wedding album through my window last night."

"But listen," I said.  "Daisy went with me to the opera again last night. She really liked her corsage, and we made out afterwards."

"Congratulations," said Violet. "Finally something for all that cash."

"Absolutely," I said. "Do you think that makes me her boyfriend?"

"I think you should ask Daisy that question," said Violet.

An hour later, I called Violet back. I was crushed.

"She says she wants to take ME out next time," I said.

"But that's great," said Violet. "Why are you upset?"

"She says I spend too much money on her," I said. "I thought she LIKED me!"

"Of course she likes you, you moron," snarled Violet. "She REALLY likes you. She's trying to say she likes you for more than your stupid money."

"You think she wants me for a boyfriend?"

"Mostly, Barry, I think you should get a grip and move out of your parents' basement."

"But if I move out, I won't be able to afford the opera or flowers!"

Then she said she had to go because the police had arrived. You know--the photo album, the ex and the broken window. Yadda yadda.

I really wanted to believe Violet, but I had to be sure. You know how girls are. They say one thing and mean another. So I went to Godiva and bought a big gift basket. It was full of chocolate and cookies and coffee with mugs and a CD. It cost me one hundred and eighty dollars. I put it on Daisy's doorstep that night, rang the doorbell and went away.

When I called Daisy the next day, I couldn't BELIEVE how cold she sounded.

"What's the matter?" I asked. "Didn't you like the basket?"

"It was nice, but kind of weird, Barry."

"I thought it was romantic," I said.

And then I really worried.  I thought she liked chocolate, but I guessed I was wrong. That evening I bought a big basket of roses. Red roses. Wasn't that romantic? I left my house at eleven. Oh wait, back up. Just before that Violet called. She was freaking out.

"Barry, I need you to come over. I'm really scared. My ex sent me a big box of flowers today with the heads cut off. I don't want to be alone. What if he comes by?"

"What a psycho," I said. "You should never have married him."

"I know, I know. Are you coming over?"

"Okay, sure, but not until I do something."

I felt sorry for her, but I thought she'd understand that Daisy had to come first. I put the big basket on Daisy's doorstep and rang the doorbell. Then I ran across the street to watch.

Nobody came out. I couldn't believe it. I guessed Daisy was out. I sat on the curb to wait for her to come back.  I waited until three A.M. No Daisy. I was crushed. I went home. I was SO upset.

The next morning I called her. But instead of her or her roommate, I got an electronic voice telling me she couldn't be reached. I tried again and got the same answer.

Then I understood. She was BLOCKING MY CALLS!!!! Like I was some psycho pervert! That was so cold. I mean, blocking a guy's calls!  Don't you think that is the coldest thing EVER?

So then I called Violet, but she was all "Barry, where were you?"

"Oh, I totally forgot. I had to go to Daisy's. I had to save our relationship, but now she's screening her calls! What does that mean?"


"I left her a big basket of roses. They cost me eighty dollars. And now she's blocking my calls!"

"BARRY" she screamed and said the rudest things I've ever heard a woman say. She wasn't like a woman at all. I couldn't believe it.

This morning Bob, this lawyer guy, came in for his skinny latte, and he said, "Barry"--in exactly that voice. "Barry, to hell with women."

And you know what? He's right. To hell with women. Except Lily, of course. The high school girl I was telling you about. She's so sweet. I think I love her.


Update: Just typing that out has put me in a very bad mood. I think I must have been in a very bad mood when I wrote it. I will now think very hard about good men I know.


  1. Um...did this stuff seriously happen? Even if some of it happened, that's...troubling.

  2. I wrote this when I WAS 28, so I can't remember how much is real and how much I made up. Possibly I am cross because now I see it is too disturbing to be funny. Wrong genre.

  3. Yes. It's almost funny and then I remember I know men like that. Julia, don't worry, there are still good men, too.

  4. So far men like Barry -- if I know any of them at all -- have not revealed their true colours to me. But I will proceed with caution.


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