Were the Bartenders the first Shrinks?
Did you ever notice the way bars are designed?
The bartender stands at the center surrounded by the clients facing him across the counter either standing or sitting on high stools. The bartender may engage any in a brief chat and may shift from one to the other simply by moving around.
Who really are the bar clients?
In the past, bar customers were only men. Spending time in a bar would help them temporarily escape life realities: wife nag, kid fights, never ending demands, issues, bills, responsibilities etc… Time spent at bars was very valuable as for each client; this was a moment of cure where he would build up energy and shape-up to re-confront the real world.
What happens at the bars?
Customers usually cruise bars individually and meet other customers living similar circumstances or enduring the same -“hell”-. Each one selects a seat and adopts it. Over time he thinks it is his own and everyone would make him feel it really is! Most of the times, he would order the same drink. Soon enough his order becomes: “the usual “as good bartenders do memorize their clients’ choices!
The barmaid pours the drink and serves it to the customer. After one or two drinks, drinkers loosen up and engage in a chat with their server. After few drinks, the customer spills out his secrets to the bartender who would then know all about him, his family, his work, and all his problems! Should the chat remain on a one to one, by modern standards this is considered a “private therapy session”. In the case where others join the conversation, be it because of being in a similar situation or to make an observation on a similar experience, the discussion becomes a “group therapy session“.
The pivotal and most important person remains the bartender as he is the repository of knowledge, he is the moderator, and he is the good listener/talker that engages others in the conversations and last but not least, hi is the one that administers the medicine/drinks to the fellows surrounding him!
At a time where psychotherapy was not available out large, the bar was the place where men would seek and find treatment!