A man walks into a bar. He’s a travelling salesman. He looks like George Clooney, which is no coincidence because that is who he is. It’s a film, you see. He sits at the bar and orders a scotch and soda. He notices an attractive single lady sitting on her own further along the bar. She is pretending not to notice him whilst deliberately ignoring all of the other far less handsome men in the bar who have certainly noticed her. He waits a moment, then calls over the bartender. “A drink for the lady” he says, nodding his head in her direction. The bartender glances over. “Shall I say who it’s from?” “Sure”, he replies suavely. Another glass of white wine is quietly placed in front of the attractive lady. She flicks her hair and looks over at the salesman. She smiles and raises her glass a little. He raises his in reply, a silent but knowing toast. Before he knows it she has sashayed across and is sitting next to him. “Hi” she says. An hour later they are in his hotel bedroom and she doesn’t leave until the next morning.
If the above scenario seems familiar, it is probably because you have seen it, or variants of it, numerous times in films, and not always (although probably quite often) with George Clooney. Any Hollywood leading man will do. Yet films are supposed to reflect reality (except when they deliberately don’t), so allow me to re-write my little screenplay excerpt to reflect what really happens in real life.
A man walks into a bar. He looks like a travelling salesman, which is no coincidence because that is who he is. It’s not a film, you see. He sits at the bar and orders a beer. He scans the room and is not surprised to see that there are no attractive single ladies sitting on their own further along the bar, or anywhere else for that matter. Just groups of people chatting and a few other single men like him. He does spot a couple of plain middle-aged ladies in a corner but immediately pretends not to have noticed them. He downs his pint. He waits a moment, then calls over the bartender. “Another beer please” he says, nodding his head at the empty glass in front of him. Another pint of beer is quietly placed in front of him. He looks around again. Alcohol seems to have made the middle-aged ladies seem more attractive now, but they are ignoring him anyway, which is no surprise. An hour later he is in his hotel room on his own watching TV. He doesn’t leave the room until the next morning.
I will concede that the real life version wouldn’t make a great film. In the first scenario, I have also skipped past the hour of sparkling and witty conversation where amusing verbal jousting from both sides is unrelentingly smart. The protagonists can do this because scriptwriters have laboured for weeks over every word. But for many of us, real life being like that is about as likely as finding an attractive single woman at a bar who thinks you look like George Clooney.