Closings and beginnings: How I met that guy I married at Tom Bergins

This is KIND of what it looked like the night I met Aaron at Tom Bergins.

This is KIND of what it looked like the night I met Aaron at Tom Bergins, as in lots of Guinness was involved and I was probably being campy as fuck.

Just yesterday I got the startling news that my favorite bar in Los Angeles is closing. Tom Bergins has been around since 1936! It was a bar I had always heard about growing up, since it was a popular spot to go after a USC football game. I heard my aunts and uncles tossing the name around for YEARS. When I was finally became a student at USC I did two things:
1. Realize that Bergins was NOT actually on the USC campus.
2. Drank there a LOT.

It’s also where I met my husband.

So I thought, in honor of Bergins, I’d document the story of how we met. It’s long, and probably not too terribly interesting, but I thought it was be a fitting way to deal with all my SAD FEELS!

We “officially” met on August 22, 2005. I say “officially” because I had actually known who Aaron was for a long time before that. Starting in 2003 when I began college, my friends and I went to this music venue called Largo (when it was on Fairfax) a LOT. We’d go almost every Friday to see Jon Brion shows and then here and there to catch other acts we loved — Paul F Tompkins, Brad Mehldau, Fiona Apple, etc. I went to Largo so much that I knew who the three sound guys were: the cute one, the older one, and the one who only did sound for Jon Brion. Guess which one Aaron was. 😉

I thought Aaron was so cute in fact that — no matter if I was with the guy I was dating at the time — at some point in the evening I would always check and see who was doing sound. If it was Aaron I’d be all excited and then look away before he ever noticed me looking at him. And then I would make it a point to linger at the bar — closing out tabs or making conversation — so I could watch him wrapping up cords and putting away sound gear after the performers cleared the stage. Of course I made sure to be super-covert about my stalker-ish crush. It must have worked because Aaron has NO recollection of ever seeing me before that night at Tom Bergins.

Fortunately fate intervened in the form of Sean Watkins from the bluegrass band Nickel Creek. He and I became friends and one night at Largo and a few weeks later, he invited me out after a show to hang with everyone at Tom Bergins. So I went and found myself surrounded be all these super-cool Largo employees and performers and I was having a blast. Sean, Michael (the infamous door guy) and I were playing a game we made up and called, quite un-creatively, “quarters.” We would spin a quarter on its side and try to stop it with one finger without tipping it over. As your skill level progresses you moved from quarters all the way down to dimes.

THEE shoes.

THEE shoes.

While Sean, Michael, and I were concentrating on this game I didn’t even notice that someone had just entered the bar and took up the empty seat next to me. When I finally did look up from the spinning coins I was in shock. It was the “cute sound guy.” Sitting right next to me. Holy shit. And ohmygawd was he adorable and he was wearing hightop Converse. My absolutely most favorite shoe for a dude to wear.

Aaron joined our game of quarters — stopping a quarter mid-spin on his first try — and Michael introduced us.

So Aaron-formerly-known-as-The-Cute-One and I spent the whole time at the bar talking, and flirting, and laughing until it was closing time. Not wanting the night to end, Aaron suggested that we move the party over to Swingers for a late night snack. I agreed, as did almost every one of the Largo employees.

I followed right behind Aaron’s car all the way to Swingers — even though I knew exactly where it was — because I wanted to make sure that I got a seat next to him. The flirting and the laughing continued…

But then the check came and was paid and it was time to leave, and we all walked out.
Awkwardly, I stood around saying goodbye to Sean and to other Largo people that I had just met that night. Aaron also said all his goodbyes. And then it was just him and me standing on the sidewalk at 3am. Aaron was smoking a cigarette (which is the last time I ever saw him do that) and I was just standing there… waiting… for him to do something like — oh I don’t know — ask me for my number! But he never did. So, with a heavy heart, I said goodbye and walked away from him.

It looked like this, only it was 3am and the car was a lot dirtier.

It looked like this, only it was 3am and the car was a lot dirtier.

When I got to my new convertible Mini Cooper I had one last-ditch idea! I put the top down, rolled down the windows and drove up to where he was standing, still smoking, on the street corner. I said “Hey stranger,” with a big ‘ol flirty-Megan grin. And he said, “is that your car?” And I said, “no I just stole it, hurry and get in, I gotta make my getaway.” He laughed, finished his cigarette, and got in the car. But he STILL wasn’t asking for my number.

Now we’re sitting in my car at 3:30am, and there was really no where to go because nothing was open. But we wanted to keep hanging out. So I did something I would normally NEVER do and I invited a total stranger back to my apartment! (Yikes!)

My apartment was an absolute total mess. I’m generally a very messy person, but I had just gone through a break up and had been very depressed and the last thing I cared about was caring for myself. So it was even messier than usually. I thought, “You know what, if he sees this apartment in its worst-possible-Megan state and he still asks me out again, he’s the guy for me.”

We sat in the living room talking and he was nice enough not to mention the mess. Then at one point, during an awkward silence, he kissed me. We then continued to make out until it got ridiculously late/early and I had to kick him out of my apartment so I could start getting ready for work.

I drove him back to his car at Swingers and that was when he FINALY asked me for my fucking number. And, like a good boy, he called the next evening to say he had a great time.

I saved that message on my phone until that phone died.

And now, almost eight years to the exact date of when we first met at Tom Bergins, that awesome bar is closing down. I’m so bummed. Tom Bergins has always been there and I assumed it would always be there. I had dreams of throwing our 10th anniversary party there. But now, it’s bye bye to a big piece of not only Los Angeles history, but my personal history.

Tonight, I’m heading back there to have one last drink and to maybe take a photo of with that guy I married at the exact place we first made eye contact.

Where we met

So… thanks for that, Bergins. I can honestly say that my life wouldn’t be the same without you.

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