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Opening the Bar Part 4: No Manners Necessary


Growing up, I don’t remember my parents being particularly strict. In fact, when my younger brother and I were “pre-teens” and the youngest was just learning to read, our parents became especially un-strict, and borderline cool. This transformation occurred following a family viewing of Wedding Crashers. Not so much because we watched an R-rated movie with parental permission (gasp!), but because when it was over, and my dad told us to go get ready for bed, my brother looked him straight in the eye and, without missing a beat, exclaimed “fuck you, Dad!” (If you recall, there’s a scene in the movie in which Todd is painting and his father, Secretary Cleary, calls over “you’re doing great, son” to which Todd replies “fuck you, Dad.”) Upon witnessing this blatant display of disrespect, I froze. Much to my surprise, my dad burst out laughing! And, even more surprising, over the following days, weeks, and even months, frequent statements of “fuck you” were regularly uttered in our household, both by, and in front of the parents!

So, as you can clearly ascertain, my upbringing was structured (“time for bed”) and equally chill (“fuck you’s”), but if there’s one thing my parents made sure of, it was teaching us manners. Especially my mother, who was the youngest of three and born in 1960 in Harrisburg, PA. She taught us many things, like how much toilet paper to use and that paper towels were not for drying hands (her parents grew up in the depression… can you tell?), and never to ask for things, because they should be offered.

You may be scratching your head at the latter, because it just sounds funny writing it! Ultimately, it was a complete no-no to invite oneself over to a friend’s house for a play date or ask for a piece of a friend’s food; equally important, it was improper to eat in front of someone without offering to share, and go to a friend’s house for a play date without scheduling a reciprocal date. While in kindergarten these scenarios all sounds well and good, the long-term effects of said parenting are severe. I find myself almost paralyzed when tasked with asking others for help these days, which may seem cool, because obvi I’m a strong, independent woman, buttttt, not so much when attempting to open a bar in Manhattan!

The moral of the story here folks, is be SHAMELESS!!!! Not so much in the Fionia Gallagher sex anytime way, but in asking for help at every step. Believe me, people in this industry, and probably others too, are more than willing to share tips and tricks, provide contacts, and generally support your endeavors… if you ask! I’ve learned over the last few weeks that it’s ok to introduce myself as Grace Paulsen… and I’m starting a bar in west Chelsea… can you help me? …people don’t hate it!