Advice

What Your Liquor Cabinet Says About You To A Date

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To begin with, the greatest mistake that a man ever made while out on a date with a woman was, for even just a moment, believing that they were playing by the same rules. Women are on another level. They just are, so let’s begin there. You, as a man, will never, not once, ever have a thought about the way you dress, the way you smell, or the way you speak that a dozen women in your life haven’t already had. I know, it’s not fair. But hey, neither is trying to pass a ten pound fetus through a hole that starts out the size of a fat Chapstick, so let’s not quibble. As my fiancee is fond of saying, you have to pick your battles.

Fortunately, the way you stock and outfit your wet bar (or general drinks preparation area) is one battle you get to fight on your home turf, so let’s see if we can’t take advantage of it a little bit.

The most obvious dichotomy is well-known, even cliche: women drink brightly colored sweet drinks, men drink amber fluids that make your throat burn. Anything clear — vodka, tequila, rum — is completely gender neutral and fair game for anyone to consume mockery-free. Let’s break this discussion down a bit further, though. How hard does your wet bar need to try? Is your wet bar wearing a sweater vest? A football jersey? Obviously, this is not a finite discussion. But let me flesh out a few drinker archetypes.

Big and Brown

“Megan, do you want to take Don’s drink order?”
“Big and brown.”

I’m not going to sit here and pretend like I loved my first taste of whiskey. In fact, I’d argue that anyone who tells you otherwise is a liar. Whiskey is not something you’re born deserving; whiskey is earned. When you’ve drank ten thousand cans of Bud Light, and your depleted brain cells leave your palette not knowing any better, only then can you really begin to enjoy a good whiskey. In that respect, whiskey is a little bit like life. Which is ironic, since the only thing livin’ in whiskey is whiskey.

If we were to create a spectrum of drinkers, and run it down from most to least masculine, “Big and Brown” is as manly as it gets. If you belong here, your bar or liquor cabinet is probably made entirely from some sort of dark, well-worn wood, and you fill it up with bottles of teenaged single malts. You’re not the most eloquent man in the room, but you know how to get things done. You don’t water your drink down with too much ice, and your world view is not diluted by melted half-truths. Just as you understand that scotch can be delicious and burn a little bit at the same time, you know that not everyone is going to like you, and you’re more than okay with both.

Quintessential pop culture example: Don Draper

Not Shaken Nor Stirred

Can you write an article about men and drinking and not make a James Bond joke? If you can, I’ve never seen it attempted; I’m not here to make history. Some dudes are simply born smoother than others. That’s a fact. Some guys can drink from a martini glass and look like a badass, and some can’t. It basically comes down to the way you hold the glass. If you can hold it delicately without looking like a sissy, if you can balance it without really having to think about it, you’re good to go. If you’ve never really played golf before, but can go out and strike a clean ball one out of three strokes, you probably have just enough athletic grace to make drinking a martini look cool. Nope, I have no idea where I come up with this shit either. But trust me, it’s true. If off-handed lay-ups and superlative ping pong play without practice aren’t really your cup of tea, stick to the whiskey glasses.

Quintessential pop culture example (that isn’t James Bond): Jaime Lannister

Of Flies and Honey

Alright, alright, enough with the scotch and the whiskey and the vodka. If everyone was a tough guy, tough guys would just be … guys. God, I hate a predictable ellipsis. Sorry. But seriously, don’t tough guys also drink tequila? I could have sworn some commercial with an ex-Soprano explicitly told me so. And hey, what if you like to drink your tequila or gin or rum with some sort of mixer in it? Coke is not girly. Rum is not girly. Why should rum and coke be considered even remotely girly? I don’t have a good answer for you, other than that it just is. I suppose it’s the sweetness. Girls like sweet. And we’re here for the girls right? So get on with your bad self.

Quintessential pop culture example: Captain Jack Sparrow

The $100 Haircut

Sometimes how you drink a drink is just as important as what you’re drinking. If I were narrating your date’s evening from her perspective, it would read like this:

As I enter the apartment, everything is immaculate. The taffeta throw pillows perfectly match the sectional’s upholstery. Wait, taffeta — how do I even know what taffeta is? Mental note: Unsubscribe from Crate and Barrel’s mailing list immediately. All of the barware is solid, polished nickel. Not plated nickel, solid. I know that it’s solid and not plated nickel because he just told me so.

Okay, so your date’s inner voice is probably several degrees less American Psycho, but the silent gleam of the barware speaks volumes. One, it says, “Look at me because I want to be looked at!” and two, it says that you probably don’t drink a lot. I say this because any barware I have is generally found in my dishwasher, and I’m two steps (okay, one step … one step) away from being an alcoholic. But hey, some people have nice barware and a crystal decanter filled with expensive scotch. An expensive wet bar doesn’t make you a douche, but going out of your way to highlight it to your guests probably does. The first time you bring a female back to your place, if she comments on your extensive and shiny liquor cabinet, maybe say something like, “Ha, yeah, all my friends know I like to drink scotch. I guess it makes me easy to buy for.” If humility isn’t your strong suit … fake it.

Quintessential pop culture example: Barney Stinson

The Brew Crew

Beer. You are a beer guy. Wine? Not interested. Liquor? NFI. Your wet bar is your fridge. You drink beer, and you drink it by the case. You don’t even really understand why beer companies sell beer in six-packs, it seems so un-eco-friendly. Look, I’m not going to tell you there’s really anything wrong with this; I love beer. Despite what your colleagues and friends might have you believe, you don’t need to develop a drinking problem. But here’s the truth: most girls probably like a guy that will share a bottle of wine with them. Look, I don’t make up the rules, I just know (most… okay, some of) them. And some girls might even like a guy that has knowledge of esoteric spirits and can appreciate a well-made cocktail. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with preferring beer in nearly all scenarios, but every once in a while, you might want to show a little range, a little flexibility. Chicks dig that.

Quintessential pop culture example: Homer Simpson. Duh.

As I said before, I could run this road for days, but you get the idea. Last thought: you don’t want to force it. As with anything, it’s going to work out better if you’re simply yourself. Your home, and your bar, is an extension of you.

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