I have always wondered if being raised under different circumstances would have shaped me into something more refined. You know, oil paintings and Persian rugs and a closet brimming with velvet? But then I remember that I blow snot rockets when no one is looking and pour gravy or BBQ sauce on everything that isn’t cereal. This is a preemptive statement for the inevitable question that you will all be asking, or at least thinking, in the next five seconds which is, “What qualifies you, a bottle-flipping, beer-sloshing (and quite possibly drunk at this moment) bartender to offer commentary on something as sophisticated and complex as fine dining?”
I’m glad you asked. I honestly have no idea. But for everyone out there who is Team Blue Collar like myself, I can promise you that while doing my field research in a fine dining establishment, I did observe the scene with the judgmental scowl alcoholics practice while disapproving of happy people eating expensive meals. This induced its intended effect of extreme discomfort among many of the people eating there, so hopefully that counts for something.
Finding one of my friends to eat out with is easy if it involves the phrase Taco Tuesday or a plate of wings at Hooters or any place that feels sucking nacho cheese off your fingers is an appropriate substitute for using a napkin. But fine dining? I could see by the shiftiness of their eyes and the way they started giving the back of their own neck a stress massage that this felt more like a date to them than guys hanging out.
One friend I asked said, “No thanks, I don’t believe in fine dining joints.”
I didn’t really think this was fair considering the foundation of his belief system was based on the $37 in his checking account and not the food or the experience itself. After all, it was one thing to not prefer fine dining or not be able to afford it, but to not believe in it implies that you are a casual dining extremist who stands outside fine dining establishments with picket signs waiting to splash red paint on people who enjoy tiny portions of overpriced food.
In the end, I went alone which is even more uncomfortable than worrying if people think your gay, because now you’re just the creepy guy leering at everybody because you have nothing else to look at and you can see them covertly searching for the handkerchief and chloroform they imagine you’re hiding beneath your shirt.
After assuring the waiter that no one else was coming, I ordered a bourbon on the rocks and surveyed my environment. Because I sustain very little sophistication in my bones, the pretension associated with fine dining escapes me: stark white table cloths, sparkly wine glasses and silverware so big and perfectly polished I could shave in its reflection. I particularly have trouble with Italian places, as a cipher is required to decode the menu. The descriptions of the dishes are thirteen letters long, and this leaves me clueless as to what I am ordering.
I understand that this is my own shortcoming, but while perusing the menu I was left wondering, what exactly is Finochionna? It was described as Pork Salame with Fennel and cracked black pepper, so I get that it’s some sort of salami, but was the Finochionna served in the main ingredient of the dish or was it the dish itself? It didn’t help matters that it was listed under the Salumeria section. I couldn’t help but wonder if I would be ordering raw chicken and throwing up half the night.
Of course I could have simply asked the server to explain what each of the dishes were exactly, but I didn’t want to come off as a five year old or some rube from Ohio. After pointing to about the fifth dish on the menu and asking, “And this? What’s this?” I could see the look on his face, and it said, “How about you head back to TGIF’s and order yourself a nice Captain Crunch encrusted halibut?”
I eventually took the safe route and settled on braised short ribs, as it was the only thing on the menu in the form of recognizable English besides the Caesar salad. When my food arrived, I was conscious enough not to use my napkin as a bib, but I couldn’t help but pick my ribs up with my hands and eat them as they were meant to be eaten: with the carnivorous certainty of a man who likes his meat. Still, I had to wonder if they hadn’t made a mistake and given me the child’s portion of ribs, but I was too petrified of the expression on the server’s face I was certain to induce, so instead I smiled and said absolutely nothing.
My lack of refinement was certainly not this restaurant’s fault and while surveying the scene (and after my third cocktail), I suddenly realized that no experience in life makes you feel or appear so suave as sitting in an elegant restaurant cutting up a filet mignon and sipping a robust glass of Petite Syrah.
One man at a table nearby, dressed in a dark suit with slicked back hair and a neat, economical beard was doing just that. Instead of scoffing in disgust and ridiculing his alleged conceit with the sarcastic cynicism I’m used to bestowing upon the haplessly unaware, I sensed a pang of envy creeping into my belly, right where I imagine my liver might be. It was like having Sean Connery eating twenty feet away from me.
I couldn’t quite hear him over the low din of chatter all around me, but I imagined he was entertaining his entourage with a smooth British accent while saying things like, “Do I detect hints of blackberry and currents in the Shiraz,” and “Unfortunately, existentialism is far too abstract and remote to answer the question of its effect on concrete human experience.”
The phrase “savoir faire” is reserved for people like this man, and in a moment of lunacy I leaned toward their table and asked in a loud voice, “Pardon me, sir, but would you happen to have any Grey Poupon?”
Ok, I didn’t really. I just made that up. But I wanted to. Instead I observed them out of the corner of my eye, and even though I had no idea what their lifestyle consisted of, I imagined what it would be like to be invited to dinner parties at mansions with butlers and candelabras and a varnished oak table the size of a hockey rink.
Luckily, I am perfectly in tune with my own intellectual and worldly limitations—not to mention I have the attention span of a labrador puppy—so the feeling of envy was fleeting and I soon returned my focus to my bourbon and ribs which I attacked with the gluttonous intent of a walrus.
I eventually finished my meal, paid a bill resembling my car payment, and made my way out the front door. As soon as I hit the sidewalk I instantly began searching for a hot dog cart so I could actually reach that pinnacle moment a feeling full.
I’m a simpleton and a minimalist. I understand that. But I like familiarity and when I go out to an Italian restaurant I want spaghetti or lasagna or maybe I’ll get crazy and go for the chicken Alfredo pasta. I would never look at a menu and think, “Mmmmm…Sardines in Conservato, just like mom used to make.”
In the end, I guess I’m just another closed-minded son-of-a-bitch, stuck in my ways.
Cheers, until next time.
I grew up in a smallish town in Northern CA and though I’ve been living in the Bay Area for years, I still often find myself feeling like a gawking tourist stumbling through the East Bay trying to figure out the bizarre customs of the locals. All I need are some plaid pants, a canary-colored Alligator shirt and a camera dangling from my neck for pictures (“Wow, looky there, a real Cheesecake Factory!” Snap, snap).
It wasn’t Little-House-on-the-Prairie small, my home town. We had a McDonald’s and JC Penny’s and Target and even an Olive Garden. The difference is, when you live in an area of affluence for any length of time, like the Bay Area, it seems only natural for the people to take on a certain element of…expectation.
The other day for, instance, I was enjoying some appetizers at Flemming’s Steak House when over in the dining room I heard a boy raise his voice to his mother: “Steak? Why did you order me steak, mom? I wanted a hamburger. I hate steak! I told you that.”
The mother, instead of reaching down the boy’s throat and ripping out his spinal cord, apologized and begged forgiveness for her stupidity. The boy, ten years old at least, proceeded to throw a barbaric tantrum that sent his mother scurrying about the restaurant like the rabbit from Alice in Wonderland in search of the nearest waiter so she could order the aforementioned burger for her tyrant of a child.
Before I could even stop it from happening, the phrase What’s wrong with kids these days? sprung into head. Thoughts like these seem to be appearing more often as I grow older. The thoughts of my parents. A line that becomes blurrier with each passing year.
It’s hard to admit, but that sneaky voice that is my father’s has been tattooed into my brain, so much so that irrational judgments of big city behavior leap into my thoughts before I can even stage a defense.
As a child, I was well-versed concerning the evils of splurging and excess. Leaving even the smallest smear of ketchup on my plate invited a lengthy lecture regarding the starving, bloated children of third-world countries and the daily suffering they endured. My sister’s and my offering to send them our leftovers only caused a lengthier, angrier lecture
My father, when he wasn’t lecturing, figured that the best way to ensure the survival of our planet would be to save and reuse…well, everything. We could go six years on a single roll of tin foil, as he would fold and refold the foil after each use so that when you opened the drawer the first thing you would see (and smell) were dull, wrinkled squares of foil folded over four or five times with small and large rips in them and spots of cooked food baked into the creases.
“What’re you doing,” my father would yell, racing into the kitchen from out of nowhere at the first sound of me tearing off a new piece of foil. He could be at the mailbox at the end of the driveway and he would hear it and come running back to the house as if he had seen flames emerging from the windows.
“Hold on, don’t use that foil,” he’d scream breathlessly, his boots crunching on the gravel as he bolted down the driveway. “There’s four pieces of perfectly good foil left right in front of you. What’s wrong with you?”
“But there’s old chicken grease all over it,” I’d say.
“Chicken grease? Give me a break, your highness. Some of us have to work for a living.”
I never did receive any lectures on contaminants or the dangers of placing food in my mouth that had been wrapped in foil or plastic wrap with moldy, decayed food encrusted on it.
It didn’t end at tin foil either. Dental floss was rewrapped around an empty thread spool, salvaged for the next night’s use. “We use it until it breaks,” was my father’s philosophy. At that point I stopped flossing altogether for fear of wedging more food back into my gums from the recycled floss than from the lack of flossing itself.
Rubber bands were his favorite (a.k.a. money clips), which he used to quickly and tightly bind a stack of one-dollar bills as if hogtying a calf.
Paper clips, sardine cans, dead batteries. The list included anything you could find in any junk drawer or cabinet in the garage. My father was the McGuyver of recycling: able to discover a creative, if not unsanitary, use for any common household item that no longer fulfilled its original purpose.
Coupled with his distaste for waste, my father loved to venture out into the world and express his resentment toward overpopulation. Even a simple trip to the beach at the lake could turn into a crisis
“Look at all these damn people. Where did they come from,” my father would say, as if we had stumbled upon a swarm of mosquitos instead of nice families enjoying a day of tanning and swimming. “We’ll be lucky if we don’t use up all our resources in the next ten years at the rate we’re reproducing.”
For whatever reason, our family was never considered to be part of the overpopulation problem, on the planet or on the beach. Somehow we belonged here. Everyone else was taking up space and using up resources. I always had the uncomfortable feeling that, if given the chance, my father would have happily used a garden hose like you would on an ant colony to wash these people away into a hole in the Earth. In his mind the formula for successful existence on the planet went like this:
Human extermination = Enough resources for everyone.
Throwing out old chicken bones = Bad and wasteful.
Resources were being exhausted everywhere, and it was my father’s lifelong mission to point it out to my sisters and me at every waking moment.
“Go ahead, throw away the rest of your lunch,” my father told me. “Don’t give it a second thought. You remind me of a friend of mine: she wasted so much money on food she threw away that she lost her house and wound up living in a garbage can with her three kids. Think about that the next time you want to toss out your melon rinds.”
You may think this is funny, but you try looking good for school when your hand mirror is made from recycled tin foil.
“Stop complaining,” he would say. “Your hair looks fine. How about you worry more about using an eraser when you make mistakes on your homework instead of crumpling up your paper and throwing it in the garbage?”
“That was my scratch paper for my Algebra homework.
“Whatever. All I know is that the Sahara desert used to be a dense, thriving forest until people like you came along and decided to use up all the trees because you were too lazy to move your hand back and forth to erase your mistakes!”
On rare occasions my parents still come to visit me. You’d think they’d be excited to travel and visit areas like the beautiful East Bay and to browse through the unique stores and restaurants offered in the downtown shopping areas, but they spend the entire time denouncing the moral values of the people driving SUV’s and groaning about all the traffic on I-680, not to mention the lack of parking.
I made the mistake of walking them within site of Tiffany’s last time they were here and as a result was tormented with a half-hour sermon describing the gallons of blood that was shed in order for those diamonds to sit in a glass case for our perusal.
I’ve come to accept that the joys of travel are wasted on them. They could be sitting on a white beach in the Greek Isles with their feet buried in sand soft as flour, and all they’d comment on is the fishing boat four miles out ravaging the sea of its tuna and halibut.
“Can’t you guys just try to enjoy yourselves while you’re here,” I ask them.
“Enjoy ourselves?” my dad bellows. “I just saw a guy toss half his burrito into that garbage can. How can I enjoy myself knowing that my son lives in a place surrounded by high brows and blatant decadence?”
“It’s not decadence, dad. It’s a burrito!”
“Extravagance is a stain you can’t just scrub off with a sponge of ignorance.”
“That’s great,” I tell him. “You two can fish the burrito out of the garbage for dinner. I’m going to P.F. Chang’s.”
“Amazing,” my father tells my mother as I walk away. “All those brains and he becomes a bartender. What a waste!”
Cheers, until next time.
If you’ve been on the fence lately as to whether you’ve been drinking too much. See if any of these apply. You might be a drunk if…
You take a shot of 151 and complain to the bartender that it isn’t strong enough.
While drinking a beer on your couch, you yell at your cat to stop judging you.
You buy a home based on the cost of the cab fare from the bar to your house.
You can’t find your friends once your wallet is empty.
Partying with your friends starts to get in the way of your alone drinking time.
Your soon-to-be bride still needs something old and something blue so you offer your liver.
You spoon your toilet more than your girlfriend.
The guy at the liquor store invites you to his kids’ graduations because you put them through college.
Bums start tossing you change…and you aren’t offended.
You fill your emergency gas can with a pint of your blood in case your car runs out of gas.
You have to travel 40 miles to find a bar that hasn’t banished you.
Your idea of a thanksgiving feast is drinking a bottle of Wild Turkey and giving thanks for sluts.
You ask the bank teller if she wants to so a body shot.
You text twice as much at 2:00 a.m. as you do at noon.
You go to AA meetings because all the drunk loose women hang out there.
Your dinner consists of olives, cherries, onions, lemons, limes and you use miniature umbrellas for silverware.
You feel sophisticated but you can’t say sophisticated.
You make sure your cocktail has a cup with a lid for when you take showers.
Instead of a handshake you greet people with a headlock.
You pay off bets to your friends in 12-packs and Jack Daniels.
When it comes time to stoke the fire all you have to do is spit on it.
You buy a fireman’s uniform for going out because firemen always get free drinks.
“Last Call” are the only two words in the English language that make you cry.
You get 365 fake ID’s with 365 fake birth dates so you can get free drinks.
You wear knee pads to the bars to prepare for the crawl home.
You’re convinced that Jesus was born on Prohibition Repeal day because if any day should involve buying presents for everyone you know, it should be THAT day.
You know EXACTLY how many pieces of gum were stuck to the underside of the bar last night.
You don’t have to imagine what a beer with a cigarette floating in it all night tastes like. You already know.
My wife doesn’t indulge in novels all the time, but if someone makes a recommendation and she gets lured in, I can’t wrestle the book from her hands anymore than she can the Wii remote from mine. Luckily, she’s a fast reader. I think she read the entire Twilight series in 45 minutes.
Her latest kick has been The Hunger Games. She’s already finished the series and yesterday we went to see the movie. Unless you dress in burlap sacks and live in a van, I’m sure you’ve heard of it by now. If you ARE living in a van (but have Internet access to read my blog), the premise of the movie goes like this: 24 teenagers are picked at random and placed in a controlled arena where they try to kill each other in a carnivorous blood bath until one person is left standing and is declared the victor. Nothing more relaxing than munching on some popcorn and Red Vines while watching children slaughtering children.
After the movie, my mind started working, as it usually does (which is why I get honked at sitting at green lights). I try not to share all my thoughts with my wife for fear of finding myself locked out of the house, but this idea was just too good to pass up. For the most part she is patient and tolerates me like a small child.
Me: Pretty chilling, pitting 24 youngsters against each other like that.
Me: You know, it’s not that bad of an idea for a tv show…with some altercations to the rules, of course.
Wife: Do I really want to know where you’re going with this?
Me: Well, it’s been proven that people love to be entertained with high-level drama, especially real life stuff like this.
Wife: You thought the movie was real life?
Me: Not exactly, but with all the reality shows on these days, you never know. You just have to make it less…gruesome.
Wife: Here we go.
Me: We’ll call it The Thirsty Games.
Wife: A little obvious, don’t you think? Won’t we get sued?
Me: All right then, The Drinking Games. Here’s the premise: 12 girls and 12 boys between the ages of 21 and 101 are chosen randomly to battle it out in a drink-off to the finish.
Wife: 101? You think you’re going to find someone 101 years old to have a drink off with a 21 year old?
Me: Fine, 71.
Wife: Yes, that’s MUCH better.
Me: And if someone gets picked for The Drinking Games and they’re all freaked out because they’re a recovering alcoholic or something, someone else can volunteer to take his or her place, just like Katniss did in the movie. We’ll call them “The Wingman”.
Wife: I can’t believe I married you.
Me: I know, and it gets better. We can choose the venue we want them to compete in, like a sports stadium or a sorority or a bah mitzvah.
Wife: You’re going to crash a bah mitzvah for your deranged game? How are you going to arrange that?
Me: Because we control everything.
Wife: When did you suddenly get control of everything?
Me: I’m totally going to get the government on my side, and then you can be like one of those designers who gets The Tributes all prepped and beautiful for the competition.
Wife: I’m sure the government will be thrilled to hear how you plan to abuse their power.
Me: Ok, maybe not, but I bet Mark Burnett would, and he’s probably even MORE powerful than the government.
Wife: Uh huh.
Me: And they can choose their weapons.
Wife: You’re going to fill them with alcohol and then give them weapons?
Me: No, silly. Alcohol IS their weapon. For instance, if they’re facing off against someone who hates Jagermeister, they can choose to have them drink Jager Bombs the whole time.
Wife: What about alcohol poisoning?
Me: That’s what they invented stomach pumps for. Also, they can choose different games within the game, like quarters or three-man or spin the bottle.
Wife: Spin the bottle is a kissing game.
Me: That’s what I’m talking about, babe! Now you’re making a contribution. Drunk kissing. The crowd will love that.
Wife: Let’s fast forward to the end of this conversation. How do you declare a winner?
Me: Whoever goes the longest without passing out or puking gets a life of luxury.
Wife: I’m going to lie down now, my head hurts. Please stay away from me for awhile.
Me: Great, I’ll start calling people. Do you think your mom would want to do it?
Wife: I don’t think so, she doesn’t do bah mitzvahs.
Our Drunk Talk of the Week comes from two twenty-something boys sitting at the bar drinking PBR’s and discussing the upcoming presidential election. This is evidence for why we need to stop encouraging EVERYONE to vote.
Frank: Are you going to vote this year?
Billy: I don’t know. Probably.
Frank: Who do you like?
Billy: I guess I like Obama. He seems cool.
Frank: Yeah. I just don’t like his health care reform.
Billy: Uh huh. So, this might sound stupid, but I can’t remember his last name.
Billy: Obama. I keep wanting to say Bin Laden, but that was that Iraqy dude.
Frank: Yeah, it’s actually Osama Bin Laden, with an “s”, and he was from Saudi Arabia.
Billy: Oh yeah. So what’s Obama’s last name?
Frank: Obama IS his last name.
Billy: Yeah, right. So his name is Obama Obama?
Frank: You’re an idiot.
One of alcohol’s super powers, among many, is its ability to elevate a drunk person’s level of certainty. Over the years bars have become the prime venue for debating every idea, concept and theory ever conceived. Alcohol not only enforces certainty, but it enables people to become more of who they already are. Stupid becomes super-stupid, angry becomes raging, flirty becomes slutty, etc, etc. The only exception to this becoming-more-of -who-we-are rule is intelligence. For obvious reasons, the intelligence component says, “Fuck this,” and leaves super-stupid in charge.
Not only do drunk people love to share their certainties and opinions, there is nothing they enjoy more than re-educating the people around them to ensure that those certainties align with their own. Despite the thousands of conversations and debates that I’ve overheard in bars over the years, I’ve come to realize that they are all a version of the same thing:
Some Guy: Hello, this is my experience with a subject that is of interest to me.
Some Other Guy: That certainly is very interesting, except I didn’t hear anything after your first sentence because I was only thinking of how that subject relates to me, and now I will disregard your experience and tell you about mine.
Some Guy: Wow, that certainly is fascinating how you took what I shared and made it about you. Here are some facts that supercede your facts.
Some Other Guy: I’m going to nod my head now and furrow brow and pretend that you have a good point, and then I will counter with facts that I have memorized from magazine publications I’ve read and television news programs I’ve watched.
Some Guy: Random fact that has no sound logic but will indirectly hurt your feelings.
Some Other Guy: Similar random fact but applied to you directly, as well as your family members, namely your mother and her weight problem whether she has one or not.
Some Guy: Insult that crosses the line.
Some Other Guy: Rebuttal insult, but taken a step further by including an obscenity, and once again involving your mother.
These particular clientele are classified as blue collar drunk people, and their interests and purposes usually revolve around sports, beer and celebrities. If you encounter such an individual, run for the nearest exit or you will find yourself locked into a conversation that will probably ruin your night. Bar people love to impose their beliefs and opinions on the haplessly unaware.
The only thing worse than blue collar drunk people are educated drunk people. Educated drunk people form their beliefs and opinions from sage political shows like Bill Maher and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and from magazines like The Cynic. Educated drunk people come armed with a vault of knowledge to mercilessly dispatch any challengers who dispute their assumptions.
If you do find yourself suddenly talking with someone you don’t know in a bar, try to determine if you have stumbled upon one of these particular drunks before investing too much time getting to know them. Drunks, especially educated drunks, use a three-prong approach to spread their opinions to others like some sort of bar crusader. It’s called Present, Convert, Attack.
Present: Drunk people like to feel you out by presenting their interpretation of something to determine your level of acceptance or resistance to the subject they are an expert in. This is a friendly tactic used to draw you in to trick you into thinking they care about your thoughts and interpretations. Be careful here not to present your own point of view or they might become offended by your resistance, and drunk people LOVE to be offended, especially educated drunk people because it provides them a vehicle for their anger and a chance to regurgitate all the facts and data they picked up from 60-Minutes and Time Magazine this week. The more educated they are, the more offended and angry they become and the greater sense of purpose they feel.
Convert: If drunk people do sense that you are attempting to impart your own original thoughts, they will move on to stage two: conversion. This stage feels like your dealing with a Jehovah’s Witness who shows up at your doorstep to convince you that birthdays are evil. If the conversion goes well, you will detect disappointment because bar people like to argue their opinions for long periods of time so as to reveal all the knowledge they have on the subject.
Attack: If, after several attempts they are not able to convert you, drunk people will loudly inform you and those in the nearby vicinity what a moron you are. This is a last-ditch effort to strip you of your self-esteem in hopes of intimidating you into converting. A drunk person feels most in his element while in attack mode and though you will hear anger in his voice, you will see a vibrant pleasure in his eyes.
Fortunately, I am not particularly passionate about anything that drives me to such anger and so I pick at opinions as if they were Hors d’oeuvres being passed out at a cocktail party. This diffusion tactic works well for me but angers drunks beyond repair.
Animals have it all figured out. They eat and drink and shit when they need to and they allow other animals to do the same. Humans also eat, drink and shit but then they choose to analyze it and then tell all the other humans how they should do it. If you really want to make an educated drunk person angry, nod and agree with them. Allowing them to be who they want to be and say what they want to say without confrontation will confuse and shock them into silence which means you will be able to finish your drink in peace.
Cheers, until next time.
I THOUGHT IT WAS A DREAM ‘CAUSE I WAS PRETTY DRUNK, BUT WHEN I WOKE UP THIS MORNING I FOUND PHOTOGRAPHIC PROOF THAT THIS DRUNKEN OCTOPUS STARTED A FIGHT WITH ME LAST NIGHT.
I’m a sucker for nostalgia. There’s nothing like it: the ability to edit out the hardships and inconveniences of life during a block of time and replace them with romantic and gratifying moments of lightheartedness. These memories and feelings fill me with a comfort that daily life fails to provide on a moment to moment basis.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my iPhone and my internet and Direct TV. In fact, if a terrorist were to strap explosives to me and demand I relinquish my Tivo or forfeit my life, it would take me several minutes for me to arrive at a decision and I might end up flipping a coin.
Still, I appreciate a simpler time when things were exactly what you called them. A worm was a worm and a mouse was a mouse. They weren’t a computer virus or something that controlled a cursor on the screen. More recently, I remember when a cougar was something that mauled hikers who were trekking happily unaware through the hills. Or at the very least he was a mascot at your high school. He would come bounding out on to the gymnasium floor during the pep rally in a cumbersome suit with a head the size of a beach ball and, depending on his grace and dexterity, he would either stumble and fall on his face or hit a tiny trampoline at full sprint and flip-dunk a ball through the basket.
Perhaps the Cougar angle has been overplayed, but I just get so goddamn many of them in my bar and they’re so fucking entertaining! And the more I see them, the more I wonder what goes on in their heads.
For those of you who have been duck-taped and tossed into a closet for the past ten years, the Cougar is a woman’s version of a mid-life crisis. Men buy motorcycles and get their ears pierced, women attempt to replace their entire wardrobe with animal print clothing and sleep with their son’s friends. In addition, rouge, lipstick and pancake make-up are heavily applied until their cheeks resemble the walls of a stucco home that has recently been graffitied. Nevertheless, depending on the woman, her efforts are sometimes successful causing the heads of most of the men in the bar to turn appreciatively, and other times it looks as if she is attending clown college.
What makes this “hunt and prey” past time so fascinating is the fact that it takes place in such an age-sensitive society. We fear growing old to the point of stabbing ourselves in the face with a needle in order to prolong the smoothness of our skin. Instead of being revered like they are in many cultures, we treat our elderly like flea-infested alley cats that need to be taken to the pound (translation: nursing home). Who wouldn’t scratch and claw to avoid such a fate?
On the other hand, there’s a need to be age-sensitive sometimes, especially in our country where sexual deviants and predators stalk the streets. When the girl who sits next to you in Spanish class at the age of twelve gives you butterflies and sweaty palms, it’s adorable. When a twelve year old girl gives you the same feeling (among others) at the age of forty, it’s downright disgusting. It goes without saying that these pieces of monkey shit should be dipped by their toes into boiling motor oil.
Oh, and by the way, I have some bad news for many of you ladies out there. It may sound cruel, but in order to qualify as an actual Cougar, you must project some level of attractiveness. You can’t just be old and wrinkly and drag some belligerent, clueless nineteen year old kicking and screaming into your bed where you have your way with him and try to keep him from ever leaving. That makes you the creepy lady from Misery. Trust me, I’ve had women at my bar look at me and sigh and say, “Well, I guess I’m officially a Cougar now,” when in reality they more closely resemble a large-mouth bass. Sorry ladies, but in order to belong to a club you must meet certain qualifications. Age alone is not a standard.
Despite Cougars being around so long, I still keep wondering: who ARE these women? From what I can tell, Cougars are women who are either 1) recently divorced, 2) never been married and have given up the hope of real love because they are jaded, or 3) they simply have an insatiable appetite for meaningless intimacy and need a young man who is equally hungry (horny), and can supply the stamina she needs. On the plus side, it’s easier for the Cougar now than it used to be, as one night stands at 20 make you a slut, but when you reach your 40’s casual sex occurs with the nonchalance of washing the car.
I’ve often wondered what it would be like to go to bed with one of them. Does their age automatically epitomize them as rarefied and enlightened lovers? Are they able to show you around with the same expertise of a tour guide leading a pack of sightseers through the pyramids of Egypt? Or do they get it on with the same heated desperation that inspires their lavish wardrobe? Are they recently divorced, meaning they have been with the same man for the past 25 years, causing nervousness and fits of apologies that kill a moment faster than a pack of nuns walking through the door?
This age stuff all sounds like silly nonsense, but really, what choice do we all have? You turn forty, and at that point you either surrender and prepare yourself for a life of knitting, bingo and clothes smelling of moth balls, or you hang on to youth and vitality for dear life as if it were a small root you were clinging to on the side of a cliff. Time is methodical and it is merciless and no one is exempt from its staunch and unyielding march.
With that said, is it demeaning to hang on? Or is having the spontaneity and energy to partake in such sport mean that you’re simply adapting to your environment and taking advantage of what you still have left? Are you offended by it, or is it comical? Are these women living life to its fullest or are they participating in unabashed buffoonery? I’m not sure I’ve figured it all out yet, but I’ll be continuing my research, because even though the term “Cougar” has been overused, they are multiplying at an alarming rate and it doesn’t look like they’re going anywhere for awhile.
Cheers, until next time.