For our latest essay series, we are inviting men to share a story, an episode, or an experience that involves women and drinking. We hope you will enjoy reading these stories as they appear each Monday.
by Peter Birkenhead
Listen, I hope you don’t think this is too forward of me, but I’m really having a nice time with you, and, well, dinner was great. We really do seem to have a lot in common. We’ve shared–what, four or five semi-sincere laughs already, and you’ve just begun to tell me a story that seems genuinely interesting and heartfelt, so I don’t know—am I crazy–or should we take this to the next level and just go right to fucking up our ability to be heartfelt and interesting? I’m kind of thinking we should. You know?
I really think I like you. And I guess I’m just old enough now to skip all the silly game playing, the bla, bla, “getting to know you” and “enjoying your company” and all that crap, and maybe go right to not understanding a damn word you say, admitting I’m unemployed, quietly pissing myself and who knows—I’m just saying—holding your hair tightly in my hands while you vomit paella on my shoes. What do you think? Should we order another?
I mean, look, I know it’s different for a woman. I do. Remember those old Thin Man movies? Boy, I used to dream about meeting a girl like Myrna Loy. Being Nick to her Nora, both of us getting more witty and suave and crime-stoppy with each Martini. Nora falling more in love with Nick the drunker he got. But I’m not a kid anymore, and neither are you. I mean, I know how things really work. I know vodka doesn’t exactly make anyone witty, or suave. Sangria does. And sure, maybe it’s not Nick-and-Nora witty, but still—witty enough to, oh, I don’t know, drive out to Astroland and ride the bumper cars till one of us does a pole dance on the bumper car pole and fractures several tiny bones in her feet, maybe? Hmm? I’m just saying. And I know you may not feel ready for that yet. And I respect that, I do.
But let me just say this–if you’re not sure? If somewhere in the back of your mind you think you might be ready to visit an emergency room with me and awkwardly reveal your actual age and weight and medical history—then I’d like to hear that history and loudly make fun of it in public.
And you know what–if you’re not ready? Then maybe this just wasn’t meant to be. Maybe all of this isn’t as real as we think. The laughs, the stories. Maybe that’s just the lack of wine talking. All I can say is that, at this point in my life, I want to go into any relationship with my eyes as wide-open and dilated as possible. Like, totally black, dead-body dilated. Barely breathing. Because what else is life for, if not to have fun?
This isn’t a movie. It’s not the olden days. This is a great time to be alive! A woman can drink like a man, and a man can secretly dress like a woman! Wait, what? No, I said, “secretly impress a woman.” Yes, I did! I know it doesn’t make sense! That’s my point! I want to not make sense with you! I want to not “get” you or “want” you or even “like” you, or me, in any way at all! There, I said it. My cards are on the table. Now waddaya say we drink ourselves under it? Huh? Huh? C’mon, let’s do it!
Waiter, mas Sangria por favor!
Peter Birkenhead is the author of the memoir Gonville.