Each week, we post short interviews with interesting people about their thoughts and feelings on women and drinking. There is such a wide array of perspectives about this topic, and we are excited to gain insight into as many as possible and to share them with you.
Linda Yellin spent most of her responsible adult years writing advertising in Chicago for shampoos and burgers. Then she fell in love, got married, and moved to New York, going through as many changes as a person possibly can without entering the Federal Witness Protection Program. Along the way she published short stories in Redbook and a novel, “Such A Lovely Couple.” Her first reply letter ever came from an editor at Good Housekeeping who said she wrote in “much the same style as Dorothy Parker.” She now writes humor pieces for More magazine. Her memoir, “The Last Blind Date” was released in October and she is being called “The Midwest Nora Ephron.”
Drinking Diaries: How old were you when you had your first drink and what was it?
Linda Yellin: Whatever year I was first allowed to drink wine instead of grape juice at the family Passover seder. Probably age 11 or 12. And if you’ve ever tasted kosher wine, you’ll know why I wasn’t impressed with the concept of drinking.
What’s your drink of choice? Why?
I’m a sucker for a good margarita – sans salt. It’s attractive, tastes sweet and citrusy, and often includes a cute paper umbrella. Unfortunately, it also often includes a bad mariachi band.
Can you tell us about the best time you ever had drinking?
Well, it started out as the best time, but four piña coladas later, it was arguably the worst time…
Yes. Back to that Passover seder…kosher wine has the taste and consistency of cough syrup. It was years before I discovered there was such a thing as good-tasting wine. Same thing happened with champagne. I never knew what all the fuss was about until the first time I tried expensive champagne and realized the stuff served at all my relatives’ weddings was closer to gasoline.
Do you have a favorite book, song, or movie about drinking?
“100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” – it can get you from Chicago to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin all in one car trip.
What do you like most about drinking?
The ritual. The toasts. The way that rabbit opener always works. Listening to my friends use words like “woody” and “oaky” and “California.”
Why do, or don’t you, choose to drink?
As much as I enjoy wine with dinner, it wakes me up at night. Two a.m. and I’m wide-eyed. Okay, so lots of nights I’m awake at two a.m.–I’m not a great sleeper. But when I drink in the evening, insomnia’s a sure bet. The wine must metabolize or something because wham! It’s time to turn on the Home Shopping Network.
If you could be any drink, what would it be? Why?
Sloe Gin Fizz. I look good in red.