While purchasing a good old Navy Cut from my panwaadi, I had a very considerate gentleman ask me (none of his business, by the way) "Arre aap bhi peete ho?" It was almost like I'd set a world record, the bars of brilliance had been stooped very low, I wonder for whose benefit, his or mine.
And it's a pattern. You cannot chirp, “Gimme a JD on the rocks,” and not be greeted with a few raised eyebrows and sometimes a begrudging sense of admiration. Because whiskey, my sweet, is a man's drink of choice. And a woman with a taste for the same is elevated from her peers. She's different. So let's discuss this, because it seems a man who loves his whiskey will not make an interesting enough conversation.
You need to stop passing me that wine menu.
As a host, if you pass orange soda to the person who loves ice cream when there's no dearth of anything, it's rude. Two men dining together would not be welcomed with the wine menu, they'd be given the whole set to choose from. All I ask for is an exhibition of your wares. I don't think it's unreasonable that I ask for the options that I'm paying for. Stop waving that wine menu in front of my face, thank you.
I am sorry, but did liking whiskey make me less feminine?
Really sorry, but did it? We live in a day and age when men endorse Maybelline covers and you're still restricting my drinking choices? My uncle had to go abroad looking for a job when his very adventurous ideas of self-employment took a nose dive. That's when my aunt took over the entire household on her shoulders, and much to the ire of her neighbours bought a scooty to make shuffling between her job and her household a little better.
Please note that this is one of the remotest villages of Kerala, and a woman on a scooty was met with an almost same kind of surprise as a woman with a whiskey in our ahead-of-its-time metropolitans. That's the most I could dumb this down. Thank me later.
And can the women please not pull a face at my whiskey on the rocks?
Because I've never judged yours. I have liked Cosmos at one point, thrived on vodka shots too, but then this is the one drink that strikes a nerve, for me. Taste is idiosyncratic to each, we are all wired differently. So if I prefer whiskey a lot more than I do beer and other spirits, what's so unnatural about it? Jesus, do we need lessons on 'to each his own' or what.
But then I don't blame you, we've centuries of backing in keeping women away from whiskey.
The drink, personally, holds the capacity to dull everything. It slows down the pace of time, people's reactions, the hassle of life, everything. It's not something that becomes a part of an overall experience, it is the experience.
Sadly, women have always been ousted from the frame. In the West, the advertisers did not spread the choice out to men and women equally because images of sex workers being associated with its consumption were all too prevalent in people's minds. Just like the many other stereotypes, this pious belief is something we carried around for the longest time.
I like whiskey, just like I prefer orange soda over a can of coke, or pineapple over chocolate cake. If there's one thing the golden liquid has taught me is to enjoy everything for its taste, to relish things at a slow pace. It has taught me of the beauty that emerges through people when they let themselves free. I haven't always liked it, which means it also taught me that things can grow on you. Women who like whiskey are not any less or more feminine (or sexy, for that matter).
They're just people who like whiskey. Can we leave it at that, please?