This isn’t my story, but it’s a story for my people…the drinkers. A while back, when we were living in Michigan, the Engineer and I had a terrific fight and he stormed off to drink alone at a local watering hole while I sulked at the house with a glass of wine. And by wine, I probably mean gin (I was deep in a Tanqueray Malacca phase).
So the Engineer sidles up to the bar and orders his usual (at the time) Manhattan, to start. Then he hunches over on his barstool looking cranky and, I’m sure, trying to remember if there were any drugstores on the way home where he could pick up a dozen sad roses. This particular bar was one of those warm, greasy establishments with a couple of dart boards dangerously close to a couple of pool tables and a lot of clever signs pinned to the walls. The bartender was young and hot (made hotter, of course, since bartending automatically adds three points to your GHS – general hotness score) and busy, the bar being a few blocks from MSU, but not too busy, it being a Tuesday.
The Engineer doesn’t notice any of this, of course, and later insists that he can’t even remember what she looked like, but he is aware of the lightly inebriated college senior working really damn hard to get her attention. Watching such a travesty of flirtation unfold is making the Engineer realize that if he doesn’t want to be that guy next week, he’d better get those roses and get his ass home.
So he holds up his hand for the check.
That’s when drunk guy decides to make friends. And, by make friends, I mean use the Engineer to make himself look cool. Something about my husband just makes people go out of their way to harass him. He’s like the angry old man who just wants the kids to stay off his damn lawn but the kids can’t help themselves. That lawn is just soooo tempting. He is a bear that wants to be poked.
So college boy comes lunging over and falls into the seat next to the Engineer and says, “Oh, Jesus man, no wonder you’re here alone! What the hell kind of pink sissy drink did you order?”
The Engineer stares at him, but that almost never makes people leave. Mostly because his “mean face” looks more polite and slightly confused than actually scary.
College boy continues, thrusting his own beverage – something mixed with cola – under the Engineer’s nose. “Men don’t drink that crap, man. That’s for the ladies. Panty droppers, you know. Let me get you a vodka and coke.”
The Engineer squints. “Did you say vodka and coke? You’re drinking coke with vodka in it?” Few things upset my husband as quickly as vodka. Seriously, he’s weird about it. He waves over the bartender again and, reluctantly, she comes.
“Another?” she asks.
And no, he doesn’t want another, but now it’s a matter of principle, so he nods. “You’re a professional,” he says, “which of our drinks, would you say, could be called a sissy drink?”
She grabs the bottle of Wild Turkey and pours more than strictly necessary into the shaker. Little vermouth. Dash of bitters. “Well, a Manhattan is basically just a glass of whiskey with some flavor.” She pauses, straining the drink into the Engineer’s glass. “But I don’t like to judge.” She looks up at the fratboy. “What about you, Johnny, you want another Skinny Bitch?”
Johnny blinks. “What?”
“Vodka and diet coke? It’s called a Skinny Bitch.”
The Engineer swallows a laugh. “Thanks,” he says. He slams the drink and lays his cash on the bar. “I’ve gotta get home before my girlfriend leaves me.”