Do ladies’ and gentlemens’ drinks exist? In our politically-correct, social-justice fuelled world, judgement on gender is fraught with whispering contempt. Non-binary is so 2017. The very concept is viewed with suspicion amongst the chattering classes. Gender is now seen as a fluid construct – socially defined – open for interpretation. Curiously, marketers promote alcohol brands on very clear, traditional lines. Advertisers have no qualms in appealing to their gender specific target market, and nobody seems to mind (yet).
It puzzles me how many women quite happily order a 568ml bottle of Magners, yet when presented with an ice-filled pint glass e.g. the appropriately sized vessel for the volume of liquid, are staggered by the (imagined) insinuation they are anything short of a lady par excellence. Men are equally adapted at tripping into gender-based angst; my favourite cringe-inducing request was for: “a Cosmopolitan, but not in a gay glass”.
My initial liberal, live and let live political outlook breaks down on closer inspection too. Whatever two consenting adults get up to in the privacy of their bedroom is just dandy with me – especially if I’m invited. However, a man ordering a Sex On The Beach? No, I am sorry. I have minimal levels of decency. I have a moral compass somewhere, and that is simply unethical. Although when females order the same monstrosity, it is merely disappointing – as opposed to downright perverted. Conversely, when a lady asks for the cheapest pint, truth be told, it raises a judgmental eyebrow. However, when a man wants the same, nobody bats an eyelid (I’m just silently disappointed). Call me old-fashioned, but picturing men giddily enjoying creamy cocktails and women belching phone numbers in lager infused gas feels like a step backwards. The reverse seems like the status quo; to disagree means never having been to the Costa Del Sol.
Curiously, it’s specifically budget drinks which lock us into clearly defined camps. Typically, males aggressively down cheap pints of lager and females get lippy from screw-top Chardonnay followed by Pinot blush. Paint stripper vodka is sufficiently androgynous to be fair game for any substance abuser. Follow the rules and one’s behaviour is normalised; at worst, frowned upon. Switch camps and you’ve the same social standing as Operation Yewtree targets.
I don’t believe beverages are the last bastion of bigotry. It’s a question of quality (not expense). A quality drink breaks down boundaries of gender. While sipping a premium pour, marketing nonsense fades from consciousness and we forget ourselves. The product itself connects us together through taste – stirring emotion – without words. Brits of all genitalia ownership love cheap booze, but we can come together at the altar of quality, without fear of discrimination or ridicule. A chap shouldn’t feel shame for enjoying sparkling wine; Similarly, a lady by simply ordering a Manhattan makes barman fall in love.
We all drink whatever we can afford and prefer, and it’s snobbish to dictate otherwise. However, we should drink better, not more and not necessarily more expensive. There are no such things as girly or manly quality drinks – just bad ones.