Just like when I moved to Chicago from the Los Angeles area in 1992 on my 30th birthday, all of my current friends are telling me, “One week away and you’ll be back. You can’t take it.” My Los Angeles friends thought that I wouldn’t be able to stand the winters in Chicago, and probably all of my friends, past and present, wouldn’t bet in favor of me lasting a minute without a martini at the first sign of drama or dramatic opportunity or social engagement where drinking was the main activity. Oh contraire bitches.
Alcoholic beverages 2. Nicotine 30.
Okay — The two drinks that I had were not my fault so they don’t count and I’m coming clean about them here so I’ll be able to claim and own my perfect record again. The first one was on Day 2 of 50 Days of 50 at a Mexican restaurant where the waiter brought us what my friend said was chilled Mexican Coffee in shot glasses so I drank mine. I only had the one—totally not my fault. I was tricked.
The second minor infraction occurred on Day 9 at an Italian restaurant where my friend, Sylvia, turned 76. We had just finished a lovely dinner at a wonderful Italian restaurant along with our gal-pal Anita and my BF, David. Of course I knew the minute that I told Sylvia that I would not be drinking that night, nor any other day or night until I turned 50–on May 28th, that all hell would break loose. You see, it was Sylvia who taught me how to drink and even before she took a sip of her first of three Absolut shaken straight-up martini, blue-cheese olives, ice on the sides, that she was not going to be too pleased that her protégé would not be joining her in “our signature cocktail” on her special day. I resisted her taunts and appeals and the looks of disgust she daggered at me across the table. But when the owner of the restaurant brought us all a round of shots I had to drink. You see, I had been a complete rude-dude-bitch to the guy when we had to wait longer than our reservation appointment; it was always going to be “5 more minutes” up to an extra half hour over the half hour at the bar next door where I watched everyone have their first drink. I’m simply not used to that: Waiting for a restaurant table at the bar with your drinking friends without a drink in your own hand is like starving at a banquet table of fine food with selfish people who are too busy gorging themselves to notice that you have no arms to feed yourself. “Drinkless” made me overly congnizant of the time so I was super-snarky to the owner before we were seated. And when we ended up getting the best table in the house and had the best service with the most exquisite food to match, I was won over and ashamed. And I was so embarrassed that I had no idea this restaurant was so popular and good that I hadn’t even heard of it. I’m so cool, you know? So I had to have that drink with the owner so as not to insult him when he toasted with us. He was Italian! You understand. Slate clean, Right?
Alcoholic beverages 0! Nicotine 30. Pasta 1. Bread 4.
What started my 50 days of not drinking was very simple: I am a busy guy. My third novel in the Mafia Hairdresser series is due in November. I’m writing an authorized celeb biography in the fall and a social media book for stylists, salons & spas which is due in June. I blog for TheLocalTourist.com and SassyMomsInTheCity.com and my day job is at Joseph Michael’s Salon & Spa and I want to keep up with my workout schedule. Too be able to do all these things and add a new blog, which would take a minimum of an extra hour every day, meant that something had to go. I wanted this 50 Days series to be good.
My younger friends and older friends agree with me that it’s too complicated to drink like we used to. I know that I won’t have as much energy as I’d like to have in the mornings after I’ve had a few cocktails the night before. BUT I am not admitting age here. You see, I think it has less to do with age or the drinking itself than it does have to do with how much more busy we are as people who are trying to get ahead in this world via our jobs and passions. Everyone is trying to keep up with our Facebook, events, social media, emails, and all the extra hours one has to put in because our salaries are the same but the cost of living has risen. Some of you are tired because you are doing the jobs of the others who were laid off. I know that I must have more clients because my existing clients will go longer between appointments not only to save money but because they are busier too.
Shut up! I know what you’re thinking: that I’m living in denial — that maybe I can’t admit that my body is getting older or that I’m a functional alcoholic? Well, yes, there is that alcoholic gene on both side of my family which has given me this gift (a super power really) that allows me to drink more than most mere mortals. But it was Sylvia who actually taught me how to drink and make use of my talents. Before she sloshed into my life I was a normal beer drinker, occasional girly-drink drinker, and an at-parties-only vodka-and-tonic drinker.
“Jon-David, you are going to be sick as a dog if you drink that,” Sylvia said to me one time at a party. She explained that bubbles and sugar in drinks gave you hangovers and made you fat. That sunk in and struck a nerve in my vanity and health region in my brain and I have been drinking our signature drink ever since. I’ve done very well with martinis and I have a healthy philosophy about them that includes drinking them only when appropriate. When I drink 1 martini it’s a gear shifter: if I go directly to a function from talking all day to my clients and I have to mingle and talk some more–I need this drink. A second martini is for when I’m with my friends and usually only after a meal–this one is harmless. A third martini is for when I’m in a loud club and I cannot hear what anyone is saying anyway because, at this age, my ears cannot discern ambient noise from the voice of the person in front of me–I need this drink because I’m bored. Martini 4 is usually thrust upon me because one of my truly alcoholic friends has bought it for me and he did so or he would feel like a true alcoholic should he continue to drink alone. Martini 5 is just me throwing in the towel after maturely deciding that implementing an impending intervention on said friend would not be prudent since we have already had 5 drinks. Martin 6 through whatever are always arguable the next day because that’s how you’ll feel: argumentative.
Next week I’m going to earnestly address my Nicotine gum intake. You see, I am no longer a smoker and I quit that nasty habit two years ago when I moved in with my boyfriend. Two casual smokers made for two closeted smokers so I took control of the situation and demanded we get healthy and we began the weaning process with the gum. Now I need something to help me get off the gum.
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