The Single Drink
When was the last time you heard of someone thinking deeply over what brand of spirits to open for company or a significant other? Does anyone really ever take time to think about what would be the perfect beer for a quiet dinner for two? Is "self indulgence" ever more perfectly defined than when we choose a wine from our cellar that's meant to drunk just by the chooser?
The answers are rarely if ever, no and no.
I've been thinking recently about Wine & Single Guy. More accurately, I've been thinking about the differences between how wine contributes to and reflects a relationship and how it contributes to singledom. What I've concluded shouldn't be a surprise or a revelation:
1. Wine is the drink best suited to reflect a commitment to a relationship between two people
2. Wine is extraordinarily well suited to reflect the self indulgent nature of singledom.
For those of you who are coupled, yet remember vividly that time when you were not, consider the process of you went through to choose a wine to drink just for yourself versus how you choose a wine to drink today. The difference between the responses to "What will I drink tonight?" and "What should I open for us tonight" is the same difference between the meaning of these questions: "How do I feel tonight?" and "What are we feeling tonight"?
The first question is so immediately and complete self indulgent that it almost seems pathological. The second question indicates a connection of value. This might overstate the question, but not by much.
For example, given a person of average to slightly above average means, what does it say about them when they open a bottle of 1990 Grande Dame for themselves? What does it say when they choose to uncork a 1985 Richbourg alone at a table? Tell me you wouldn't raise your eyebrows. Tell me that despite the great wine they are about to consume you wouldn't feel a little sorry for them…maybe even worried. Not that you necessarily should be, but it's a thought that would cross your mind, I'm sure.
On the other hand, the table set for two on which sits a fine vintage Champagne and a great Burgundy can't on the face of it be considered anything other than smile-inducing and lovely.
One is curiously self-indulgent. The other is probably a celebration of a relationship.
I think it's important to keep in mind the way wine and our choices surrounding wine can be a signpost pointing toward our place in the world and the permanent or current personal connections we possess. Remember, no one will or really can with any accuracy assess your current disposition based on the brand of vodka you pour over ice, whether it's poured just for yourself or for you and another person. But they will, and can, when wine is the liquid at hand.
Of course, more than anything this all points to one set of immutable facts: singlehood is the condition through which we can most fully express the simple truth of "me"; couplehood is the condition through which we can most fully express our personal well of emphathy. Wine is uniquely suited to shine the light on both. And this is one more reason why wine is the most special of all beverages.