When I was a student at Duke University we had a great on-campus dive bar called the Hideaway. Attending a nerdy school, students would spend several hours parked in the library on any given weeknight, filtering into the Hideaway around 10 or 11pm for a beer on the way back to the dorms. For those few hours at the Hideaway, we pretended we were at a real party school, instead of secretly worrying about next week’s organic chemistry exam. Despite that it was basically four walls and a keg, the student-owned Hideaway was also a popular spot to bring visiting parents, to show them their tuition dollars at work. One night my friend Pamela and I were in the bar with her mother. After we received our drinks, Pam’s mom turned to her daughter and me with a look of horror on her face and grabbed the bottles of Miller Light we were holding out of our hands.
“Girls! I’m ashamed. Would you drink beer from a bottle at your wedding??” she asked incredulously.
Given that until this moment, I had never considered anything about my wedding (ironic, as I would later become one of those brides who could wallpaper her apartment with pages from copies of Martha Stewart Weddings), I did not have a clue about what this woman was talking. The glass bottles seemed much nicer than red Solo cups. She then went on to explain that drinking beer was not ladylike.
As a woman who grew up loving football and was a “guys girl,” I’ve been drinking beer my whole (post-21 year old, of course) life. However, it wasn’t until I encountered Pam’s mother that I ever considered beer to be a man’s drink. I certainly enjoy imbibing spirits or a nice glass of Riesling but you cannot watch a sporting event while drinking a margarita, despite what the vendors at Yankee Stadium would like you to think. Last Thursday night I was at the Celtics/Nets game at the new Barclays center when the bar ran out of beer (??) in the third quarter. As I sipped my vodka soda and enjoyed my 8th Jay-Z song while sitting among ironic hipster t-shirts, Paul Pierce missed two key free throws and the Celtics lost 102-97. Coincidence? I think not.
When I say I like beer, I don’t even mean artisan crafted beer, which is tasty but best drunk in small doses. I mean Bud Light, Coors Light, or anything you can serve in a hologram stadium cup that causes frequent trips to the restroom. I call these the hydration beers. I do not mean Busch Light, Natty Light or anything you may have been served at a college frat party – I may like cheap beer but I’m not 22 anymore. Being a Bostonian, I will of course tell you that any Sam Adams beer is superior to those brewed in St. Louis.
The beer lover in me was was initially horrified by the conversation that transpired in the Hideaway many years ago. Pam’s mom was right about one thing though – I did not drink bottled beer at my wedding.
I drank beer from a glass instead.