Port: The All-Dinner Drink

When the class police start to threaten you with Snob Court

Show them all up by presenting some genuine Port

I won’t give a moment’s thought to the concept of “fashion” or “class” in any way, shape or form. I’m sure this comes as a great shock to you all, but I can’t be bothered in the least about my clothing or the “presentation” of my home; I just don’t give a damn. Now, mind you, I take pains to make sure that I’m not dressed like a complete slob; I may be a Dumb (mostly) White Husband, but I’m not completely oblivious. I know the missus would not tolerate me gallivanting about town in chili and sauerkraut begrimed rags. I genuinely give a couple minutes of deep thought to properly presenting myself for anniversaries, spouse birthdays, the Holidays, etc… By and large, the wife is happy (or at least not UNHAPPY, which is the most a DWH can ask for in most spousal relations) with the way I look. However, sometimes she gets some crazy X-chromosome dominate notion of making me look fashionable. (I long ago conceded her desire to be fashionable and know better than to question that; us Gallic’s have an innate instinct for self-preservation). This leads to awkward scenes of me taking psychic leave during what my wife keeping mistakenly identifying as “conversations” about me looking like a professional-class adult when in fact they’re monologues about me dressing like its 1995. I concede some points such as throwing out my 1995 pseudo-hiking/work boots that had at least another 15 years in them, but I draw the line at forking over the green for some new trendy jeans or metro-sexual shoes that will probably be “out” of fashion within the year despite costing more than the rest of my day-to-day wardrobe combined. And further, why should it matter if an UNDERSHIRT has a hole or four in it?!!?! It’s hidden the entire time I’m in public! And I damn well am going to wear in the open at home as I should be allowed to dress as I like in my castle.

My skeleton in the closet is that for a short spell I honestly cared about such sheit. After I got married and had kido number one on the way, the practical Scottish side of my personality dominated my freer artistic Irish side and demanded that I engage in a lucrative trade. So I rang up my close friend Cyrus “Mammon” Hatami who worked as a stock broker at a prosperous brokerage firm in an all-too-trendy American city. Years of tending me dad’s books back his Belfast bar gave me a good feel of numbers; Cyrus experienced this first hand during our summer as small-time bookies on the Jersey Shore during the summer of ’01. (Christ, those goombahs out there are dumber than a syphilitic mule on a three-day drunk). We made enough bank to have a real good summer blow out in Vegas over Labor Day weekend that year. We’re not allowed back in the Wynn ever again, and I don’t even have the faintest inkling of a clue why.

Anyway, Cyrus had situated himself with a good fairly reputable firm which most steered clear of the slimy Wolf of Wall Street/Boiler Room milieu. He was all too happy to bring me on board and give him an ally in his world which was dominated by his new old world bride and her legions of meddling in laws. I managed to wrangle up some nice trendy threads and leather pats and got to it as a corporate capitalist bastard. By and large, it was decent work. The thrill of a sale is nice though cheap. The funds were even nicer and soon I had more bank then I’d ever had in my life. I was living high, and the wife has actually close to getting happy with my career status.

But then, for the first and only time in my life, I started looking at what those around me had. Without my wife nudging in the least, I made what had always been and would soon be again the unforgiveable sin of ASKING HER OPINION OF MY CLOTHES. Now, I love my wife and value her opinion in almost everything, but my threads (absent the aforementioned special occasions) is one area I don’t truck with any person’s opinion. In my epistemology, it’s a cardinal virtue to NEVER ask for anyone’s opinion about what I wear. I’m the one who’s wearing it and if I like it, that’s all there is to it. However, the money and filthy lucre environment worked like an opiate on my weakened mind. I actually started to PAY ATTENTION to what my fellow males were wearing. Cyrus had always been suspiciously well-dressed and now that he was in the serious money, he started to dress in what even he later admitted was an extremely extravagant manner. I followed blindly in pursuit and before long the Gucci suits and silk ties and diamond studs abounded, and I actually started WORRYING ABOUT HOW I MEASURED UP. (Excuse me, I need a drink; I’m cringing at the memory of my deluded-broker self ….)

(Ok, I’m back. Thank you for your patience). I’m too embarrassed about it to go into too much detail. Suffice to say that there were too many trips to the country club and too may dangerous flirtations with purchasing a beamer. Everything came to a head when the spouse and I threw a dinner party for Cyrus and his wife and three cookie-cutter firm members and their bleached, plastic spouse accessories. I fretted over the party for weeks (a shameful, shameful first). I carefully selected a menu with the proper trendy foods, had a DISCUSSION ABOUT FLOWERS with the missus and went so far as to hire a chef… (Excuse me, I need some Granddad to keep my heads from splitting; back in a few…)

(Christ, I feel like I’m confessing to some heinous crime when… damn, that’s exactly what I’m doing). Everything came to a head when I went to the sanctum sanatorium, my usual safe haven, the liquor store. Now I have no problem with any of the libations I bought for the party; my soul was not completely gone (though why the hell anyone pays so much for Grey Goose when Russian Standard is better and ½ the price still sickens me). However, when it came to getting the after-dinner digestives I ran into a problem. Even with wine, my instincts are good. However, I freely admit that somehow I had made it almost 36 years without knowing anything about port. (The Emerald Isle is not known for its port.) I knew what was considered “good” so I forked over a day and a half’s worth of a fast food worker’s gross pay for 750 ml of wine mixed with pseudo brandy. I was about to leave the store with my trendy bottles when I spied another bottle of port hidden away in the back of the section. Whiskers Blake, the bottle proclaimed, with a picture of the aged presumable Blake with a righteous gray beard on it, straight from the Australian Outback to the States. The dichotomy between this and all of classic snobby bottles was too much for even my yuppie infected brain to resist. Anyway, it was only 1/4th the price of the “great” port I had just bought so if it was ½ as good it would definitely be worth it.

The party got underway fashionably late. The drinks were good and strong and food was tasty but not filling. Everything was just as I wanted it, but it soon became painfully clear that it was all hollow and pointless. The conversation revolved almost entirely around buying new, trendy crap and how the firm members who weren’t there were either assholes or losers. The three cookie-cutter alternated going to the bathroom every 15 minutes to keep their narcissism ranging at 11, and their wives’ had so much Botox and Quaaludes in them that it was like talking to a robot Real Doll only with less personality. Even my buddy Cyrus, who once had one of best grifter’s charms and hangman’s humor, had devolved into some weak caricature of a young-gun shark in training with a snake’s smirk on his lips and dead fish eyes. I started to feel sick. What had I become? I felt worse and worse as dinner progressed; of course, I drank plenty, but all the expensive booze in my too-pricey crystal in my too large bubble of a house made me number and number. I finally snapped when it came time for the after dinner drinks. I pulled out the proper miniscule port glasses and poured the proper tiny 2 oz. serving from the far too pricey bottle of proper Portuguese Porto. As I poured them, I stared at the bottle of Australian Whiskers Blake with the wise countenance of Whiskers gazing resolutely at me. How did Whiskers drink his port? It sure as shit wasn’t from these weak ass, puny glasses. In fact, Whiskers probably didn’t even have a wine glasses. I bet he just used his filled his whiskey glass up when he wanted a change of pace. I did likewise, filling my whiskey laced tumbler up with the proper 6 and ¼ oz. wine pour. I brought the proper port glasses and my port filled tumbler to the table. Those guests who weren’t too gacked out on whatever to notice this looked at me quizzically.

I ignored them all and tasted deeply of my Whiskers. It was full and rich with that nice extra fortified warm that only proper Port could get you. Forget Portugal, who needs that when the Aussie’s can do it just as well, nay, BETTER for a fraction of the cost. I was in heaven and with each drink felt my old, real self returning. I stopped caring about my stupid clothes and passé car, my lack of a country club membership and trendy zip code. I can distinctly remember my suddenly realizing that my desire to play polo had suddenly and irrevocably disappeared. I was me again, Liam Seamus McGillicuty, drinker, street raconteur, wearer of old, unfashionable clothes, driver of unfashionable cars, disdainer of country clubs and aficionado of bowling alleys. I was saved.

I buy Whiskers all the time now and always drink it like I drink wine; anything that good shouldn’t be parsed out so parsimoniously. Life is too short to follow the idiotic straight jacket of etiquette and accept tiny portions of that which is good. I accept who I am and don’t care what anyone else does, wears, says or thinks. I’m going to drink my cheap Australian port like a wine and let all the indebted poseurs in their hollow lives sip down their overpriced grape juice in their 1/3rd portion. They’ll look down at me with my uncouth ways, but since I don’t even look at them, they may as well not exist. In truth, they don’t. Cha d’fhuair sùil ghionach riamh cunnradh math.

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  • reply Scarydad ,

    (though why the hell anyone pays so much for Grey Goose when Russian Standard is better and ½ the price still sickens me)

    Preach on!

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