November 25, 2013
One For the Ages

Microblogging (does anyone use that term anymore?) just isn’t for me. I’ve moved The Middle Ages from Tumblr to my new re-designed blog on Wordpress.

My other one-offs will stay here.

September 25, 2013

In One is a Lonely Number 27-year-old Amy is left by her husband in 1972 San Francisco (I may have been a zygote in that very year and place) so she’s having a whiskey sour with her friend Madge (vodka) and the head of the Divorcees League of Marin County (scotch) who happens to be Janet Leigh. She was 45 at the time.

I have no idea if it was unusual for women to be out drinking alone in that era, though they very much appear to be in a fern bar, an early ’70s San Franciscan invention meant to be welcoming to women.

September 23, 2013
Beast of Bourbon

When:  Friday, 10-ish
What did I drink? One Sixpoint Sweet Action, one Green Flash West Coast IPA, one Four Roses on the rocks, one pint I don’t recall

Never has such little time passed between statement of intent and execution. Left to my own devices, months, maybe years, could pass before doing what I say I will. An acquaintance’s desire to turn 40 while drinking 40s was the subject a fortuitous Facebook invite.  The online outrage over $10 bottles of oversized Miller in brown paper bags in Bed-Stuy had resulted in a two-dollar price reduction. Not unreasonable. Nonetheless, no one else at Beast of Bourbon was drinking them.

Age appropriate? Theoretically. During one periodic check, 7/8 of our back patio picnic table was 40+. Minus the bald man in a polo,  who was likely similarly aged but differently styled, the oldest people having the dirtiest time was our rotating group.  
Was I carded? Yes, but only because there was a bouncer doing his job at a new enormous bar with more space than people.

September 18, 2013
"It’s a great place for an older couple to have a dirty night out."

Beast of Bourbon was vaguely on my radar because anything new on mostly-blah Myrtle Ave. is of some interest even though I don’t live over there anymore.  It didn’t fully capture my attention, though, until today when Eater pointed out an earlier article where the owner described his vision for the bar.

Oh, really? I’ll have to put it to the test.

September 7, 2013
McKeown’s

When: Thursday, 6:31pm
What did I drink? Pint of Bass ($4); Maker’s Mark on the rocks ($10)

Though all Irish pubs, Upper East Side and otherwise, look the same, and I thought I had blocked out this incident, I’m fairly certain upon this random re-visit that McKeown’s was where I had a few (seriously, only two) beers before my 2008 birthday dinner when I got sick at the table at Cafe Boulud and threw up in a planter out front. I do not blame McKeown’s. This was also a stop off before a belated birthday dinner, this time at JG Melon (the difference five years makes).

There were young white kids that I would’ve pegged as Mormons if not drinking happy hour beers, men of retirement age, wrapping things up by 7pm bottled beer only, who mostly  knew each other, and one woman who I like to believe was at least 40 because she wanted a white wine spritzer, sauvignon blanc, not pinot grigio, but was probably only 35 because she was British, and I don’t know, English ladies age differently.

As someone who has recently taken to Aperol spritzes, I won’t mock a white wine spritzer drinker. If anything, they are less likely to induce dinnertime vomiting.

Age appropriate? Yes, but more so If you’re an old guy with rough edges. 

September 7, 2013
Niagara

When: Friday, 6:45pm
What did I drink? Two Goose Island IPAs ($3 each, one bought for me)

This was my first date in 14 years and I mean that nearly literally. I consider my last date to have taken place over Labor Day weekend 1999.

Today, there was much written about that 40 Days of Dating couple. I can only assume, or hope, that it  ended in a murder suicide. I’m not clicking any of those links. None of it will matter by next week. (If by chance someone reads this in the future, even the near future, will they have the faintest memory of what this even refers to?)

I had a realization. Because I’m single and childless in my 40s and most of my friends are single and childless and in the same age range, and we are all fun to be around, can hold a conversation and are not completely broken, I assumed that I should be looking for a guy who is also childless and never married, but I don’t think it’s the same for men. Men who have made it to this point in life and have never had a serious relationship or found a woman who wants to procreate with them, tend to be weird. There, I said it. Sexist.

Also, I didn’t realize how many short (and by short, I mean shorter than me, 5’8”) and bald men were out in the world. I’m lookist, too. If a guy puts his height on Tinder, though (saying you’re 6’2” when no one asked is like a woman listing she’s 110 pounds) that’s an automatic “nope” because vanity. No photos with newborns either, and definitely no shirtless photos.

And while I’m drawn to underdogs and am repulsed by bravado and status-obsession, I like some nice things, and will pay good money for them. Someone who wouldn’t balk at a $200+ dinner (I just bought tickets to Alinea for when I’m in Chicago for work at the end of the month) or a $300 bottle of perfume (I haven’t shelled out the cash on this yet) but is also not a douche, is not easy to find. I was going to say that I’m classist or careerist, but I’m the opposite of both of those. I do not abide underachieving at this point in life, though. 

Age appropriate? Like Williamsburg, I’m not sure that any of the East Village is truly age appropriate anymore.  A woman at the bar was telling what seemed like a first date (though she mentioned a boyfriend) about how her parents let her boyfriend stay over in her basement bedroom when she was in high school and this was a military family, but she got away with it because she had older siblings. Tell me about it. I was the oldest, never getting a break, always paving the way. She was 31, and fairly representative of the happy hour crowd. The oldest person in the bar was probably my date, 45, undeniably middle aged.

August 31, 2013
Nancy Whiskey Pub

When: Tuesday, 8:40pm
What did I drink? Two Maker’s Marks on the rocks, one unmemorable beer

"Do you mind moving down? It’s going to make me uncomfortable to keep looking at you," said the non-descript 40-ish man at the bar.

Interpreted by me this meant you’re sitting between me and the TV screen and I’m going to have to stare at you to see it so we should swap spots.

Interpreted by my drinking companion this meant I don’t like the looks of you.

This is the closest I’ve come to a bar fight in many years. I’m nearly certain that I was correct, and the misunderstanding only further cemented how opposite two people’s brains can function. (And why I’m no longer living with this person.)

Older men hang at Nancy Whisky Pub on the earlier side, younger  cleanly-scrubbed couples who seem transplanted from Wisconsin stay later. There was one other woman at the bar, the only female over 40 (though barely) with short hair and wearing a tank top and checkered glasses, looking like an ’80s art student, and a little Ghostbusters Annie Potts (the film’s fire station is only two blocks away—perhaps this was an apparition?) except that she wasn’t old enough to have kept the look for decades and was too old to be successfully ironic.

This is why I resist the floral baby doll dresses, chokers, Docs and mini-backpacks the kids are all nostalgic for (plus, these ’90s trappings [Doc Martens aren’t ’90s but I’ve given up on accuracy] are ugly). No one over 30 can pull off recycled trends without causing concern that you’ve been wearing them all along.

Age appropriate? It goes without saying that dives are by default age appropriate, even in dives in Tribeca.

August 24, 2013
Desnuda

When: Friday, 6:53pm
What did I drink? One glass of Torrontes, $9; The Reformer (Avua Amburana cachaça, Elcano Fino sherry, Cherry Heering, Peychaud’s Bitters, pasilla and moruga scorpion chiles), $14.

With oysters for $1 (6-8pm, Tuesday-Friday, all day Monday, Sunday) and oysters that are bong-smoked (not $1) Desnuda would seem to attract a younger crowd (not that grandmas are opposed to good deals and stoner gimmicks). And it does.

On the early side, though, the bar is relaxed, the chairs are comfortable, the staff welcoming. I would feel ok with returning on my own. A few solo men had taken up residency, one, slightly too serious, definitely older than 40 and reading The Memory of Love (yes, I had to look that up), which I don’t know how to interpret at all. 

When the gentleman preparing the plates of raw fish asked how I liked the place, I said, “It’s nice; it’s not obnoxious,” which is kind of an obnoxious thing to say in retrospect, but it was worse, though funnier, because he thought I simply said, “It’s obnoxious.” As if I make a habit out of telling staff to their faces that their establishments are obnoxious (that’s what blogs are for, duh).

Was I carded? No. Places that are equally bar and restaurant rarely ID.
Age appropriate? Pretty much—at least in theory—at this point I’ve all but given up on seeing any women over 40 in bars, at least in North Brooklyn, but persist, nonetheless.

August 24, 2013
Tandem

When: Saturday, 2:16am
What did I drink? 70% of a Sixpoint of some sort

Breaking my nothing good happens after 2am rule didn’t result in any traumas, self-loathing, anger, crying jags—you know, the usual—and I do wonder if it’s the Bushwick factor, which on the surface would seem more annoying than Williamsburg but isn’t.

My group of grown women was talked into heading to Tandem by an entertaining, half-crazed 28-year-old man who greatly enjoyed using the word “retarded” and took a shining to us at a nearby rooftop party. Apparently, you can get away with saying you’re also 28 if it’s dark and everyone is very drunk or high. Or crazy.

In my notes (like the older-than-me coworkers who print everything out and re-type words rather just copying and pasting, my generational Achilles’ heel is texting troubles) that read: “3” arcrgw partyikxuoimmmm ok Cupid drunk dual” the only correctly spelled phrase was Norman Reedus, by which I meant to remind myself that there was a bartender who looked like Norman Reedus, but in no way was anywhere Norman Reedus’ 44 years of age.

An accompanying friend had drunk dialed (not dualed) the wrong OkCupid date, ending up with wires-crossed booty call. That gentleman was sitting at the bar and appeared to be the only patron over 40. We left this friend in the green lasers-and smoke-machine back dancing room in the company of the rooftop guy, and she’s still alive so I guess that was fine to do.

Was I carded? Yes, and I’m starting to wonder if bouncers only do that to preserve your dignity.
Age appropriate? Nah, though now that women close to 60 are snatching up lofts like it’s Soho in the ’70s, all this could change.

July 22, 2013

Who know how old detective Sonya Cross is meant to be on The Bridge, but Diane Kruger is old enough (37) to be an older woman at the bar. It’s hard to gauge whether this particular El Paso honky tonk is age appropriate or not because the Asperger’s-y character arrives with the sole purpose of getting laid and draws male attention within seconds of walking in the door, end scene. Middle-aged drinking is different if you’re Diane Kruger.

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