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Drinks in the City

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If we are too drunk or too hungover to work or go to yoga or get snazzed up for a restaurant, then finally, if only for a few hours, we can stop trying and calculating and pushing. But it’s only a temporary fix, an intoxicated taste of what it would be like to actually be relaxed.

“Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve never known what to do with myself if I wasn’t smoking pot or drinking or something,” Anne continues. “I’m 31 years old now, and I’ve never had a life without that. I’ve given up everything besides alcohol.”

“You want another drink?” Justin asks her as he gets up to visit the blue bar.

“Yeah,” she says. “I feel like for our parents, it was pot and it was part of identifying as a bohemian or living the alternative lifestyle. For us, it’s not even an issue—it’s just how we’ve been socialized.” Justin comes back in and hands her an enormous cocktail.

“My mom drank excessively but stopped,” says Tim.

“My dad’s pretty much a raging alcoholic,” says Justin. “Here’s a guy who was a whiz kid—like a game-show kid—but then . . . We used to find bottles in the backyard. He still drinks.”

We all shut up for a second.

“There’s a difference in the quality of why I go out,” Justin says, and again he is full of light. “I go out because I had a good week—not in this obnoxious investment-banker way of ‘Oh, I made $2 million this week’ but in that you did something you feel proud of and . . . we’re good people. How many people who you want to hang out with go home after three drinks?”

“And it makes you feel like your life is more glamorous,” Anne says. “But it’s not.”

At the same time, Tim and Justin say: “It is so.”

I have never been an angry drunk or a wild drunk—mostly I just say weird things, usually back to back. Not so my best friend. Before she slowed down, it had basically gotten to the point that she would turn into the Tasmanian Devil every time we went out. She is beautiful—blue eyes, black hair, the works—and until one night that will live in infamy, she was wearing a fedora everywhere we went. (It looked good.)

We started out at the Cherry Tavern, a bar on East 6th Street with a jukebox and a pool table. There’s a pair of guys who pretty much live there; one is handsome and thuggish, the other painfully skinny with spiky blond hair. I was surprised, to say the least, when my friend became engrossed in conversation with the blond one about his hairdressing career and showbiz aspirations. “I remember getting drunk and thinking, Even though you have the body weight of one of my breasts, you’re kind of fun to talk to, and now I’m going to make out with you,” she says.

I think my jaw actually dropped when I saw her fedora moving closer and closer to his head. “We sucked face, he put my number in his cell phone, I never heard from him again.” But she didn’t care, because he was incidental: Her real conquest that evening was a guy she was meeting in midtown at some place called the Iguana. “My little blond hairdresser was like, ‘Hang out,’ but I told him, ‘Can’t do it. I’ve got to go meet someone I’ve had a crush on since I was a kid.’ ”

Though she couldn’t remember where she was going, my friend got in a cab and, as drunk people will, had the driver pull over on some corner: “All I knew is that it was near Studio 54. So I was yelling to people on the street, ‘Where’s the Iguana at?’ And some giant was like, ‘I’m going right past there; I’ll give you a ride.’ As we were getting in his car, he said, ‘By the way, you should never do this.’ I said, ‘What? Get in a car with some random guy?’ He said, ‘Exactly.’ ”

At the club, she felt great. “I was wearing this tight skirt and a low-cut shirt and my cute hat,” she says. “Plus I was just coming off a kiss.” She quickly found her man. “I remember thinking, I’m going to try and have sex with him, I think.” It was not to be. She hit the dance floor and took a little spill. “All I know is, one minute I’m standing, the next I’m on the floor. I went over like a domino in that tight skirt, and then it split. Not like a little tear. Like a split from the waist to the hem.” Needless to say, she hasn’t seen the guy or the fedora since. She also quit drinking. For a while.


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