Cocktails again

I’ve called this post “Cocktails again" because I wrote about cocktails with Caroline in a recent post and am thinking about cocktails again in this one.  What is it about cocktails that makes them seem so alluring?  I guess it’s the sense of glamour that pervades them.  Glamour is a subject that I write about for work and am endlessly intrigued by.  It is a massively ambiguous concept, surrounded by multiple and at times contradictory meanings.  Likewise cocktails.  They can symbolise richness and opulence; think martini glasses and old school Hollywood film stars, or Manhattens and uptown New York nightclubs.  They can also be vulgar and the alcoholic equivalent of the tabloids’ Page 3; think fishbowls and all the ones with a double entrendre for a name.  The understanding of glamour that appeals most to me is the sense of it as something removed from the ordinary and everyday.  For some, this may be a fantasy or escapism.  For others, it may be about aspiration.  For me, it is about doing something a little bit decadent – not grossly so, just a little bit.  In many ways, cocktails fit the bill.  One could just have a glass of wine, but a cocktail pushes the boat out further without straying too far into Marie Antoinette territory.  They represent a moment of indulgence, two fingers to being sensible and restrained and contained.  This has massive appeal as I’ve come to realise that I do tend to err on the side of being sensible and more-than-a-little puritanical.  Cocktails are a reminder to let my hair down sometimes, to not take myself too seriously (another unfortunate tendency), to think "What the hell, the drink may cost £20 but hey barman, get mixing” (okay, so they weren’t my exact words, but I did once pay £20 for a cocktail). 

I’m not sure my plans for tomorrow night would normally be classed as glamorous.  I’m not getting dressed up and going to a smokey bar where I’ll be surrounded by mirrors and serenaded by jazz, but heading to a house scented by a large batch of chilli being cooked, surrounded by a large collection of blue-and-white china and serenaded by the cackles of a group of women gathered together.  Throw cocktails into the mix, though, and it ups the stakes; it lends a different aura to proceedings.  I feel I should rouge my cheeks and wear the best silk stockings that money can buy.  And I can’t wait!  Not necessarily often, perhaps not even regularly, just sometimes, we all need a bit of glamour in our lives.

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Thank you Tumblr

On Friday night, I had dinner with my friend Clare from over at the Pass the Pattern blog.  We were good friends at senior school and spent many a happy hour rearranging one another’s wardrobe (what wild teens we were!).  It was lovely to get together after only seeing each other once in probably twelve or thirteen years.  It was also a little strange how aside from having to fill each other in on the odd episode, it was pretty much like picking up where we left off.  Maybe it’s because social media (including Tumblr, where we read each other’s blogs) allows us to glimpse into people’s lives much more easily.  Maybe it’s because we had a genuinely solid friendship, based on our similar outlooks as well as mutual interests.  Or maybe it’s a combination of the two.  In a world where we can make innumerable superificial connections that may feel instantly gratifying but disappear as easily as they are created, it feels good to know that the same technologies can be used to facilitate and even restore more meaningful bonds too.  Thanks, Tumblr.