Courting is like Whiskey

posted April 12, 2012 by Jer


Extroverts regard courting as doing shots of hard liquor. Introverts prefer to savor an exquisite beverage.

Before I continue this metaphor, I'm going to have to set some ground rules. The image I have painted thus far would suggest tequila vs wine, but in the interest of focusing on the drinking method and not the drink, let's say we're talking about whiskey. I also don't want to confuse my message with gender roles here, so try to think of the "Drinker" and the "Drink" as the gender-non-specific "Pursuer" and "Pursued." I'll be talking about boys picking up girls because I am a male who's romantic interest is females, but I feel confident the metaphor will work with interchangeable genders.

Right. Glad we've cleared that up.

Let's talk about shots.

It's time to party. Have a shot. Tonight we're shooting whiskey. Jack, Beam, Makers, Crown, SoCo, doesn't matter. If you take enough shots, you will eventually get drunk. That's the goal. That's what matters. Don't think about it. Don't plan for it. You're here to get drunk. Which particular shot is the one that makes you drunk isn't even an issue. The target is intoxication, so keep drinking shots.

This is how courtship is expected to work in western society. As adults, our passing interactions with new humans are brief and fleeting, so we must think quick, act quick, move on. You see the girl. You hit on the girl. You see the next girl. Repeat. Do this enough times, eventually you will get laid. This is the extrovert approach.

To anyone who actually likes girls, this approach is repugnant on a number of levels.

Let's talk about scotch.

I feel my love for tasty beverages is well known by this point, and whiskey is certainly on that list. I'm quite particular on how I enjoy it. I want to start by knowing what I'm drinking. I want to know the story, the age, the nuance. I want to hear the crafters' story. If it's a nice whiskey, it's likely had a long and interesting life, a grand adventure before it made it to this beautiful bottle. I don't drink whiskey often, it's for a special occasion. Intoxication may occur, but the primary goal is an experience, something worth remembering.

To "do a shot" of proper whiskey is a sin worthy of Judeo-Christian damnation. Quentin Tarantino will back me up on this.

There are countless ways to properly enjoy whiskey, each as particular as the drinker. For me, a fine whiskey simply MUST be served on the rocks. Crushed ice and whiskey stones will not do. I need solid cubes of ice. The first moment is the sharpest. Fresh poured over the ice, the whiskey is at full strength, filling the nose and awakening the tongue. I know some who enjoy their whiskey neat, but for me that initial intensity is only part of the story. As the libation chills and the ice melts, the flavor softens and fresh nuances come to light. This is a gradual process, a gradation ending when the ice has melted completely. At this point, the alcohol's effect has dampened my senses, but the intensity is past and the drink and I are quite familiar with each other. We conclude our time together simply enjoying each other's company.

At the risk of pointing out the uncomfortable obviousness of my point, this is how an introvert would prefer courtship to work.

One drinks shots because they like being drunk but do not like alcohol. Inversely, one can only savor a beverage after they've already established that it's a beverage worth savoring.

This is why I don't pick up chicks.

When I see a pretty girl, the best I can hope for in those fleeting moments before our chance encounter has passed is to metaphorically read the bottle. Most girls don't project much info about themselves. It's rare for me to get a girl's name before she passes out of sight, let alone her legacy, her history - all those beautiful, nuanced details that make her an interesting person; make her worth engaging.

Extrovert standards dictate I should have taken the shot while I had the chance, but whiskey burns when you drink it fast and then it's gone. This is fine if you don't CARE about the whiskey, but what if you DO? What if you'd rather not drink it at all if it means missing all those beautiful details, that tapestry of events that began with the decision "this is going to be a beautiful whiskey" and ended with that moment where someone realized with proper attention that yes, indeed this IS a beautiful whiskey.

Even cheap whiskey has it's charm, if someone would slow down long enough to pay attention to it.

As an introvert living in an extroverted world, I am constantly told that the solution to my problem is to take more shots. This is simply not going to happen. I actually like girls. I don't have to get laid to realize a human of the opposite gender is simply good company or a caring friend. In fact, pursuing sex-only as "taking shots" implies would destroy the chances of such connections occurring, which is why I suspect most extroverts I know tend to gravitate exclusively towards their own gender for nonsexual companionship. This is fine for most people, but not for me. The older I get, the more I find myself in all-male groups, because of this persistent cultural norm. It doesn't limit itself to just one side, either. I find it just as common for my female friends to drop off the radar once they find themselves in a predictably monogamous relationship.

I don't have a solution. It's not really even a problem to most people. The best I can do is clarify my own vision and realize precisely what the trouble is. I'd rather sip a single malt scotch than do shots of Crown. Exquisite whiskey is rare and expensive. Finding a good one, let alone a favorite, takes time. The more one takes their time, however, the greater the reward.

Had I the choice, I would become simple friends with many girls, with no need to rush into a romantic relationship. Instead, I'd prefer to relax and let that occur organically, as opposed to forcing it to satiate a fleeting desire. The slower you enjoy something, the more memorable it will be. Living in the moment is exciting - and it's enough for most people - but not me. I much prefer moments who's enjoyment persists and blossoms with time.

If you don't understand this, that's fine. Just don't cry to me when you wonder why you keep getting hungover.