Thursday, January 5, 2012

Um, Dude...Shut Up

When I first got into wine, not just in the wine business but really into wine, I used to wonder why so many of the people that came into our shop were confused, nervous, would profess their lack of knowledge with the scrunched brow of the truly pained and seemed to turn the shopping for what should be something pleasurable into something akin to a visit to the dentist or gynecologist. I would stand there, big goofy grin on my face while these poor people would shift their weight from one foot to the other, hem and haw, tug at loose strings on the sides of their jeans while they sheepishly expressed their desire to find a wine, to go with whatever, at such and such price point, in nearly whispered tones as if they were confessing their sins to a priest or asking for a box of ribbed for her pleasure condoms from behind the counter. Never got that and as soon as I found enough swagger in my wine slinging step, I made it my personal charge to make every single one of the people that walked through the doors of The Wine Country feel comfortable enough to ask and tell us anything. 

We aren’t priests, (although I have worn a collar, but only once and never at work) and we aren’t here to judge or impose our ideas or palates on anyone. You want to drink sweet red with your spaghetti and meatballs? Right on, I’ll show you the wines we have that will hit that sweet spot for you. You want to spend $8.00 on a bottle to go with your $35.00 a pound ribeyes? Right this way. You need a red wine to go with lobster? Well you tell me what you like to drink and I will happily slip a bottle under your arm that will be just what you asked me for. Not my place, unless asked, to tell you what you should be drinking and enjoying. That has been the way we’ve done things for years at the shop and while we continue to write articles, teach classes and offer our suggestions when we fear someone is on the track of wine and food pairing destruction, in the end it will always be your palate we aim to please. Period. So why the nervous and creased faces? Took only one click of my cursor on a friend’s posted Facebook link the other day to remind me….fucking crappy ass magazines.

Long time readers are all too familiar with my vein-popping irritation with Food & Wine magazine and their cheese loaded, half-assed, half-hearted, “Ugh!” inducing, shit articles about wine. I’ve not only gone after them here but I ended up canceling my over ten year subscription due to their lack of understanding and actual appreciation for wine…you know, the beverage that they named half their ragazine after?! Yeah, so finally picked off that scab and now, well now I’ve got goddamn Facebook to alert me of all the pomposity and douchebaggery my beloved business has to offer. Yay?

So being the Champagne buyer for the store I was bound to click on an article someone linked about Valentine’s Day Sparklers. Had to right? No, no I really didn’t but I did. Should have scrunched my own brow and backed away slowly when I saw the cartoon picture of a man with sleek black hair…tying on a bowtie. I didn’t. “Who is this misogynistic effusive prick?!” the not so whispered, through clinched teeth, growl that inspired both my husband and son to emerge from the back of the apartment to see what it was I was fuming about. No wonder people think we are all crank yanking asshats…

So this, paid for, (grrrrr) article starts with,

“Depending on when you are reading this you have between two and six weeks to ace your plans for the Big V. Yes, that’s Valentine’s Day-for her the most important day of the year”

Okay, now if this is true, the first tip I might give is to stop dating 16 year olds. Really? The most important day of the year?! So “The Big V.” stands for “has vagina and will wig if you don’t pretend that this Hallmark sponsored day of love appreciation is not rightly recognized”?? Has she been pining away all day, ringing her apron and wrapping her curler heavy head in toilet paper waiting…breathlessly, all day for your to punch the old clock at 5:00 giving her just enough time to slither into that, “something pretty” you bought her, remove the curlers and brush out her curls, with a good spray of Aqua Net of course, and pouty her lips before you get home? I’m guessing not, dickwad.

Shut Up

“Plenty of relationships have tanked on St. Valentine’s Day, (adding the St. part is very important here…lets the reader know the author knows history and junk, therefore, wicked smart and a man to be listened to) because the guy’s efforts didn’t measure up to expectations”

She was already looking for a way out jackhole. If you think it’s really because you bought carnations instead of roses, you’re dumber than I thought. And…

Shut Up 

“The best way to avoid disaster is to start the evening with a bottle of fizz”

Is fizz cooler or more man-like than bubbles? You just toss out the manned up term “Fizz”? Yeah, I’m sure you do and you probably call the one black man in your office, “Bro” complete with the teeth sunk into your thin bottom lip and a fist pump, rest your sunglasses on the back of your neck and give the head toss and “Yo!” to any dude that is younger, (and far cooler) than you are. You are quite the catch dude, might I suggest carnations?

Shut Up

He then goes on to talk about Prosecco, (yeah and I’m sorry, I still think it’s stupid) and Cava. He instructs his fellow Bros and Dudes that these are very fashionable right now but there is a dearth of shit ones to wade through, (and doesn’t tell you which to avoid…useful that) but is sure to give the “relationship saving” advice that at least they are cheap!

Please, Just Shut Up

He then goes on to further confuse shit with descriptions like”

“Almost ethereal in its delicacy. Elusive as early morning mist and just as beguiling”

“If she has a penchant for sweeter wines, this is the way to her heart, and your future well-being”

“despite its highly suspect bright scarlet color, this is a surprisingly balanced and grown up wine. A touch of cherry cola…..”

“It leaves the impression of crystalline clarity”

“Displays and impressive haughtiness”

Um, Dude

Shut Up….


webb said...

Gee, Sam. What did you think of the article?

Makes me want to grab some curlers and Aqua Net (who, but you, even remembers that?) and make myself pretty for my big hubby. Thanks for reminding me. After all, I only have five weeks to get ready!

Anonymous said...

I particularly loved the "Grown up wine, with a bit of cherry cola" description. Can I have it now with a touch of vomit on the side?

Samantha Dugan said...

I um, didn't care for it much. Pissed me off from the very beginning with all the sexist rhetoric but really brought it home for me with goofy ass descriptors, and not mentioning one, not one Champagne. Grrrrr

Had to read that line twice. Been awhile since I walked the soda section of the market, so long in fact I was not aware that there was a grownup Cherry Cola. So, I guess I learned something, well that and that I'm doing girl all wrong. Douche. Irked me a wee bit...

Thomas said...

...and how do you think those of us who used to get paid to write about wine feel these days?

This is what made me turn to writing books, where I don't get paid much, but I also don't have to answer to a magazine editor with the experience and taste of a teenager.

Samantha Dugan said...

Cannot even begin to imagine. I'm pretty sure it was the, "Little Lady" shit that bugged me most, as it tends to do, but I can see why people get nervous about wine after reading crap like that article. They try and dumb it down or whatever and then use descriptors that are heavily cheesed and most likely make no sense to the average consumer. Left me cranky, as I'm sure you could tell...

John M. Kelly said...

I don't think I am going to take the time to research this, because frankly I don't give a damn, but maybe F&W is owned by the same company that owns lad mags like Maxim and FHM? Perhaps they share editors. It is really sad that this is the only way some people will ever view wine and food.

Samantha Dugan said...

I just sent you the link. Brilliant stuff there I assure you. It is sad and I think this kind of crap does far more harm than good....

Marcia Macomber said...

So, what do you really think, Samantha?

I once got a F&W free subscription for 3 months (after which you have to pay) and was excited to see what they had to offer. I could not understand, however, month after month why it was so frivolous, worthless and offered nothing to someone who digs wine.

Seemed to me it was targeted to the Cosmo/Seventeen, and, yes, Maxim crowd. Boring. Cancelled before having to pay.

Aqua Net! Ha! Brings back memories of long, long ago...

Samantha Dugan said...

I know, I know, really gotta work on being able to express myself clearer. F&W is really the Rachel Ray of the wine world. Can't take issue with the food end, I mean other than the fact that half the publication is advertisements. The recipes are easy enough anyway.

Ah yes, Aqua Net. At one point in my teens I would go through a can of that wretched smelling shit a week! Ugh.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,

The younger the wine crowd skews,the more this crap appears. But anyone who takes it seriously has far worse emotional problems than an advice column like this can cure.

That said, I'll show you my tiny P if you'll show me your Big V.

Honestly, Baby, nothing is more entertaining than you with righteous anger at the stupidity of the world. I think we bonded over that.

I love you.

Samantha Dugan said...

Ron My Love,

Um, this was not an advice column baby, this was a wine column and you may be older than you led me to believe if you think this guy is park of a younger crowd. Yikes.

Oh and saying "Your Big V." to a woman is akin to me saying, "My what a long sack you have" Humpf! I still love you though!

TWG said...

Can't find it on the website but please don't forward me the link.

Valerie said...

It's that stereotypical "Women love Valentine's day" crap that makes me want to spew forth pink & purple chunks at the "He went to Jared's" commercial of the season. Just when I thought this disgusting concept of commercialized "romance" couldn't get any more vomit-worthy. I shall quickly regroup, get back in touch with my inner "Hello Kitty" and drop hints for sparkly things and sweet wines with pretty pink labels. Oh - and something fluffy, like a white kitten and an angora sweater. Loved this piece, Sam!

Sara Louise said...

Sweet Georgia Brown! That's the type of thing that I would be terrified for my husband to find and read and in his sweetness and unfamiliarity with American culture would potentially believe. That crap should be banned and burned. And "fizz"?! REALLY?! FIZZ?!

Samantha Dugan said...

Oh C'mon, you know you want to see it in its entirety! You're lucky I don't have your email, would have been there waiting for you early this morning.

Know what killed me, I mean aside from the archaic and insulting girl shit, this cat has written for Saveur! Couldn't believe it. So not only were the veins on the side of my heart throbbing from the stupid, I got a dagger in the heart reading that the dude that wrote that has written for my most beloved publication. Grrrr

I didn't even think of that, the whole cultural differences thing. I think for your own protection you should make your husband a list of the stuff that he should never believe coming from the mouths of American men...