Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Lost Art of Cocktailing

"Cocktailing" is a verb that I cannot claim to have created. Nor do I think my friend who introduced me to the term came up with it himself. I believe, because my friend is one of those guys with an IQ of 300 coupled with culture, he probably heard it from an older gentlemen who used it back in his youth when the term was more common.

Regardless, before I moved out of Minneapolis, cocktailing had become arguably my favorite thing to do. Not because of the booze (though Rumpleminze played a vital role in cocktailing), but because of the company and my friends.

Cocktailing essentially means going out to a quiet bar or lounge, savoring martinis or other drinks that take time and patience to consume, with the PRIMARY GOAL of conversing and having intelligent conversation with your friends. The music is generally jazz, quiet enough so you can converse. The environment is usually schwank or classy so you feel cozy and relaxed. And the attire is usually better than average so you not only feel like Cary Grant, but you have some eye candy to look at (even though those women are your friends).

In short it is what I believe to be the evolutionary pinnacle of "going out." It starts in its zygote stage when you're 18 and you go to loud raves or night clubs where the music is so loud and obnoxious you can't have a conversation anyway. It matures into a "fad" where a skill like salsa dancing becomes required, but you still have to dress up and abide by middle school morays if you wish to score a dance with a member of the opposite sex. It inevitably sheds it's "meeting the opposite sex objective" skin when you hit your 30's and just plain want to relax and enjoy what you want. It was like reaching the Nirvana of Nightlife where you finally went out for yourself, surrounded yourself with your friends, and never had a bad night out. Aside from vacationing and video games, it was the primary social activity to enjoy.

Unfortunately, moving out from Minneapolis separated me from my Cocktailing Crew. And making matters worse, there isn't a ton of "martini jazz club lounges" in South Dakota. Regardless, the principle of cocktailing doesn't necessitate high end lounges and jazz clubs, as much as it does a crew of intelligent people you could meet and have intelligent conversation with. And while it took a decade to form my Crew o' Cocktailers in Minneapolis, I was already starting to form a crew out here in the rural part of the country. Not a critical mass of people to pull it off, but the nucleus of a crew was forming.

Enter last weekend.

I received a call from one of the cells of the nucleus. She was going to host a party at her house and then we would go "hit a couple bars in town."

I was excited! These people were roughly my age, reasonably intelligent, quite educated and in conversations I had with them before, very engaging and entertaining. I was more than happy to hang out with this crew and do the rural version of "cocktailing." I had decided to lay off the booze for a while to pursue a physical work out and dietary change, and so offered to be the sober cab, the offer of which was quickly accepted. I was told to show up at 830, I showed up at 900PM.

I got there and only the host was home. She informed me everybody was spread out across the town at various bars. We were to pick up her friend at one bar (who had been there since 4PM) and rendezvous with the rest of the Proto-Crew at another bar in town. We were, however, in no rush, and so I spoke with the hostess for a bit about her week, what the latest was, how people were doing, etc. etc. What ensued was a pleasant and enjoyable conversation characterized with intelligence, humor and some wittiness. It was like getting a hit of heroin.

"Aaaaaahhhhh. Cocktailing!"

Soon enough though, her friend called wondering where we were, and off we went to pick her up.

We were to pick her up at this bar I had been before. It was a quiet joint, ran by an old man. Not a high end martini bar, but he played Frank Sinatra. So I knew it was going to be good. I opened the doors and


I was hit by a combination of loud hip hop music, neon lights, and a loud group of patrons having a good time.

I saw the girl we were looking for at the bar. I ponied up next to her and yelled at the bartender,

"What happened to the old man and the Frank Sinatra music?!"




"YEAH! I'D SAY!!!"

I didn't let it get me down, because I knew we were just here to pick up the girl and consolidate the crew at another bar. But I should have.

The "Crew" now consisted of me, the hostess and the girl we were to pick up. She was drunk, but functional. I started suggesting we leave to meet the rest of the crew, but was then informed NOBODY ELSE WAS GOING TO GO OUT! They had all bailed or just not returned her calls. And so what ensued was a discussion of where to go.

Now, understand, the two women I was with were 36 and 42. I didn't think they would want to roll back the evolutionary advancements made in the art of "going out." I started to suggest we go to this quieter joint I knew and get some food, but then they uttered the two most-hated phrases that no self-respecting alpha wants to hear:

"Sports bar."


"Girls night."

Now I know why the Proto-Crew bailed.

I all of the sudden realized they were not quite as far down the evolutionary path of "going out" as I was. And once I mentally took a step back, I realized I was stuck in the borderline-orbiter beta position as a sober cab driver for two women who seemed hell-bent on being "woo girls" for the evening.

I started planning my escape. Since I was stuck as sober cab and my car was back at the hostess' house, I first went the route of trying to suggest we ought to get something to eat first, knowing full well the "sports bar" with "girls night" had no food being served. This had some initial success because they both realized they were starving. But it still didn't get me off the hook because they said we could then go to the sports bar afterwards. But to remedy this, I had a moment of TRUE SUPER AWESOME ECONOMIC GENIUS! While they were partying it up at the sports bar, I would drive to Wal-Mart and do some much needed grocery shopping. I would return home, do some laundry and a litany of other chores I had to do, wait for their call, go back, pick them up, drop off #1, drop off #2, grab my car and at MOST have wasted 30 minutes of my night, while keeping to my word to be sober cab.

So off to one of the few restaurants that was still serving food. It was, unfortunately (you guessed it) another loud bar. Music was loud, people were loud, no place to sit, and so I scoped out a seat in the dining area where we could get food and it wasn't terribly loud. Trying to remain on the optimistic side of things, I figured it wouldn't be too bad. Both WERE intelligent women, we could still have some intelligent conversation, I was hungry anyway, and it's not like every night was going to be 100% Cocktailing Bliss, especially if you haven't formed a solid, well-vetted crew.

Waitress comes by, I order my food, they order their drinks and after placing our orders, the drunk girl grabs the hostess and says in slightly slurred speech,

"Follow me, I have to so you some guys. I want you to pick out the one you like."

I was partly shocked, partly bemused and partly amused all at the same time. The reason why was their age. It wasn't like they were 13 and 14, giggling at the local dance, where a bold Suzie grabbed a shy Jenny and ran over to try to flirt with some boys. These were 42 and 36 year old FULL GROWN WOMEN who were still acting like it was 1988 and they were at the local 18 and under club. The had fully reverted to pre-zygote stage of the going out evolutionary chain!

And that is why I told you this long and sordid story. There has been an arrested development of sorts when it comes to women (and men I might add!) and their means of going out and socializing. I don't know about you guys, but going out night clubbing, paying for cover charges and screaming over music to try to score a number from a girl got real old, real quick. I think the last time I was at a genuine "night club" was probably when I was 24. I then naturally followed the evolutionary progression going to swing and salsa dancing, and finally matured into the final stage of Cocktailing.

But what gets me is how it seems some women (and men) still deploy the same tactics they did when they were 20 years younger. It behooves so many questions and observations, all of which I don't think I could list, but I'll try:

1. The definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different result. I usually would get the point in about 2-3 years. I don't think I would try it for 20 years.

2. The Patron Saint Frick has got to be saying, "What in the Patron Saint's Name of Myself are you girls doing, giggling and approaching guys at a bar like that when you're pushing middle age??!!!"

3. Is this just another example of your Captain being spoiled with really intelligent friends and alas, he will never achieve the high-level of Cocktailing he wished to recreate? Will he fail in his Johnny Appleseed quest to bring "Cocktailing" to the savages?

4. Damnit! How did I get into this situation!? It was like I was tricked into being "The Beta for the Night."

5. Texting texting texting texting. The constant texting only reconfirmed my staunch belief in not texting. The girls could not go more than 4 minutes without looking at their phones and texting. Again, are you 40 or 14?

6. And yes, manosphere readers - divorced, kids, all of you in the manosphere can absolutely guess the profiles, I don't have to provide details.

The night continued much like you could guess. The drunk girl, along with a drink I recommended, got the hostess pretty tipsy. The drunk girl's salesmanship also introduced the hostess to a nice young man. So nice that they talked for nearly 2 hours, denying us any opportunity to go to the sports bar (yea!!!!). Drunk girl finally got a text about where her friends were. We went to a "dance club," which by major metropolitan area was hilarious. It was, of course, loud, and this Proto-Crew decided to sit RIGHT NEXT TO THE SPEAKERS. I ponied up to the bar. Ordered an O'Douls. Listened to one of the many members of the Drunk Trailer Trash Tribe that populate the city yell and scream his woman problems at the woman sitting next to me. He liked to use words that start with "F" and it was very apparent why he had women problems. I managed to strike up a conversation with (oddly enough) a doctorate candidate in psychology, though it was difficult because of the loud hip hop music that was then being played. Sure enough, booze was taking its toll on the rookie crew and I was summoned to bring them back home. I dropped everybody off at their respective places, hoped into my POS, went home and went to bed swearing never to be the sober cab ever again.

I miss Mancini's.

I miss the St. Petersbourgh Vodka Bar.

I miss Jake O'Connors

I miss Axels Bonfire.

I miss Stogies on Grand

I miss The Perfect Ash

I miss Grove Tobacco

I miss the Chalet

I miss The Manor

I miss The Times Cafe

I miss Little Havana

I miss The Embassy Suites Lounge

I miss Psycho Suzie's

I miss Prohibition

I miss Floyd's

I miss The Embassy

Hell, I miss Perkins.

But most of all, I miss my top notch, Cracker-Jack Cocktailing Crew.

Enjoy the decline.


Aynsley said...

You could always join up with the Masons. This is the first time I've heard it called cocktailing, but I've been doing it fairly well for a while at the lodge. Of course, it's not my age group, but the folks are hilarious.

Amateur Strategist said...


Any plans on how to make sure this never happens again? Maybe a contingency acquiescence?

jaericho said...

Living in the south suburbs of St. Paul I would kill to find a quiet pub to have a beer in after work. I don't think it's going to happen.

ps. I also tried Rumple Minze finally. I'm not much of a drinker but it was very good.

Sindi said...

We miss you too Captain!

Jay said...

Call me a square, but I've been cocktailing since I was 18. I never liked the raves, gave me a headache and I thought everyone was an a-hole. Also salsa does nothing for me, I don't know maybe I'm anti-social but I really just hate society for what it is...I'd do anything for a time machine to go back to a time where men could be men and women could be women and when we hit 21 we acted like adults.

CBMTTek said...

Well, Cappy.

If you really want cocktailing, you need to set the tone.

Admirable of you to assume the ladies were a bit higher on the party evolutionary scale, and that is the correct strategy when trying things out for the first time. Let those you are with set the tone, and see what happens.

Bet some of the "friends" that dropped out might be good candidates. It does not sound like this is the first time these two women have acted this way. Their "friends" are probably just as sick and annoyed as you are. Possibly for the same reason.

Any good thing must be earned. Maybe you should keep in contact with these two long enough to figure out how mature their friends are. And, cocktailing does not have to happen out somewhere, it can happen equally well at home.

Best of luck.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the scene sucks because you haven't started it yet. There's tons of women that like to play "classy" on occasion, especially the young ones. Your mistake was to slack off on the legwork and make your successful cocktailing dependent on two middle aged American women.

Anonymous said...


You just saw a couple rural / suburban women revert to form.

I see this in my wife & female family members and a lot of our friends. Women who you'd think have something on the ball plan their big day/night out, and it involves shopping at an outlet mall together, then hitting some crapfest restaurant, eating shit food and drinking frozen-drinks-from-a-bucket-of-mix, or maybe the weakest sweetest blush wine they can find. I'd feel bad for them but they honestly don't aim higher, and a lot of more sophisticated pleasures - really nice wine, really high quality food - aren't even on the radar. They just don't aspire to more than what a 16 year old thinks grownups do.

My dozen or so male friends would rather get together at somebody's house, have nice food (several topnotch cooks in the crew) and primo booze, we always roll out different cocktails and good craft brews & bourbon at our get togethers. If we go out, we hit a top tier steakhouse or ethnic food place and look for a cocktail lounge. There are a couple random girls in our circle (based on golf/bikes/camping/football watching) who occasionally join us who have similar tastes (they'd be good in a cocktailing crew I think), and they are particularly treasured. But most of the women we're married to / dating / related to don't have tastes that run that way and although they are certainly happy to tag along for that kind of stuff it's nothing they'd ever initiate or get particularly enthused about, whereas the guys are always trying to kick it up a notch.

Marvin the Martian said...

Boy, you got suckered, didn't you! ;-) Perhaps it's time to accept that "going out" is now, and always has been, pointless. You managed to find a good state of equilibrium in the past, but that was unique to that geographical area. Now you're in the sticks, with no such unique aggregation of factors that would let you enjoy being out. Abandon hope and drink at home or at friends' houses. "Out" is usually a fiasco, no matter where you are, I think. Especially when women are setting the agenda.

anon dude said...

Why are you friends with women?

Aeroguy said...

I guess you could say my group has been cocktailing since our hookah bar got it's liquor license and we're in our mid 20's. They do play the annoying loud music on weekends but the rest of the time it's exactly as you describe.

sconzey said...

Haha. Totally this.

I recently moved to London and need to find some appropriate venues for this type of affair.

I suspect I may have to bite the bullet and join a private members' club.