I had long been planning a Thursday Night Loaded about scotch and manly spaces — the idea being that, of all the spirits, whiskeys in general and scotch in particular tend to be the object of male, rather than female, affection. The Expensive Scotch Tasting, for instance, is a rite of passage I’ve been through many times, in many provinces and always with chaps — while any attendees representing the distaff side, when threatened with some peaty bottle of burnination, have recoiled at the suggestion and retreated to the safety of their vino, beer and fizzy vodka beverages.
My plan had been to look through a whiskey-clouded lens at the shifting nature of male space. How it’s moving from the garage and the workshop into the realm of First Person Shooters, online sports forums, genre film discussions and action figure collecting. How entire industries exist solely to supply a range of predominately male obsessions. It begins with Pokemon cards in childhood. And works its way up to single malts in middle age.
It would have been an excellent blog post.
Then along comes the Globe and Mail to declare that whiskey isn’t just for lads anymore. (And, as it happens, Aidan has already taken note of this.)
Now, I concede I’m a tad disappointed that my planned TNL has been derailed by the intrusion of “facts” about the non-exclusivity of whiskey consumption along gender lines. But I’ll get over that. In fact, it got me thinking. I’m willing to bet there are more than a few men out there who feel a little threatened at the idea of womenfolk making whiskey their beverage of choice. That they see this as an annexation of a revered corner of the Man Cave for use by the Ladies’ Cotillion. That in short order Glenmorangie and Talisker will be synonymous with lambs and pink chiffon.
I heartily welcome women up to the oaken bar of scotch enthusiasm. It is long overdue. In fact, I can’t see how having large numbers of whiskey-swigging women at one’s elbow can be understood as a bad thing. Bring it on, I say.
Moreover, it would be damn hypocritical of me to feel otherwise. You see, as a S.A.D. (which stands for Stay At home Dad — although I much prefer the term “idler”), I am frequently in the position of being an interloper into female spaces.
I can’t tell you the number of times a mom-and-tots drop-in or library nursery-rhyme program has gone quiet the second I walk in.* Often, I’ll catch the last few seconds of some conversation about clothing or breast feeding and then I’ll round the corner and…. awkwardness.
Now, once I linger long enough** to become an established quantity,*** the stay at home moms I have met have been entirely welcoming. And a huge help and support. I am very glad to know them.
The least I can do is share my whiskey.
* This was way more common during that first year when we lived in Waterloo.
** On more than a few occasions, I’ve been told things like, “Oh, I’ve seen you around. Everybody knows you. You’re stay at home dad guy.”
*** Over the last four years, I’ve noticed a marked increase in the number of SADs I run into. And by that I mean men who’ve quit their jobs to raise their kids and don’t have some guaranteed career safety net to fall back on. (So, no, if you’re just some guy taking your six months pat leave, you don’t count. You pussy.) Have to admit, I’m feeling considerably less the maverick these days.