When I order a Powers whiskey neat at the only bar in town that actually carries decent Irish whiskey, the man I’m with or the bartender will note how cool it is. That I'm a woman drinking whiskey, or that I'm a woman who knows good whiskey, or some variation therein. And I know immediately what they're thinking. They expect me to be one of those cool, slightly-adventurous-but-not-crazy girls with a few strategically placed, non-clichéd tattoos.
For the record, that is not me.
The whiskey girl is portrayed as someone who can fully imbibe in masculine things while remaining incredibly (if not overbearingly) feminine. If Toby Keith’s classic 2009 vision of a whiskey girl is any indication, she has a love of cars, a rather acute compulsivity problem, and a fantastic plastic surgeon.
The myth of the whiskey girl shows a woman who loves to party but can handle her liquor. I’ve never been sure what handling your liquor meant, but as anyone who drinks whiskey knows: it does its job well.
And of course, most poignantly, the whiskey girl is flawed, rough around the edges, and complex... but only in a sexy way! Her baggage doesn't diminishes her hotness or require any emotional time and energy to understand. She is the slightly tougher, louder version of the manic pixie girl; whose flaws are cute are manageable with another drink or indie folk rock song.
Of course, the whiskey girl is just one manifestation of the “it girl” -- who, as we've seen in countless celebrity gossip rags, must be taken down. Whiskey-loving it girl Jennifer Lawrence was recently lambasted for being rude because obviously rude is only cute when the media deems it so. The whiskey girl is just the latest in mythical creatures our society builds up so it can later burn down in effigy.
If a girl drinks whiskey, there is one reason why: because she likes it.
Because perhaps accepting women as highly complex and contradictory would make them a bit too... human.
But I digress.
If a girl drinks whiskey, there is one reason why: because she likes it. Let the fact that she enjoys whiskey just be one part of her. And get to know the rest without any preconceived notions about her coolness.
I drink whiskey because my dad drinks whiskey. Understandably, I have little in common with my conservative-leaning, retired-engineer father. So when my dad offered me my first Jameson, I relished in the bonding experience and found I actually enjoyed the strong but smooth taste. Since then, our tastes have diverged: while I have embraced the caramel-richness of bourbon, my dad still is a stubborn Irish whiskey only kind of guy. But his influence remains a part of me, as does my penchant for whiskey.
But, this certainly doesn't make me cool.
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Niki Fritz is a writer of feministy and occasionally funny words, a drinker of coffee, studier of pornography... and avid drinker of whiskey.