One of the lads

I am still amazed by the local habit of making lifelong character judgements based of  what you drink for an aperitif. My own reputation went down the pan in this way, when I arrived in the Alps 13 years ago.

Out and about with my future husband at the weekend, we would often be invited in for drinks with neighbouring farmers. Aperitifs are served just before lunch or dinner and their pinny clad wives would be in the kitchen slaving over the stove, whilst the men, fresh in from hunting would sit round the table swilling pastis and talking about their spoils and near misses.

As usual, my husband would automatically be given a pastis glass, whilst I would have a different empty glass placed in front of me. I would then be given a choice from a menu of mainly non-alcoholic drinks, culminating with the offer of sweet walnut wine, usually home brew.

Wanting to fit in with the locals and unaware that women here were brought up not to touch the stuff, I would invariably state that I would prefer pastis “léger s’il vous plaît”. A few seconds of uncomfortable silence would ensue, followed by the changing of my glass by our host for a receptacle more consistent with pastis. At this point my husband would start to receive pitying glances from the assembled company for his appalling taste in women. Not only was I English and of non-farming stock, but I also had an obvious drinking problem.

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2 Responses to One of the lads

  1. Gigi says:

    Yes, I know what you mean. My father-in-law would pour me about half a centimetre of Suze or something an hour before dinner then leave me holding the empty glass while he replenished my husband’s glass with single malt whisky à volonté. Since the day my husband suggested I might like some more, I have been eyed with increasing suspicion and disdain…it’s enough to make you turn to drink, isn’t it?

  2. My father-in-law was a bit like that when I first arrived too. My husband soon put him to rights though and now he serves me a good dose along with the rest of them!

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