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Make Mine a Double

Why Women Like Us Like to Drink (Or Not)

Gina Barreca

Publication Year: 2011

Make Mine a Double pours together a collection of witty, intelligent, and provocative pieces about women and their beverages of choice. Edited by humorist and academic mahatma Gina Barreca, the twenty-eight original essays here come from a diverse community of voices from ages twenty-one to seventy-nine, including such luminaries as Fay Weldon, Wendy Liebman, Amy Bloom, Liza Donnelly, Nicole Hollander, Beth Jones, Dawn Lundy Martin, and many others.

Equal parts paean to spirits, an open discussion of drinking (or not drinking), and a call to feminists everywhere to say "salut," Make Mine a Double shimmers with thoughtfulness, humor, and self-examination. These tales of women's complex relationships with alcohol are the story of every woman's effort to find her independence and sense of belonging, be it at a college party, a high-powered cocktail party, or on a stool at the neighborhood watering hole.

Barreca and the writers have agreed that all their profits from the book will be donated to Windham Hospital's "Gina's Friends" fund, which aids women in need.

Published by: University Press of New England

Title Page

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Copyright Page

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pp. v-vi

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An Aperitif

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pp. vii-xii

There I was, standing with a group of distinguished women at a Modern Language Association party a few years back, and I couldn’t help but notice that our male colleagues all seemed to be holding martinis. It was quite a sight: two hundred men in blue blazers and tan trousers, all holding triangular glasses. Surveying the room, one of my colleagues wondered...

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pp. 1-15

The history of the emancipation of women in the United States is the history of a war on whiskey, waged through public shamings by means of prayer, hymn singing, stone throwing, and the demolition of saloons with everyday farm tools. It is the history of Carry A. Nation, saloon shatterer, mad bringer of “hatchetations” from God to Kansas. Instigator, in 1894...

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Just a Splash

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pp. 16-25

I'm sure you already know this, but the bar scenes are great.” A guy in a creative writing class once scrawled this at the bottom of his tattered, stained-with-God-knows-what copy of my novel in progress. “I don’t know why—I’m not implying anything— but maybe you should do more with that.” Not implying what? Did he fear it would be indelicate to imply...

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From Absinthe to Zima

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pp. 26-31

Absinthe: You are twenty. Your hair is dirty but your eyes are bright, and you are studying abroad, have already perfected your ordering of a pint of cider, but then you read that quote by Oscar Wilde, the one about how drinking absinthe gives him the peculiar feeling of having tulips on his legs, so you slink from bar to bar in Prague whispering...

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This American Martini

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pp. 32-40

Act One: Preface—The City This small, postindustrial American city is block after block of beer, sports stadiums, and the grunt and sacrifice of workers. Each enclave of the city reveals itself only slightly when pressed against. Deceptive wooden door, heavy and creaking; palms of strangers’ hands flat and firm against its metal plate; a darkened room. Lining the entire right wall of the room, a long mahogany...

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Against Mixology

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pp. 41-46

When I walk into a SoHo gallery, I expect to be snubbed. One look at my shoe-handbag combo, and even the intern knows I can’t afford the art. At an alt rock show in Williamsburg, I am game for shame at the door. I’m not that young anymore, and all my piercings are hidden. Basically, if art is on the line, I’m okay with elitism. When it’s a question of sin, however—and no matter,,,

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The Cocktail as Fashion Accessory

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pp. 47-52

I have no style when it comes to either clothing or cocktails. I will stand for hours in front of mirrors wondering how far the green shade of my skirt can deviate from the green of my shoes without signaling an utter lack of refinement. I flip frantically through makeup charts, trying to figure out if Hot Toffee eye shadow coordinates with Toasted Almond lipstick or just sounds like a delicious combination. I own two handbags...

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My Mentor, the Cocktail

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pp. 53-55

Let’s go to your house, Liza!” Those were words that I loved, yet dreaded. My high-school buddies loved coming to my house, and of course I liked being liked. Was it the Dr Pepper, chips, and cookies that my mother made sure were always in supply? The snacks aside, the big question was: how would my mother be? My fear was that my friends wanted to come to my house...

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Hilarity and Mirth

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pp. 56-58

Sometimes I marvel at how rich I would be, if only I hadn’t listened to my psychoanalyst. I went to one when I was a slip of a girl, the love of my life having refused to marry me unless I embarked on a three-timesa- week bout of Freudian therapy. The first time I met my psychoanalyst, I apologized for wasting money by taking a taxi rather than the bus to our appointments. “Why shouldn’t you take a taxi?” she asked. “You...

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Raising the Glass

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pp. 59-62

My earliest recollection of drinking was as I ate supper at my grandmother’s kitchen table and watched my grandfather cut Italian bread by sawing through the loaf he held against his chest. Stopping just a millimeter shy of cutting his shirt, he would stab the tip of his knife into the new slice and drop it on a plate. Fine dining it wasn’t, but it was great theater. Having come from a country where even the cows couldn’t...

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Where’s the Party?

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pp. 63-65

Confession: I like to drink solo. My bad habit of drinking alone—and on the sly—dates back to kindergarten. Or maybe first grade. All I know is that sometime in the early 1960s, while my mother’s back was turned, I furtively dipped my fat little fingers into the foam dregs of my father’s beer mug to lick up the last of his Schlitz. The sour taste of the beer made me want to gag. But the thrill I got from secretly...

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How Drink Saved My Sibling Relationship

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pp. 66-68

We are not those sisters who are best friends. We are not those sisters. We are never photographed and interviewed for those coffee-table books about the special bond between sisters. We are sisters who have fights in restaurants and carry on, shouting invective in the middle of busy streets in those rare times that we are together alone. We spend years not talking and ignoring e‑mail messages and having terse...

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Sun over the Yardarm

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pp. 69-73

I learned to drink wine from my mother-in-law, Sydney. At the time, I was thirty-two, had been married to her son for three years, and was a new mother. From the moment Sydney and I became part of each other’s lives, she has always gone out of her way to find something in common with me. She tagged along when I went to mass even though she is Jewish. She took Tagalog lessons at New York University even though we spoke English to one another. This...

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The Foreign Girl’s Tour of Japanese Night Life

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pp. 74-79

Welcome to Japan! This is not the tour you’re going to plan to take when you first read this guidebook. You will plan on the tour of Japanese literary history or the tour of Japanese regional cuisine. These are the Japanese cultural elements that you talked about in your job interview. But you will take this tour, so plan ahead. Buy some cute tops and know that you start feeling the...

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Sunday at the Kilabu

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pp. 80-87

The rain played reveille on my tin roof as I awoke to another rainy-season Sunday in Ujindile. Tusker, my dog, tracked red mud through my shack until I shooed him back out the front door into the morning drizzle. I stood in the doorway and looked over the landscape that had gotten me out of bed every morning for the previous nine months: mist laying lightly over the peak...

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Paralyzed by Fear No More

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pp. 88-90

After I graduated from college, I was a White House intern in the Clinton administration. Yes, I was there when she was there, if you must ask, but no, I didn’t know her. I returned to the White House as a staff member in 2000. White House staffers, even low-level ones like me, had a “work hard, play hard” attitude. Some of my best girlfriends came to town one Saturday night and decided to put this slogan into practice with me...

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On Saying, “Cheers!” and Meaning It

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pp. 91-93

I had my very first drink in a bright blue, double-handled sippy cup. My mom’s wine cooler was, to my fourteen-year-old self, irresistibly sophisticated: bright pink, and packaged in a big frosted bottle with a screw top. It was a new fixture in a new home, one we had just moved into after my mom and stepfather divorced. I poured a quarter inch of the wine cooler into my little...

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A Word for the Boys

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pp. 94-97

After years of going undercover as a barmaid, countless late nights of fieldwork (followed by early morning hangovers), and too many salted peanuts to count, I have finally figured out what this country needs to end the thousands of sexual assaults that happen every day on our college campuses, in our towns, and in our homes. So I raise my glass and propose a toast—a toast...

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More Champagne, Darling?

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pp. 98-101

I don’t have any of those terrible/wonderful stories about my romantically tipsy parents, drinking sidecars, flirting dangerously and doing the Watusi while I watched, with nervous admiration, from the carpeted stairs. My mother thought that the greatest drink in the world would be a chocolate milkshake with a shot of Kahlua (and feel free to hold the Kahlua), and my father...

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The Good, the Bad, and the Bubbly

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pp. 102-115

The path to great champagne is littered with dead men, Françoise Duhamel reminds herself with a wicked smile as she fastens her seat belt and pulls it tight. She rarely flies, rarely leaves her vineyard, and already misses the wide stone terrace of her chateau where she stands every day, chin held high, dark eyes blazing over the estate her family has owned for more than a century. As the plane rolls ominously toward its inevitable...

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The Breakup

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pp. 116-128

I hadn’t seen Eliza in fifteen years when, on a brisk and sunny autumn morning, I bumped into her at the farmers’ market in Union Square. “Eliza!” I said, turning to the voice that had called my name. We hugged and exchanged pleasantries before deciding to walk together up Broadway. Suddenly, she asked if I’d been one of the women who’d been in the reading group—the final one, many years ago now, the one that got the big headline and picture...

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Imbibing as a Lady

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pp. 129-132

Mrs. Geiger was a different kind of mom but a mom all the same. Passing around the bong, she’d scold us to “Hold it in! Don’t waste!” even as we rolled around hacking on the Marimekko print sofa. It was okay to be wasted but not wasteful. This was an important distinction if you wanted to hang out in Mrs. Geiger’s house. Of course we all did, endlessly. Suzanne Geiger had the whole basement to herself—refrigerator, TV and Betamax...

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The Drink

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pp. 133-137

I have pretty much given up the idea that I will ever enjoy The Drink. That’s wine, beer, liquor, and frou-frou mixed drinks—all of it regretfully poured down the drain to swirl off in an amber flow to the party down the street, where perhaps people dwell who would enjoy it. I will never stumble into a drinking establishments and, floozy- like, throw my breasts over the bar to order...

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Drink and the Single Girl

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pp. 138-147

My parents spent a long time picking names for my sister and me. Their main criteria were that the names be traditional Gaelic ones and that they couldn’t be shortened or “butchered.” I got Niamh (Neeve), and my sister got Orlaith (Or-la). Niamh was the princess of Tír na nÓg (the Land of Eternal Youth) in Gaelic mythology, and Orlaith means “golden lady.” It seems only natural, then, that as a child, I had a princess...


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pp. 148-152

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By Way of Booze and Broccoli

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pp. 153-163

West When I think about bars, I think about my dad. And cows. I think about my dad surrounded by cows. It’s one of those tricks of the mind, the way memory presses odd images together and makes them inseparable. I see a glass of scotch—the peaty, single- malt kind, like Laphroaig or Glenlivet, the kind that requires, for those in the know, a certain subtle tightening of the back of the throat to momentarily disengage the...

Permission Slips

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p. 164-164

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Moms’ Club

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pp. 165-167

When we exchange our Prada bags for BabyBjörns, we also unwittingly check off the box that says “mothers don’t drink.” But just because we popped out a baby does not mean we still don’t want to pop the Veuve Clicquot! Why is it that as soon as we become mothers, we are expected to leave our cosmos at the bar and settle for reruns of Sex and the City? Are all mothers who crave a glass or two of wine regarded...

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The Park Slope Stroller Wars

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pp. 168-177

In the leafy, tree-lined neighborhood of Park Slope, a Brooklyn area known for its historic brownstones, socialist-style food coop, highly rated public schools, and child-obsessed parents, the stroller moms (and dads) like to have a cocktail at the bar every now and again with their kids in tow. Even Smartmom, a local blogger and newspaper columnist, liked to meet friends for a cosmopolitan while her daughter...

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One Not-So-Simple Question

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pp. 178-180

I grew up in suburban New Jersey in the 1970s, and like so many of us who turned eighteen when that was the legal drinking age, my life is replete with drunken, drooling exploits. Before I hit that magic age of drinking and voting, I often lied to my parents about my whereabouts, took the 82 bus across the George Washington Bridge, the A train downtown, and repeatedly flourished...


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pp. 181-188

E-ISBN-13: 9781611682137
E-ISBN-10: 1611682134
Print-ISBN-13: 9781584657590

Page Count: 204
Publication Year: 2011