Wine gets a bad rap sometimes for being the drink of sadness. I mean, even Donna thinks it is:
While champagne is the drink of toasts, un-sparkling wine is often seen in the media tucked into the hands of sad people. And not just any sad people. Wine is the beverage of choice for shitty sad people whose problems are trivial. Your husband leaves you, you hit the tequila bottle. You're a single girl whose best friend is getting married, oh look, there's some wine.
I'd be a hypocrite if I said I never got sad on account of some wine. After all, isn't sadness a feeling? But I do wonder about how somewhere along the line we went from Bacchus to bereavement (ahem, Nobel lit committee, that was some fine alliteration). I imagine the way it happened was something like this:
INT. 1930s OFFICE FULL OF IMPORTANT MEN WITH IMPORTANT SUITS - DAY
The men are important. They have coffees and papers and things. The most important one smokes a cigar and is named JOHN.
See here, gents, we've got to figure out a way to
show sadness in the talkies without sacrificing
profits from our shares in Big Alcohol.
What if all the sad people in movies are immigrants!
Make the only people who get sad be nuns!
No, no, no! These are all terrible ideas.
Can't anyone come up with something good?
A young go-getter by the name of OLIVER, all the way at the end of the table is like, ummm. Slowly, everyone turns. They're like, how did you get in here?
How did you get in here, chimney sweep?
Please sir. I have an idea.
Hubbub. How could this guy have an idea?
Alright, speak it out.
Well, we all hate Europe, right? And
the US will never make any good wine.
What say we make wine the drink of
Silence. Everyone turns to John.
Great scot, he's done it!
And that man grew up to be... Barack Obama.
I've been thinking a lot about when the media tells us to be sad, especially with many of my friends getting engaged and finding their careers start to take off. Women especially are depicted in television and film as jealous wrecks when their friends or siblings hit milestones before them. So many of us (I'm so guilty) have built solid Twitter timelines off of tired jokes about how pathetic we are compared to others. I find that the more I self-deprecate on Twitter, the more stars I get. And while that seems like a small thing, since I began tweeting regularly, I have become a less confident person. The positive reinforcement to my negativity can't be helping.
But back to sadness. Back to wine! I know I'm supposed to feel behind when a friend finds success, but that doesn't really have a negative impact on me. What I mean isn't that I don't feel an occasional twinge of jealousy, but rather that I feel behind in life pretty much all the time. I don't need a reminder! A friend finding happiness doesn't change the fact that I haven't. If anything, it's probably a good thing, as happy people feel very obligated to listen to their pals whine. Plus, when two people get engaged and at least one is your friend, they're not taking anyone off the market. If you aren't a total shit head, that dude was already off the market for you. I never expected to marry any of my friends' fiancees. Nor was I gunning for a promotion at a law firm. When a fellow comedy writer gets good news, at some point or another I might feel a little antsier than usual, but I find it encouraging when talented, hardworking people succeed, so I'll come down from my jealous tizzy pretty quickly. I find it delightful when people I love find love.
So next time you give me your good news and I pour a glass of wine, don't feel bad. Know that I'm a borderline alcoholic all the time, not just when good things are happening for you.
Poor Anne Wells. Probably off to pour herself a big glass of Gewurztraminer.