Men are routinely stupid: why white wine gets the Heisman
- Mike Willison
Men are, most assuredly, pretty ridiculous. We make bold statements, wild protestations, and haughty, puffed-up pectoral peacockings when challenged, yet willow into teary puddles of emotional melancholy over the slide of our fantasy baseball team in the daily standings. We believe that we are being watched. We think that everyone cares what we are up to and that there is some greater good we are upholding by our actions. For whatever reason, the behaviors of men, so we believe, are responsible for the reputation of Man.
Someone that knows more about anthropology than I will probably confirm this right away, but I believe that if you were to compare men and women to wild animals, the men would be pretty close to the genuine article; Maybe even un-evolved or dis-evolved. Our nature as hunter-gatherers remains somewhat unchanged in spite of the world advancing around us. Men have a need to look as if we have caught our food and drink in a trap made out household items and semi-precious poisonous gems we dug up in the back yard. We are dirty and have gilded and horned helmets. We throw the javelin. Our drinking pinkies have been forced up through a series of cruel and unusual experiments that have been foisted upon us by the publishers of Harper's Bazaar and makers of cream colored paper. We tape our pinkies down or have them broken in ritual ceremonies. The color of blood satisfies us, and our drink must be a reflection of this.
Maybe more important than even all of this is that we brutish men like to be right all of the time about everything. With wine, we are only comfortable remembering a small number of things about a minute couple of things only, and everything else is sissy juice. Big red wines look like blood and are obvious, chewy, imposing and good with steak when consumed young, and I am comfortable saying things like, "Cab" at restaurants without the emasculating Sommelier saying something like, "it's called MOO-ler TER-gow." Wild animals.
- Carrie Kalscheuer
The evolution of the American palate has much to do with gender. Alcohol, in particular, has some very deep social roots. As soon as alcohol becomes a part of the picture, whether you were a law-abiding 21 years old before your first drink, or a teenage heathen like me, there's no denying the immediate division between the sexes and their choice of beverage. I, and all of my J-Crew-clad girlfriends, drank lemonade-flavored wine coolers. My boyfriend on the other hand, drank beer and whiskey. Neither of his choices was made because he liked the taste.
It’s sort of an early trial-by-fire for the palate. Things we would probably ease into naturally (like going from tea to coffee or from cheddar to Roquefort) are thrust upon men earlier, setting the stage for rougher, heartier alcohol preferences, and making a man’s journey into the wine world a bit backwards. Women, on the other hand, tend to start with the sweeter styles, move into light white territory, then ease into the big, burly Shirazes of Australia.
Although the impetus is the same, the reasons that men shy away from white wines becomes two-pronged: whites are more closely associated with what women drink (oh no!), and their manly palates are used to the harder stuff. And it is unfortunate- nay, frustrating- as some of the best wines in the world are white. Riesling, for example (which, to further drive home the point is often done in a sweet style) is largely considered to be the most noble of the noble grapes.
Theories aside, the persistence of the white wine stigma is annoying. Trust me, men- your attractiveness is not determined by the color of the wine in your glass. If you are drinking wine, I view you as cultured, sophisticated. And if you are drinking white wine, I view you as self-assured, unfazed by ridiculous social norms and ultimately, sexy.