I still remember my first dirty martini. At the ripe young age of 24, on a business trip with my boss, in the weirdest restaurant in the world (Thirteen Coins), or at least Seattle. Celebrating some good news and thinking that being on a business trip must mean I’m terribly grown up, I ordered the most grown-up-sounding drink I could think of – the dirty martini – without understanding what was in it or how to order it.
It was the singular most horrendous thing I’d ever tasted. On my untrained palate, it fell somewhere between turpentine and lima beans on the yuck scale. But friends, I persevered. I did a little reading. I sought guidance from one of my most trusted boozehound friends (hello, Matt G!), who guided me through the whole up, shakenand dry stuff. I splurged on good vodka and vermouth and started tinkering at home.
Why, some of you may be asking, would I put so much effort into trying to salvage what I found to be an undrinkable drink? Because I love green olives with every fiber of my being. Because they sound cool to order. Because I can walk from the bar to the bathroom with a full martini and still have at least a teaspoon left after the rest has sloshed over the top. Okay, I don’t really have a good answer. Other than I believed in the potential for it to become a beloved favorite, and it was a slice of a lifestyle in which I wanted to participate.
A Maybe Baby, Maybe Not follower once asked if I’ve spent much time around children, referring to them as “an acquired taste” for some. Others have suggested in the past that I spend time with children to figure this thing out, but I’m ashamed to admit I brushed these suggestions off because I was afraid it would give me a false reading. We’ve all gotten the “I hate other people’s kids too!” and “It’s different when they’re yours!” lines from parents, so the thought of chillin’ with a pack of random kids didn’t seem like it would do much for me. But at a party last month, a new mother who told me she’d always been annoyed by children in the past now found even other people’s kids to be completely cool and adorable and hilarious. She was surprised by the transformation, and it made me wonder if my follower was right about this whole “kids as an acquired taste” thing.
It’s probably no secret by now that I’m awful with kids, and haven’t yet acquired the taste needed to find their laughter and “Mom, look at me!” antics charming. Are my feelings about other people’s kids akin to that first sip of a dirty martini? Will my desire to enjoy them be enough to propel me into finding a way to make it work? Because this too is a slice of life I want to relish. Everyone else seems to be having a hell of a lot of fun with it. And I know the final end result of someday having adult children is something I really want. I just don’t know if the 20-plus years of effort before that will be worth it if this acquired taste thing doesn’t pan out.
It’s not too dramatic to say that I couldn’t imagine my life right now without dirty martinis. Drew even purchased this Sur la Tab ornament for me this year so I could gaze lovingly at it on the tree in lieu of drinking them every night (hint?). I’m glad I saw the potential joy this classy drink would bring to my life and fought through my initial emotions. Could I be saying the same thing about kids 10 years from now?
Better go slam a few dirties now, just in case.
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