Wednesday, February 22, 2006

French Martinis

1 1/2 oz vodka
1/4 oz Chambord® raspberry liqueur
1/4 oz fresh pineapple juice
1 twist lemon peel

I drank my first French martini at a cool, dark lounge called Merc Bar on a night when several of my friends, who were not the cool, dark lounge sorts of people, wanted to people-watch. Merc Bar was fancy. Merc Bar was expensive. Merc Bar was – gasp! – downtown. I went along under their guise of people-watching, but really I was salivating for this place. All I had heard for months from those in the know was how fabulous it was, how New York. And I too am New York. (And fabulous, I like to think.) So we would be a perfect match.

The man I was dating at the time was having a hard time financially, so it was definitely not the sort of place he would be taking me on a normal night out. His masculinity had finally broken through and after a period (quite a long period, I might add) of me paying whenever we went out if I wanted to enjoy his company at the same time, he refused to take me up on those offers anymore. But tonight was different; someone in the group must have browbeaten him enough to get him to go, so off we went.

It was marvelous. It was, in fact, cool, and it was, in fact, dark. The walls were upholstered in black leather. The music was chill ambient. The surgically-enhanced blondes were gunning for the attention of wealthy men old enough to be their fathers or, in one case, grandfather. Two men walked in together wearing their new millennium shiny club shirts, sat at a table opposite each other and didn’t speak a word for half an hour. They were too busy scoping for chicks. They left when no one threw their panties at them – too young and not rich enough, I suppose. I sipped my first French martini and watched this scene unfold in glee. This was a Saturday night and that was why the freaks were out. I knew that on a weeknight, when the gold diggers were home resting up and the people who enjoyed atmosphere were out and about, this would be the perfect place for me.

Three years passed before I had another French martini or visited Merc Bar again. I was on what has turned out to be my last first date with a man who was (and still is) captivating. It was a Monday night at the end of July. We had lingered so long over dinner that the restaurant closed around us, and Merc Bar was mere steps away. I remembered the ambiance. I remembered the French martinis. I didn’t want the night to end yet, so I suggested we stop for one or two.

Merc Bar on a Monday night is perfection, as I thought it would be. No fake boobs, no posers, no borderline-pedophiles. Just couples like us quietly chatting. We sat on a low couch with candles flickering on the table in front of us and enjoyed a French martini. We talked about our families. We enjoyed a second French martini. We talked about true love, love at first sight, soul mates. I knew what he drove without him telling me, and told him so. (He just struck me as a black truck kind of guy.) We talked and laughed and talked and laughed and we both knew, over three French martinis, that this was a very special first date. And the bar closed around us.

We finished our drinks and walked out of the bar, slowly through the tiled outdoor walkway towards the parking garage. It was drizzling, another treat in the desert on a hot July night. We sat on a bench in the rain, him slightly behind me with a leg around me, me leaning back onto his chest. We talked a bit more, then I turned my head back towards him, and he leaned forward, and before we knew it we were sharing our first kiss. A kiss in the rain tasting of raspberry.

A year and a half later, he is my first kiss of every day and my last kiss of every night. Thank you, French martinis.


Blogger Christophe said...

That sounds like an incredibly romantic event. The way you write, you should almost be a romance novel author! Very detailed and I got a very good picture of your amazing night.

I also want a martini now, thanks ;)

Well, great post and keep enjoying those martinis.

8:32 PM  
Blogger liberalbanana said...

What a beautiful story! You're a really great writer. I can't wait to read more!

11:39 AM  
Blogger Pieces said...

Beautiful! You have painted such a vivid picture, I almost feel like it is my memory instead of yours.

I believe I will have my first French martini this weekend.

8:50 AM  

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