2.19.2008

Freebird

Back in my days as a part-time cocktail waitress, I prided myself on being able to tell a lot about a woman based on the type of drink she ordered and even developed a rudimentary personality profile on my findings. From the down-and-dirty girls (blow job and jello shots) to the divas (champagne and sparkling wines), my adult beverage scale seemed to be a fairly accurate test of a woman’s general disposition.

As a red wine drinker with an eye towards fanciful martinis, I tended to have the most fun at the expense of one particular group of women--the ones who landed on the opposite end of the adult beverage spectrum-- Miller Light girls.

Now before you go and get all huffy, let me clarify. I don’t have anything against light beer. However when you work in an Irish pub with the largest draft and import selection in town, you can’t help but wonder why a grown woman couldn’t find anything better to savor than bottled Miller Light. For me, there are few ‘absolutes’ in this world, and this was one of them.

But as I threw back a couple drinks at a local bar 2pm last Tuesday with my landlord and a some of his buddies, it suddenly occurred to me I no longer had this cultural punching bag to contemplate and despise. I could no longer walk into any bar and pick out the Miller Light girl because we don’t have Miller Light in Germany. And to be frank, I don’t know if there is a German equivalent. For all I knew, I could have been drinking it—a revelation that caused me to switch to Vodka Red Bull on my next round.

It may sound silly, but these thoughts put me in little bit of a funk. It was bad enough I didn’t understand the conversation buzzing around me or couldn’t sing along to some really bad drinking songs. Here in Germany, my entire cultural compass is off-kilter.

Before we moved, I studied up on the stages of culture shock so I could identify where I was in the process. And although I can’t point to how I feel on any venn diagram, I will say this: I never thought I’d miss the sight of a woman with a glowing, disposable lighter in one hand and a Miller Light in the other, singing her heart out to every word to Freebird.

But I do.



Ed.not: Yes, I stand corrected. I spelled Miller Lite wrong. But I've decided to leave it because the error is actually a mark of my good taste. TEASING, June! ;-)

32 comments:

Danie said...

I understand this place. Well, not really. But I understand being in this place. You'll have a whole new scale in no time...one you won't be able to bring home with you.

PS...weird karma yesterday with our identical blog post titles. I thought you had been reviewed again!

G in Berlin said...

Now I feel totally unprepared because I have no idea what culture shock is: I am going to say hello and run off to google it now!

Me said...

LOL That is a problem.....but if you ever see a woman in Germany drink a tiny little bottle with a funky face on it that's called "Kleiner Feigling" , you found your Miller Light Girl. :)

June said...

OK...first off its Miller Lite :o) not Light.

And second of all hey girl, I AM a Miller Lite girl...well I use to be; although when I do drink beer, its my beer of choice.

I of course, prefer my extra dirty martini's with extra olives.. ;o)

Diane Mandy said...

danie - promise? really?

g- I'd advise you NOT to read up on it. Your better off.

me- Kleiner Feigling, eh? Phew! That wasn't what I was drinking.

June- OMG You're right! Miller LITE! Yeesh-that was such a Miller Light girl thing f to do! ;-) You can tell I know nothing about the stuff. But I think I'll let the spelling error stand as a tribute to you, lady--You're definitely an exception to the rule.

Anonymous said...

Can I defend Miller Lite girls? I like lots of other drinks, including red wine and various martinis, usually of the sweeter variety though. And I'm fine with a g&t, but when it comes to beer, being born and raised in Milwaukee has established that Miller Lite is the only choice for me. My friends have found this hilarious -- one St. Pat's there was Guiness for a dollar, but I stuck with my Miller Lite for $3.50. I'm a cheaper date the other 364 days of the year though! I choose ML when I don't feel like choosing. It's easy, cheap and quite tasty, plus light, which is essential since I'm trying to avoid packing on any more pounds (or kilos for you now). But I don't know the words to Freebird, and have trouble remembering when exactly I last saw a lighter -- maybe for candles on a bday cake at work?

Diane Mandy said...

Anonymous - No need to apologize. I have a few female friend who also drink Miller Lite, just never around me. And there is this deep, dark, family secret that my father (diabetic) drinks Mich Ultra. I suppose that can be justified much like marijuana for medical purposes. Just *please* don't tell me you also like Old Milwaukie, because I might just have to draw the line.

kenju said...

I actually prefer Miller Lite or Natural Light to most other beers. I was once castigated in Fort Lauderdale by a friend of mr. kenju's for that. We were in a bar that served beer from all over the world - and I ordered Miller. He about died right there.

At other times, I am a red wine drinker, or margaritas, or bloody marys. What does that say about me?

Diane Mandy said...

Kenju--We all dabble in different drinks depending on our mood, but tell me what's the drink you typically order? What's the first thing that comes to mind?

Danie said...

Diet Pepsi.

Dan-E said...

i'm opposed to light beer on principle but i can understand how some women might want to stick to miller lite (or bud, amstel, keystone, whatever) even though there are other options available.

however, if i'm at a place with a pretty good beer selection and a buddy orders a light beer, i revoke his man card.

Cheryl said...

Oh I can't imagine how the culture shock must feel. Hang in there. You'll figure out the German Miller Lite girls.

So I am a red wine/rum and diet coke/vodka girl. For shots I like SoCo Lime.

What does that say about me?

The Grunt said...

I don't drink but I found this post to be very funny because I know what you mean.

Diane Mandy said...

danie-sorry! THe scale doesn't include any nonalcoholic drinks.

dan-e - You disappoint me, Dan. Of all the bloggers, I expected YOU to back me up on the Miller Lite thing. Oh the tragedy!

Cheryl- depends which you prefer.Women who prefer to drink red wine can be described in two words: Simple sophistication. Deep thinking and serious, this group of women tend to commit themselves wholly and with great certainty to life's endeavors whether it be mountain biking, volunteering, or staying at home with the kids. Women who drink their liquors more traditionally with standard preps such as soda, tonic, or on the rocks, tend to be straight shooters and tell it like it is. Like the drink of choice, these women like their lives and men free from complication or entanglements. So, which are you?

Grunt- FInally, SOMEONE who understands. YEY!

Sizzle said...

I can understand feeling a bit of a culture shock there. Totally.

What's your assessment of a girl who drinks whiskey and cokes? ;)

Diane Mandy said...

Sizzle: Whiskey and Coke? I'm impressed!

Women who drink hard liquors with simple preps like coke enjoy a no-nonsense and honest approach in life. Like their drink of choice, these women want both their lives (and men) free from unnecessary complication and entanglements.

egan said...

Isn't something like Grolsch or Heineken almost the same as Miller Light? They seem heavily watered down and pretty much taste like ass.

Did you really study culture shock before you left? I find that very telling about you. Mind if I stereotype you? Kidding.

Dan-E said...

i'm not saying i necessarily condone drinking miller lite, i just understand how some people might refuse to deviate from what they know.

egan's right. grolsch and heineken is pretty much "miller lite" with a european accent.

Lynda said...

I can remember sitting in my first real german pub with my real german husband and trying to order a glass of dry white wine... he tried to dissuade me... I wish I had listened.. since then I drink Kolsch or Pils... and funny thing is I really only drink beer in Germany! Great post, very funny. You certainly stirred up a hornets nest!

Liza S. said...

Ahh I remember that post of yours, I read through it when I was reading through your archives! (which I'm still working on, by the way ;))

Diane Mandy said...

Egan - Please do. I am a walking sterotype. The Culture class was required by my husband's company before we moved.

Dan-e - Still not a stong enough defence, dear.

Lynda - A hornet's nest, indeed! That's what I get for trying to be funny.

Liza- Be careful with those archives! I can't make heads or tales of some of the old posts.

Diane Mandy said...

People, you do realize I was exaggerating for dramatic effect?

V-Grrrl said...

I hate shopping here because I don't know any of the labels and I've feel completely disoriented. Is this a good label or not? Is this a good value? Do they sell this somewhere else? How do the sizes run? It's amazing how big an issue that's been for me. I only shop under duress.

Anonymous said...

You're right -- I dumped Old Milwaukee when I was about 23 and haven't looked back.

So, okay, major beer list, and I feel like people will make fun of me if I order ML. What do I drink? If I choose a woodchuck cider, what does that say about me? Or what if I choose a fruit-flavored Belgian beer (probably raspberry, but I like apricot, cherry and some of the others too)? What does that one say? Those would be my top 2 choices (though now that I know Grolsch is the ML equivalent, maybe I can order that to sound cooler!).

Diane Mandy said...

I think woodchuck and fruit-flavored beers would be a WONDERFUL alternative. Wonderful!

utenzi said...

On the other hand, Miller Lite has had some great television commercials over the years. Unfortunate that it tastes so bad.

egan said...

I think it's funny when you tease. I think it's even better that you use the word "tease". I think you're pretty swell.

Diane Mandy said...

TEASE!

LZ Blogger said...

Diane ~ Who would suspect that I would actually increase my level of knowledge by reading this particular post? NO… not by finding out that there is actually a drink called “Blow Job”, but rather, I refer to the term Venn diagram. I had no idea what you were referring to, but then I thought it must mean something? I guess the fact that it wasn’t capitalized may have thrown me off the track.

I (at first) thought you must have meant vain diagram. But then after more careful research, I see that there really is a things called Venn diagrams which are according to Wikipedia: Venn diagrams are illustrations used in the branch of mathematics known as set theory. Invented in 1881 by John Venn, they show all of the possible mathematical or logical relationships between sets (groups of things).

These Venn diagrams normally consist of overlapping circles. For instance, in a two set Venn diagram, one circle may represent all things that are liquid at room temperature, while another circle may represent the set of all chemical elements. The overlapping area (intersection) would then represent things that are both liquid at room temperature and elements, e.g. mercury. Other shapes can be employed and this is necessary for more than three sets.

Edwards' Venn diagrams are topologically equivalent to diagrams devised by Branko Gr├╝nbaum which were based around intersecting polygons with increasing numbers of sides. They are also 2-dimensional representations of hypercubes.

Smith devised similar n-set diagrams using sine curves with equations y=sin(2ix)/2i, 0≤i≤n-2.

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (a.k.a. Lewis Carroll) devised a five set diagram.

All of this must have been thought of after I graduated from college! (te he!) Of course I always thought that “Algebra II” was called that ONLY because it took two times to get through it with a passing grade. (At least that was my experience.) Thanks for the continuing education here! Actually I have seen many of those Venn diagrams over the years, but never really knew (or maybe cared) what they were actually called.

Last week I was in a New York pub which had over 40 beers on tap. I had one I had only heard of once before, but had never actually tasted. It was called “Arrogant Bastard Ale.” and although I will say it was “unique”, that is about all I would give it. It was the bitterest ale I have ever tasted. They said it was from somewhere around San Diego, CA. and as it turned out they were right. I found out that it is brewed in Escondido, California at a place called Stone Brewing Company. According to the Beer advocate website it gets an “A”. Just goes to show what I know… I didn’t even know what a Venn diagram was and with my short term memory issues, I may have already forgotten!
Give me a “XXXX Gold” from Brisbane, QLD, AUS any time!
~ jb///

Diane Mandy said...

LZ- Ain't no question YOU'RE NO Millier Lite girl. ;-) Learned about Venn Diagrams during my days at a computer software company, but would very much like to forget them!

Cheryl said...

Actually, I'm kind of a mixture of the two! Ha!

ms chica said...

Uh yeah, (coughs uncomfortably) my name is Ms Chica and I am a beer snob. There is heavily advertised light beer favored in this city. I won't mention it by name so as not to offend the other readers...after all, we all like what we like, but my husband, and I might be two out of the three occupants of this county who don't consume it.

Did I exceed the number of commas allowed in a single comment?