I’m about to launch a new project/series of posts dealing with the theology of booze, and I’ve been doing lots of research—reading, I mean, not drinking. Though I’ve been doing my share of that, too.
Asked for his thoughts on “virtuous drinking,” Marshall responds:
“Virtuous drinking involves male friendship, plain and simple. It’s usually a time for men to remove themselves from the company of women that they love and sit together around a fire pit, in the darkness, or on the back porch. Some of the most meaningful conversations that I have had with my father, my brother, and my friends have been over a Scotch. Real relationships are forged. It’s a beautiful thing.”
I’ll never, ever, ever get this sort of homosociality. I know that other people feel that way, but I just don’t. It must be some kind of innate orientation that I just flat-out don’t have. I like fire pits and back porches, and I like male friendship. But I’ve done enough sex-segregated activities—spent enough time in locker rooms, in sports camps, etc.—to state with confidence that just about everything worth doing is better when there are women around. Drinking maybe most of all.
We’re coming up on the 4th anniversary of the day my mom died. I’ll always remember the drink I shared with my grandmother that afternoon. I had just lost my mother; she had just lost her only daughter. We were stranded in our bewilderment, both of us entirely without words. But when I offered to drive her to the liquor store for some bourbon, her face lit up in appreciation. It was all I could do at that moment, but it meant something. Arguably, it meant everything.
So Marshall is absolutely right that alcohol forges bonds. What I don’t get is why he doesn’t want to forge those relationships with the women in his life; why he needs a space that excludes the women he loves.