Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Ask the Bartender : Advice Column #6

(the last column was split in half and used for two different weeks, so this one is number 6. Fancy that!)

Hey Bartender!

Recently I moved to a city where my long distance lover lives. I was planning on moving here before we got involved, so I don't feel at all strange about the move. Soon (days) after moving to this lovely little town, we went hiking - I fell and fractured my tail bone. Since fracturing my tail bone I've been totally shacked up with my lover and it's basically like we're living together even though I have a house of my own here. Do you think this bizarre long stretch of no-sex but lots of togetherness is gonna have any long term repercussions on the relationship? We hadn't intended on living together so soon, or before I had established myself in this town and found my own life here.

Sorry to hear about your butt.

Long distance relationships are a certain type of high maintenance love, and physically dependent relationships are another. There's transition to consider. How does he react to your needing him? How does it make you feel to need him? If you've maintained a long distance affair, and assert that you didn't move there for him, I can only infer that you are both very independent, perhaps stubbornly so. You want to make sure that this situation heals stronger than your bones, and doesn't become a permanent dynamic. I would have three concerns about the future of your relationship based upon your busted bones and this current shacked up situation. Also, I have three beer suggestions for your woes.

First, does he feel like you're invading his space, life, and apartment? Often when some one's lover moves to town, they both need some space to let their relationship adjust. This is a lot for both of you to handle- you didn't just come to town- an accident made him your nurse too. Catastrophic! You should watch out for signs of him needing alone time, or finding little things to be annoyed by. If you both decided not to live together, stick to that plan. If you can go back to your house for a few days at a time, do it. He can come over if you need him to. You should move in with each other out of delight, not necessity.

For the initial congestion and confusion, I recommend a glass of Monk's Flemish Sour Red Ale. Some love it, some hate it, but it'll make your mouth pucker in the most throat warming way. It's contract brewed by van Steenberge in Belgium for Monk's cafe in Philly; the Old Bruin style Flemish is available occasionally for retail. Sours use a strain of bacteria to make an oaky-fruit taste that makes your mouth water. It goes against most brewing sense to let any bacteria into a beer - just like letting your lover move in without getting it on goes against common sense- but when done right, it's a delicious brew that your tongue will lust after.

Second, you must be freaking out to have come all this way and be hobbled by a hiking accident! Embrace your own feelings of dismay too! Don't jump ship and move back home, or make an unbreakable pattern of being needy- but remember how independent you were! All the other things you moved to that town for - keep those goals in mind. It sucks to be ready to start your life somewhere a feel a lack of agency. That frustration cannot be ignored, or it'll paint the future of your relationship with hostility.

For this sequence of disaster, I'm recommending Heavy Sea's Loose Canon IPA from Clipper City brewing company in Baltimore, MD. Why? You need something bitter to ground you, something strong to heal you, and a bit of alcohol to knock the edge off the pain. Loose canon is triple hopped, 7.25%, and the smell alone will smack you out of self pity and into action.

Third, if your love becomes a caretaker scenario, you might lose some vital sparks. (No, that was NOT a lead in to sparks soda, which I would never suggest.) Intimacy isn't about sex alone. Find ways to remind him that you are his lover, not his ward. Remember all those long nights on the phone from far away? Keep up the talk that made you want to move there. Maybe you can't booty shake for a while, but you can get your life started. And it's nice that he's there to help you. If he's worth it, he'll be supportive. You're worth the wait.

While you're waiting, I'm going to recommend the sweetest drunk I know, a little lady called Tripel Karmeliet. Split a small magnum of this three grain Belgian golden;your skin will tingle, eyes glisten, and heart throb. It has an aftertaste of vanilla - good for the smooching- and for keeping your heart healthier than that shattered butt of yours. He'll be too drunk to make it happen even if you could, but you'll both get that cooing happy delirium where you just want to declare your love over and over again.

Hey Bartender!

I've been involved in a poly-amorous relationship with my boyfriend for a long while. In this time, he's never violated the boundaries of our relationship, and the women he's been with have also been poly, so there's never been a problem. Recently he's started dating a woman who is monogamous. Obviously he isn't. This doesn't violate our relationship at all, but as their relationship gets more serious, I worry that he's terribly violating their relationship by being with me. Should I say something on her behalf to him? Should I do something? What, most importantly, should I be drinking? How about a round for all the love triangle?

I must say that at best, I've only see poly-relationships claim an ideal, and hurt people's feelings. But generally, I can't say much more about monogamous lovers. Let's make this answer quick, as I hear last call ringing in the final round. He hasn't violated the terms of your relationship yet because your terms are so loose that he can't violate them. Now he's found the one way to wreck the good thing you have going, by finding someone who can't share, and trying to push her into a sharing situation. Who knows what he's attempting to pull off here. Not me, not you, not her. The bottom of any glass will not give you the answers you need, but I'd say this dude isn't worth the contemplation.

He gets a tall glass of ice water, and that's me being nice. He needs to learn to love well, not plentifully. You shouldn't be made to feel like the thing gone wrong- he is. What is he thinking? Water. With ICE. And you have every right to talk to her, buy her a drink, see what she wants. This involves you too.

She gets a glass of Weyerbacher's blithering idiot barley wine, straight from Easton, PA. She's a fool not to see this coming, and perhaps a drunken evening with a 11 percent malty barley wine will do her well. If she decides this dude is worth the heartbreak (they never are, honey), and she thinks she can make him into a one-girl man, here's a strong one. Good luck. I hope this beer isn't the most sophisticated thing in her life, but I'm going to bet it will be.

You? You - who are concerned about the feelings of the woman who may steal away the man you spent years loving? The house owes you a round. I want you to pick a champagne cocktail. Something that will toast to the dawn of a new day, a man who will respect the limits of love and of his lovers, and a sweetness to claim every morning after.
Choose something simple though, like a Bellini -champagne and peach puree- two ingredients who work well together, and taste like happiness unfettered by rules, formulas, or recipes for disaster.

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