Friday, August 26, 2005

Battling the AA

Hubby has started a new project in Philly and spent most his summer in AC'd boarding rooms, while I partied away on the French riviera. He did manage to come out for a 4-day weekend in July and it would've been perfect - if he'd only left work and stress at home! Disappointingly, he clinged to his laptop and cell phone far more than to his dearly missed wife.
On his last night, when we went out with another couple to a fancy party in Nice, he also made remarks concerning my alcohol consumption!!
Excuse me???
"Darling, all I'm saying is that you now drink far more than you eat, which is alarming. Maybe you should come back to the city a bit earlier and cleanse your body?"
I had never heard such silliness!
"Babe, you're just not used to the Euro way of drinking! It's a social thing, noone's an alcoholic here!"
He looked around the fancy, but drunk, crowd; clearly not pursuaded.

I shrugged it off. I was having the time of my life and wasn't gonna let hubby ruin it. But what he'd said kept coming up days afterwards, as I've learnt that when hubby says something - it's usually true. I reasoned; I can hold my liquer, since I've been drinking socially since I was 14, and I'm only drinking a lot now because it's summer, holiday and fun times, not beacuse I need it!!

I had only been back in NYC five days, when hubby sat down next to me in the living room one afternoon and told me he'd talked to an addictive disorders therapist.
"Oh yeah?" I said uninterestingly and kept flicking the pages of my Vogue.
"It's for you".. he said quietly.
"WHAT? Why? I don't have any issues!" I threw the magazine to the side, knocking out my martini.
We both stared in silence at my drink on the floor, being sucked up by the persian carpet, without either making an attempt to stop it.

So now, after several failed attempts to cry my way out of this and making promises, I've agreed with my worried and caring hubby to do counselling thrice a week. Hubby's only working in the city this week and obviously can't control what I drink or don't drink, but just seeing his worried eyes makes me feel guilty enough to admit.
I don't mind seeing a shrink, but to chat about my so called 'alcohol problem' three times a week with some AA sect leader is not my thing! This is a guy that likes repeating his mantra "the first step is admitting you have a problem".
Well, it won't happen, so we might as well talk about Stella McCartney's latest launch. (Him: "Stella who"? Nevermind.)

Ok Ok, I'm not blind to the truth, I know I enjoy a drink every now and then, but I don't drink more than the average person!? And even if I drank morning, noon, night all summer, I can obviously control it since I've cut down remarkably. Nowadays I only have one drink before dinner and then wine for dinner.
"What do you mean 'how many glasses'? A decent amount! No, I don't drink bottles". Sigh.

"It's also worrying that you know every ingredient for every drink on the planet, without ever having worked behind a bar", the annoying AA guy said on our first session today.
" Well, isn't it better I know what I'm drinking? I'm not some alley alcie downing nail polish remover!"

And then he moves on to drugs. Sigh. Might as well be honest.
"I did ecstacy when I was a kid, just a few times, but I'm not all techno, so it wasn't for me. Coke occasions I can count on one hand, I just hallucinate, when I'd rather just have a buzz, and I didn't lose weight either! How's that for false marketing? And in my teens I realized pot makes you ugly, so that's out of the question".

"How about prescribed drugs?" he said and tilted his head á la shrink.
Damn, how could I not have seen that one coming? Turns out hubby had found my stash of valium, prozac, xanex etc. and told on me.
"I object, that doesn't count! If they're prescribed I obviously need them, so it's not drugs per say!"

Ugh. This was only session One. God, I need a drink, and after this ordeal I deserve it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

L'été du champagne

Ta-daaaa, I'm baack!
Tanned and lovely, straight from the French Riviera. I've spent six whole weeks in and around Nice, Cannes and Monaco. My best friend from the Swizz boarding school has a gorgeous summer residence and yacht in Monaco. It felt like re-living the old days, when I was 18, single, with dad's credit cards and had the world at my feet.

One night at the casino of Monaco I accidentally knocked the ash of my cigaratte on - Prince Albert. I was slightly tipsy and immideately went to clean it off, like any mother, by licking on a serviette and rubbing it against his white linen pants. This was one of my dumber moves, as his body guards grabbed each of my arms and dragged me off. They walked off before I could explain myself. Humiliated I began to walk off when the local lady Isadora, married to a tennis champion, stopped me. She'd seen the whole thing and thought it was the funniest thing ever and invited me over to join her party of ten. At the table she re-told the story and the group applauded.
"That was purrrfect, we can't stand that man", one of the fancy men said and kissed my hand. "This must be celebrated, what does the lady wish to toast in?"
I spotted a bottle of my favorite champagne, 1988 La Grande Dame Rosé, in the bar. The same kind I had imported and served at my wedding. I felt cheeky, the price tag was half my car, but the man nodded and didn't seem to take notice of such things.

Hours later I was stumbling out of the casino, with Jean-Marie trying to steady my steps. I wasn't drunk enough to ignore the fact that with this walking style I'd ruin my new Manolos, so I let JM carry them. He smiled.
"What? I'd much rather ruin the soles of my feet!"
He pointed to the harbour and a yacht that was unlike all the others.
"As you can tell I'm also a fan of good champagne", he said and refered to the champagne colored ship and its' name 'Bollinger'.
With one hand on the lower of my back (which makes me all tingly!!) he began leading me towards the yacht. Alarms went off in my head.
"Uh-oh", I became aware that I'd said that out loud and I turned to the man on my side; "Jean-Marie, I'm a married woman"...
"I don't think anyone could've missed that", he said a bit annoyed and pointed to the rock on my hand. "Look, this is simple, he's not here with you, there must be a reason. And I won't do anything you don't want to".
His 'soothing' words made sense to me (at the time). Onboard I closely inspected every inch and was in awe of his taste in art and design. It's a well-known fact that champagne makes me a little randy, and when JM approached me with oysters and a bottle of Bollinger I began toying with the thought of letting myself go, just this once!?
I've been married over a year, without even having kissed another man, but I'd never felt as attracted to anyone as I suddenly did to JM. It was a combination of the language, the smell of the Mediterranean, his olive-colored skin and the champagne, that finally made me succumb.
We kissed passionately under the full moon, but the romantic scene was ruined. He smelled of sweat and seafood, and all I could taste was cigarettes. For a second I wondered if I was in fact licking an ashtray. When he whispered what he wished to do with me in french, all I could think about was hubby and how his french dialect was nicer. It took me two seconds to go from full-on to turned-off, but I didn't even have time to excuse myself before I ran off to the stern and threw up.
"Must be the champagne", I said - knowing it wasn't.
Jean-Marie arranged a car to take me home and motioned 'call me' as I sped off. I found his business card in my purse and threw it out the window. Ha, I should've known, his last name was Bollinger!