The Monster at the Open Bar


It’s the holiday party season. This morning I am remembering the way I used to behave at parties when I was still a drinker. My husband called it the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde syndrome, but it was actually more of a four part social disintegration. It went like this:


  • One: I’d arrive at a party having drunk a glass or two of wine while I was getting ready. I was in good shape, well quaffed and polite. I acted like everybody else, except I made a beeline for the open bar.


  • Two: I’d mingle with other party guests, make plans, tell stories and begin (as wines three, four, five and six set in) to be just a little bit garrulous. I’d make many trips to the bathroom to gather my courage and reset my lipstick, eat nothing and start to unravel.


  •  Three: I’d begin to entertain the guests with a brazenness and outrageousness that was charming if slightly alarming (like watching a high-wire act or a car crash without injuries). I was genuinely hilarious and loveable although at this stage my husband would give me cautionary looks from across the room and I’d ignore him. The hostess might take me aside. I might spill a drink or stagger, my lipstick was thick as treacle.  At this stage, I’d always notice (fabricate?) a disparaging look or a social slight and something would begin to fester.


  • Four: I’d pick a fight or break a glass or fall down or be unbearably rude. I’d be furious with my husband. I’d be suddenly exhausted and miserable and sitting isolated on a chair wanting to go home. I’d stare into space. Or I’d fall asleep.


And you wonder why I’m not an A-Lister any more…


Lest the most recent posts led you to believe I am cozy in my thoughts of sugar plums and filled stockings, I’d like to remind you that the snakes in my head have not gone away entirely. I am still the monster at the open bar, still Dr. Jekyll’s Mr. Hyde. It’s just that these days I try to keep my dark side in check. Fondly, if the truth be told – like an eccentric uncle who must be explained – the monster at the open bar is the devil I know and I’m not afraid…

Should I be?


Today I’m not drinking because I am keeping the monster at bay.

How come you’re not drinking?