The fine exchange
_________________________________ summer, 2011 a timeless sentiment
Last night I attended a “Venetian Night” party at a pal’s home. He drew an animated crowd; mostly women — o those lucky fellows. ’Twas a mixture of artists and biz pros, and I-just-like-life folks.
And I, a mixture of all the above – also a lady who at times must assert that part of her — needed a wine glass refill. There was no gent to catch that, so I proceeded to the kitchen, where the wine was. I noticed an unopened bottle of red.
I sited a fellow, chatting with a lady I knew. In refined wine etiquette, the man takes the initiative to remove the cork. I kept my eyes on him as I located the wine key.
I used the wine capsule-cutter. However, as a lady I couldn’t stand opening the bottle myself, with him right there to yank the cork, making my life a bit softer. I lay my hand on his arm.
“Would you do the honors?” I asked. He had a broad frame, thick eyebrows and a look that reminded me of the middle-aged Ernest Borgnine. He had a tough, south-side Chicago speak to boot as he resisted my gentle request.
”I need a big, strong man,” I responded.
“Big, I am,” he joked, “But not strong.”
I kept the wine key in front of him, “O come on!” I urged — not so ladylike, yet semi-universal.
He took the key. As he opened the wine, I pointed out that it was a joint effort – as I’d cut the capsule; I lifted the wine capsule cap to prove it.
He nodded and agreed. After he opened the bottle, I said, “My hero!” He smiled and jokingly flexed his arm muscles. He slid the bottle toward me. He should have poured it, I thought, yet one step at a time. I poured my own glass and raised it to toast with him and the lady with whom he’d been chatting.
He was busy removing the cork from the wine key. “You know wine etiquette, to remove the cork from the corkscrew,” I acknowledged, and waited till he could toast.
Although I had to nudge this fellow to be a gent, I rewarded him with sincere thanks. ‘Twas a bit o’ muscling on my part as a lady, yet worth it.
A bit later, the three in this scene were in different spots in the kitchen. The fellow talking with someone else, myself entering the other side of the kitchen, and the other lady approaching the fellow with an un-opened bottle of wine.
All she had to do was hand it to him. He took it, set down his glass and picked up the wine key. While doing so he noticed me behind him. “You started something with the ‘strong man’ thing,” he told me, and proceeded to open the bottle for her. We all smiled, without toasting, and continued enjoying the party.