She sprawled across my Ikea Ektorp sleeper sofa like something out of an Audrey Hepburn movie, destroying me with one of the funniest stories I’d ever heard. When she finally reached the end, I was laughing so hard I couldn’t catch my breath. There was something happening here. Something weird, something different. I couldn’t put my finger on it.
The story was about her brother, and how he wanted her to make him some macaroni and cheese while she was trying to do the laundry. I know, doesn’t sound funny at all. That was the beauty of it, the beauty of her: the recklessness of her narrative, the voices of the characters she created, the ridiculousness of the situation. All I can tell you is that I was enraptured.
In the same way that I can’t adequately relate how funny her story was, I can’t describe to you how beautiful she was, either. Yes, she was classically gorgeous: the face of a Scottish Princess, curves where curves ought to be. But there was also a beauty that escaped physical definition. Some kind of attitude. The third choice in a game of Truth or Dare.
“You’re a wine guy,” she said. “You probably think this champagne is crap, but all I know is that my glass is empty. I will literally write poetry about you if you do something about that.” (I love it when people say, “you’re a wine guy.” I picture myself being made out of wine, like I’m the fourth character in The Wizard of Oz – The Wine Guy).
She set her glass down and walked off to the bathroom, so I got up to grab more bubbles. “Hey!” I heard her yell. “Can you grab my lipstick out of my purse?”
Before I could say anything, she yelled through the door again. “It should be right on top. Pink thingy.”
I couldn’t believe it. You want me to go into your purse? The Forbidden Zone? The Holiest of Holy Places? Just rummage like a gorilla through The Palace Of Estrogen? I’ve been married twice and I still don’t know what the inside of one of these things looks like.
I gingerly opened her purse as if the zipper was made out of Uranium 235. My palms were so sweaty I thought they’d stain the leather. I looked at the top of the pile and didn’t see the lipstick.
“It’s not here,” I shouted. “Sorry!”
“It’s there,” she called back. “Just keep looking.”
I took a deep breath and just went for it, combing through the main compartment until I reached the bottom. Wallet, crusty forgotten snacks, keys, emergency Red Bull, phone. But you know what I didn’t find? A fuck.
I opened the side-zipper. Tattered business cards, a parking violation from 2012, half a package of Winter Blast Tic Tacs, about 43 pennies. No lipstick.
And not a single fuck.
None were there, for she had none to give.
Confidence is beyond attractive. It creates attractive. Most important of all, confidence is to drama what the Death Star was to Alderaan. The beauty about not giving a fuck is that it’s not about beauty, it’s about everything. In its best form, it’s not arrogance, but it’s not Zen either. To some people, fucks are like currency, and these people need them to survive. If you have none to give, it’s not that you don’t care. It’s that you’ve moved beyond their economic model.
I hate to generalize but I will anyway. Something happens to a woman after the age of 40. Perhaps all the fucks they’ve been accumulating since they were 12 start to weight too much, so they find the closest landfill and dump them all. This is a relatively new thing for women. Since high school, I’ve been told that confidence is a man’s sexiest quality. It wasn’t the same for women, who were expected to be demure and retiring. But this has all changed, and I dig that.
As for us? It’s complicated, as the over-used internet meme goes. But her confidence was so contagious that it allowed me, for the first time in a long time, to open up and let her autograph my heart. “S. Was Here,” it says, written in lipstick.
Confidence Pairs With: 2016 Kale Grenache Blanc, Somerston Vineyard, Napa Valley. Here’s your summertime wine. You’re welcome. Summer doesn’t give a fuck, and neither does this exquisite Grenache Blanc from Kale, grown in the Somerston Vineyard, about ten miles east of the Silverado Trail.
Grenache Blanc is a lesser-known Southern Rhone varietal that’s typically used in blends (and in smaller amounts than the stalwart Viognier, Rousanne and Marsanne varietals). Winemaker Kale Anderson brings out the subtlety of the GB like an artist. It gets as little skin contact as possible, and goes through the “sparkling wine” program in the Diemme bladder press, which is the gentlest program. The clear juice is racked to a stainless steel tank, and one neutral French oak barrel. No malolactic fermentation is allowed.
The net result is one of the truest expressions of Grenache Blanc I’ve ever had. It’s great to see this new vanguard of winemakers allowing Napa fruit to do what it does best: Grow in Napa. Let the terroir do its magic, and leave the heavy-handed processing behind.
Go get you some. Only 201 cases were produced.