Susan Cheever, writing for the NYT's Opinion Blog, says getting rip-roarin' drunk isn't in fashion anymore. "Everyone comes on time, behaves well, drinks a little wine, eats a few tiny canapés, and leaves on time. They all still drink, but no one gets drunk anymore. Neither do they smoke. What on earth has happened?"
"In the old days, drunkenness was as much part of New York City society as evening clothes. This is the city where Zelda Fitzgerald jumped wildly in the fountain in front of the Plaza, the city of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” written by another fabulous alcoholic, Truman Capote. It’s the city of late nights with sloshed celebrities at the Stork Club. It’s the city that gave its name to Manhattans and Bronx Cocktails, the city of John O’Hara and Frank O’Hara, of drunken brilliance and brilliant drunks."
Let me just counter that argument with this one, BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
I think it just might be that Ms. Cheever's friends don't drink as much as they used to (she is the author of My Name Is Bill, by the way, a biography of the founder of AA, so that might put a damper on things) because I honestly don't know what she's talking about.
Sure, we don't have as many campy films with notoriously drunk actors cavorting around the screen anymore (Arthur, My Favorite Year, Animal House) or songs that could practically make a drink appear in hand ("Drinking and Driving (that woman out of my mind)" by Johnny Paycheck is one of my faves.) But do not be fooled that our culture has in any way diminished the allure of drinking. Or that celebrities don't get sloshed just as often. Or that Top 40 songs aren't about crazy alcohol-induced parties (Lady Gaga, I'm looking at you.)
Ms. Cheever says, "I don’t drink. I know the savage, destructive power of alcoholism. It’s a soul stealer. Yet, there’s a mischievous part of me that misses all that extreme behavior, all those nasty but somehow amusing surprises, all that glamor even when so much of it ended in pain, institutions and early death."
Maybe it's a generational thing (I'm in my 30s), but I see plenty of drunken behavior. At The Joule, a luxury boutique hotel in downtown Dallas, opening night party a couple of months ago, black-tie guests mixed and mingled and generally drank themselves into a stupor. My +1 ended up passing out on a chaise at the rooftop pool, only to wake up to find skinny dippers splashing in the water. Security was none too happy.
And as for NYC, a friend of mine was on tour for a Christmas show last year with a young, talented singer/songwriter who ordered Scotch for breakfast and one night got so bombed she had to be escorted to her hotel room by the bellhops--on a rolling luggage rack.
So Ms. Cheever can wax nostalgic all she wants about the days of drunken antics but I say, Look out your window girl. It's the holiday in New York. Three-fourths of those people out there are already drunk.