By Stephanie Earls The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
All booze being equal (12 ounces regular beer equals 1 ounce spirits equals 5 ounces wine), some booze is more equal than others when you're out on the town with a potential significant other.
We'll pause a moment for you to collect your senses and a beer. No judging.
OK. We get that what (and, to a greater degree, how much) we drink can offer insights into our mood and intentions, if not necessarily our character and dateability.
And we get, too, that when we let our libations speak for us, especially when we're female, and especially when we're with strangers, what those drinks say isn't always what we meant.
Hard liquor, for instance, isn't known for its tact. Consider: "Sex on the Beach," that perennial co-ed fave, and the many treacly cocktails of its ilk, with names unsuitable for print. Consider: The Jagerbomb, a drink that says lots of things, none of them "potential mother of your children" (at least not in the traditional sense).
It might be a visual thing.
"A cocktail just looks more ladylike. It's still booze, you're still drinking, but it just looks better (than beer)," said Ben Jackson, general manager at The Ritz in Colorado Springs, who for 18 years has served couples on dates at the upscale, downtown restaurant.
"I certainly see ladies drink more wine and martinis. I think it has a lot to do with calories, and cocktails can be gluten-free. It's all about the way you're perceived. If we served beer in a fancier glass ..."
Unlike wine, most beers don't come in an easily splittable format, Jackson pointed out. For a regular/frequent beer drinker, a cocktail might simply better suit the rarefied atmosphere, and attitude, of a special occasion.
"Women will drink for appearances. A drink is an accessory," said Megan Robinson, an amateur stand-up comic in Colorado Springs who often carries a drink with her on stage when performing, say, something innocuous such as a Blue Moon Belgian Pale Ale.
"If I'm holding a beer, it's more casual. It would be a night out with the guys. It would mean I'm more open to dude things. I don't want to be dressed up really nice with a beer in my hand."
A pint of beer, when properly juxtaposed with elegant, though, can be a thing of beauty, said J.D. Rocha, a bartender at V Bar. Even though women represent the fastest-growing segment of the craft market, beer in the abstract still calls to mind certain dusty gender stereotypes. Us beer-drinking ladies are loud, outspoken and opinionated.
Aka, "not very ladylike, I guess," said Rocha, with an apologetic laugh.
But "beer" is as vast and varied a class as "cocktail." Bud Light and Smokebrush Porter are distant cousins thrice removed, if that.
Point being, perceptions about drink choice and any kind of extrapolation or associations are very much driven by the zeitgeist.
So imagine, if you will, a world where the ladies of "Sex and the City" had met not at Manhattan's trendiest clubs, to priss over elaborate cocktails, but at dimly lit pubs over pints of cheap beer.
Yeah, whole different story.