Water Amazons: Tea for Me, Not for Them
It happened again the other day at lunch in Aberdeen. I’m still not sure what it means for the future of America, but I’ve noticed this happening everywhere lately.
And no, I don’t mean someone else found the face of a U.S. president in their food and promptly cashed in like the Nebraska woman who made $8,100 by selling a 3-year-old Chicken McNugget that resembles George Washington on eBay.
That only happens to the lucky few, though I could swear I recently saw Kim Kardashian’s face in a meatball sub from Jersey Mike’s. But that’s another story.
In any case, I went to lunch with three of my female co-workers and they all ordered plain water with their meals, probably because every woman in the joint was having the same.
Here’s how it came down as the waitress took our drink orders.
“I’ll have water,” said my first female colleague pleasantly.
“Me, too,” said the second, equally relaxed.
“I’ll have the same,” said the third.
See what I mean? A little scary, huh? Not sweet tea, or Diet Coke or even a naughty glass of white vino.
The waitress wrote down their selections and all four women turned their attention to me. I hemmed and hawed and finally ordered sweet tea.
“How nice,” said one of my lunch mates.
“I used to like sweet tea,” recalled another.
“I hear they have excellent sweet tea here,” remarked the third.
Behind their relaxed smiles, friend, you could just feel the weight of their consumer disapproval, clearly mocking my choice of a traditional brewed and over-sweetened lunch beverage that, granted, could turn you into the Michelin Tire Man if you consume enough of it and might eventually knock you out cold as an alewife from a massive coronary.
Someone — an insurance company, I think — currently has a spot running on cable in which a tubby middle-aged guy who can’t afford a weight-loss program hires a trio of ultra-cool middle school girls to follow him around in order to discourage his unfortunate food choices.
“Eeew” murmurs one, watching him sniff something foul he’s tempted to eat from the back of the refrigerator.
“Seriously?” asks another, incredulously.
“So gross,” whispers a third, totally disgusted.
Worse, they repeat their undisguised contempt all over town, appearing like teenage harpies over the shoulder of this poor bloated Homer every time he reaches for a soda or a sandwich or a slice of pie a la mode.
From Garden Hose
This is precisely what it feels like lunching with Water Amazons, three ridiculously health-conscious middle-aged women and their condescending glasses of pure water.
Yes, I know. Don’t even bother to say it. Humans should have at least eight glasses of water every day in order to keep the body’s vital organs nicely hydrated, as well as French bottled-water magnates who have quietly bought up most of the world’s fresh water aquifers happy in their Cote d’Azur estates.
But like many guys I know, I dislike plain water as a primary beverage at lunch or dinner and really only like it at all straight from the garden hose after a sweaty afternoon working in the yard, or from an insulated water cooler on a golf course on a hot day. Or maybe even in Italy, where everybody over age 2 drinks wine and fizzy water like it’s going out of style. No sir, generally speaking, I need a Coke, a beer, or even just a friendly glass of milk to complement my meal and make it all go merrily down the little red lane. Am I really such a bad person for wanting a glass of something other than H2O?
My wife, after all, really loves her fine wines. I don’t care much for wine, to own the truth, but I certainly don’t begrudge her this personal choice of a dining beverage. Unfortunately, I notice, she’s becoming a Water Amazon, too. When I pointed this out to her at a swanky restaurant recently she only laughed and reminded me Jesus turned water into wine, so she was really getting a beverage two-fer.
“Maybe you should try water with your meal,” she said sweetly. “It’s really better for you and you just might like it.” She’s forever on a campaign to make less of me.
“OK,” I said, “I’ll ask the waitress to run a complimentary garden hose to our table just so I can have a nice long slurp.”
Women, of course, are rapidly taking over this world. I fully recognize and accept the fact that they will soon be officially in charge of everything, and we guys will be kept around mostly for cheap laughs and lifting heavy objects.
To my point, the cover story in Time magazine this week is called “The Richer $ex,” artfully depicting a woman fashioned from a dollar bill.
The story relates how woman are quickly becoming the chief bread (and water) winners of American society, moving into key management positions at an unprecedented rate. “Assuming present trends continue,” writes Liza Munday, “by the next generation, more families will be supported by women than men. Not since women entered the workforce by the millions after World War II has America witnessed economic change on this scale.”
Among other things, Mundy points out, 60 percent of college students are female, and a majority of them earn doctorates and master’s degrees. Some experts, she reports, predict that in 25 years the medical and legal professions will be dominated by women. Not only do women hold the purse strings and buying power, studies show, but they’ll be reshaping every facet of American life from the boudoir to the boardroom.
Personally, I think there’s something in the water. Check out any busy female executive on the go, after all, and you’re likely to see two things: a mobile phone in one hand, a bottle of water in the other.
Of course, anyone who has a Southern mother knows who’s had the power from the get-go. They don’t call ’em Steel Magnolias for nothing. My mother, for instance, was an early Water Amazon who made us drink tap water like it was free and refused to let my brother and me have Coca-ay nights and birthday celebrations — and then only those absurd 6-ounce bottles which gave a thirsty kid barely three good swigs. Sweet tea was reserved for family reunions and special occasions, and beer was not an option except for the lucky kids down the street whose parents threw wild parties where the police always showed up.
I sometimes think this is the reason I fancy a nice big glass of sweet tea or Coca-Cola at lunch. It’s my small act of civil disobedience, though I may soon be cold as an alewife.
Saving Some Bucks
My mom has already gone on ahead to Steel Magnolia heaven, bless her water-loving heart, and now the Water Amazons are everywhere you look — looking after the rest of us.
Last Thursday I gave a speech to the Greensboro Bar Association and shouldn’t have been too surprised to see that probably half the folks in the audience were female. More tellingly — and Time magazine has yet to pick up on this part of the story, please remember you read it here first –— every lady legal eagle had a glass of water with her lunch.
Most of the guys drank sweet tea.
When I asked a trio of the power lady lawyers why women only drink water these days at lunch or dinner, they merely smiled as if the golden rule applied — she who has the gold, gets to rule.
“Honey, it’s pure economics,” said one. “That glass of sweet tea costs two bucks at lunch. A glass of water is free.”
“That’s a savings of $1,000 a year. I can get a plane ticket anywhere for that — and save the calories,” chirped the second.
Said the third: “We never order dessert, either, for the same reasons.”
No wonder they’re taking over the world.
As I was leaving, I noticed someone’s uneaten brownie on the table and snatched it up to munch on as I drove back to the office.
Unfortunately the lady lawyers saw me and I could almost read their lips.
Jim Dodson, Sunday essayist for The Pilot and editor of PineStraw magazine, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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