I started writing this post as an essay on the gender of inanimate, gender-less things, but then realized it was a little too close to the essay I wrote a few weeks ago titled: “Brews Don’t Wear Bras, Bro.”
Instead of rehashing the same concepts, grammatically puking up those same ideas with different phrasing, I decided to detour slightly from the ethical quandaries of gender equality and bring this session entry a little closer to my everyday.
This month’s session topic (hosted by Nichole “Nitch” Richard) is supposed to be about women, beer, women in beer, beer in women, beer on women, women on beer, and whatever else we can do with those words and their related prepositions. Women “of” beer seemed pretty tempting, but my approach is to add an article and a prounoun: The women in my beer.
There are a number of women in my beer, women who have informed my pint-glass view on our ever-bubbling beer culture. The few who spring instantly to mind are those I’ve never actually met outside of a tweet or an essay, but have imprinted on my brain none the less. Jill Redding, editor-in-chief of Zymurgy magazine, whose curated glossy content I eagerly await every three months. Carla Companion (The Beer Babe) whose New England-centric beerview inspired my own local focus on Maryland beer. And a woman I’ve never met, but whose name is hard to ignore as it appears on the bottom of the copyright page in a lot of my favorite books: Kristi Switzer, Publisher for Brewers Publications.
And while these women are doing fabulous things for beer in general, even more important to me are the women who act as the nutritious wort to my creative S. cerevisiae: my wife, my sister, my mother. These three have never doubted me, always encouraged me, and without them I’m not sure I’d be where I am today. They are my beta-readers and taste-testers, my confidants and clever-name-comer-upper-withs. Two of them don’t even drink beer, which makes their support of my chosen path even more impressive, to the point where I think they believe in the power of me, not just the power of the beer.
My wife is just Tiffany – no clever nicknames or aliases or blog-based disguises. She’s a brilliant, ever-grounded yang to my yin, the Benson to my Stabler, the one who lets me know when an idea is great, and another idea is just not so great. She’s more of a partner in creative design than anything else – a coworker, a shotgun-rider, a member of the Fellowship set out from Rivendell to brew the One Beer. She’s the one who puts up with my daily Oliverisms, only scoffing at my field research when the pile of glass recyclables starts to threaten the safety of the cats.
She doesn’t drink beer. Doesn’t even like the taste of beer. Once, after I gave her a sip of Victory Golden Monkey Tripel, she accused me of trying to poison her. Tiffany often wanders bottleshops with me when trying to find that elusive brew, grinning delightedly when she finds something new. Instead of laughing that I’m on the crawling on the ground, trying to get a good angle, she’ll stop, observe, and ponder; then suggest props and positions for photos of beer.
She more than encourages, she inspires. She more than tolerates, she promotes. She reminds me that love is tangible, is beautiful and rare, and that sometimes in life, your homebrew comes out perfect.
My sister is the closest thing to a clone I’ll ever have, and I’m cool with that. She’s got this genetic problem where she actively likes and drinks Coors Light, but we’ve been working through it, one lager at a time, as a family. I joke with her and claim she’s not supportive of my habits when she doesn’t read a blog post within 8 minutes of it being posted, but in reality, she’s been in my corner since before I even knew I had a corner.
She knows me in a way not many do, in that way only a person who shared a near identical copy of your childhood really can. We have a shared history that spans the most formative years; decades of inside jokes, disturbingly similar mannerisms, predispositions and aversions to a lot of the same things and people. She’s the one I go to for the blunt honesty that comes from sisterly love, and I owe her more than she knows for equally feeding my ego or stepping on its head, whenever, and whichever appropriate.
Now if we can just get her to drink good beer, we can end the years of exile, and reassimilate her into the family.
Yea, I still call my mom “mummy.” I was born in England. Big whoop. Wanna fight about it?
Properly named Denise, my mom is my constant champion. I’ve written about her before, but she’s the unfailing bastion of optimism and compassion in our family, the lady who keeps us all afloat, regardless of the struggle or the emotional tax she levies on herself. She lives her life like an fully realized archetype, embodying all of that Jungian psychology of motherly duty. She seriously puts herself second to her children, even when her children chase frivolity in the form of beer and writing.
My mom formed me both literally and figuratively, and I am a product of both her womb and her mind. If I can even hold half of the love of life and family that she does in my heart, I’ll consider that a success.
These are the women in my beer, but to me, they’re just as important as the most famousests women in all beer.
Who are the women in your beer?