Playing Dress-Up: The True Nature of Wine Appreciation


I live in suburban Canada. It's a beautiful part of the world, where I live. But let's be clear: the beautiful you don't know is always a little more enticing than the beautiful you do know. At least on the surface. It's that element of human nature than makes traveling so much fun. It's the reason that you want to live everywhere you travel.


At least while you're there. Because I'm never as happy as I am when I get off the hangover plane and pour myself out of the cramped vehicle picking me up from the airport, haul the luggage upstairs, re-enter my air-conditioned, 400 square foot apartment, wipe the sweat from my brow, vomit, dab my forehead with a cool cloth, and pass out in my own bed after a great vacation.


Which brings me to my point.


A great vacation is about pretending you're a local in the place that you are vacationing in.


Or at least falling in love with the idea of that.


That's an attitude I like to take while drinking wine occasionally. It's another tool to chuck into your arsenal. It's a way you can go about enjoying a bottle while using your imagination


It's about turning something ordinary into something special.


Like playing dress-up.


For me? It's often related to what I'm cooking. Lately, I've been horny for steak frites. I've long been a fan of the platter, ranging from examples at my favourite French bistro I haunted in my early 20s to the pedestrian-but-I-was-eating-steak-frites-while-in-France versions to various other iterations I've enjoyed in establishments all over Canada and the US.


Including my own house.


See, not having a simple glass of red wine while shovelling back a plate of steak frites seems like a total sin. And, no, I don't want fancy wine.


I want house wine. I want cheap wine. I want French wine.


I want to sit there, like a flat-out romantic fool, and imagine myself as a Frenchman.


I want to speak French.


I want to read Sartre. Camus. Balzac.


I want to watch Jean-Luc Godard.


I want to listen to Edith Piaf.


I want to listen to Serge Gainsbourg.


I want to smoke Gitanes. And Gauloises.


I want to speak in an articulate and detailed manner.


I want to be a thinker.


I want bread. And butter.


I want to lie in bed until 2 in the afternoon, tangled in the sheets, and roll out of bed with my lover, padding around the kitchen, picking up yesterday's croissant crumbs with my sweaty feet while slashing my latest paintings.


I want to be a part of every stereotype to do with Frenchness that I can think of.


And I want to drink the wine of the people. Locals.


I don't want their exports. I want the things that never left.


I want to play dress-up while I enjoy my meal.


And whatever glass of wine I can get my hands on to wash it down.


Alright, I'm in character now.


Let's eat.

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