She who laughs first often gets laughed at last

Was it a gaggle? I wasn’t sure. And I certainly wasn’t going to look it up on my phone. I am old school, and I believe an employee should not be on their phone visibly in front of customers. Call them what you will, but it was a group of six women in their early 30s.

“Do you know how to make classic cocktails,” asked the first one to speak.

I was flattered that she didn’t automatically assume so, just because of my age. But that flattery ended a second later.

“You know, like the cosmopolitan,” she said.

I’ve been bartending long enough to remember when the cosmopolitan came out. It was the Aperol Spritz of its day. Like the Spritz, it was based on an older drink (the kamikaze) and then freshened up with newfangled ingredients. Cranberry juice, I’m looking at you.

Funny how if you read the history of the Cosmo, you will find origin stories dating from as late as 1989. Which is strange for a bartender like myself who remembers having to learn how to make them for my very first bartending gig in 1987. And that was at a corporate chain, with over 600 restaurants. Odd how somebody wrote an entire book based on the 1989 premise and never figured that out.

Once we got past the ordering part, the rest of this “girl’s night out” commenced. And I only use the word “girls” because that is what they called themselves. If women are going to refer to themselves as girls, I’m not sure where that leaves the rest of us.

The conversation started out focused on ideas, then moved briefly on to each woman’s experiences before settling on people. And not just any people, but specifically the person who had just gotten up to leave the little group.

“I can’t believe she’s wearing that,” said one of the women as soon as the other woman took a phone call in the lobby.

When the lobbyist returned there was a moment of awkward silence, and a looking around before the conversation moved in a different direction.

Then the woman who had first commented on the clothing excused herself to use the restroom.

“Can she get a bigger purse?” asked the woman who had been in the lobby.

“And I think it’s a knockoff,” replied one of the others.

Knockoff returned to the little group only to face the same awkward silence and the same looking around, before the conversation started again.

Another call and another woman left the group.

“It’s like watching a dying horse,” said the lobbyist.

The other women looked at her for a second. And then most of them laughed. The one who didn’t, looked at the lobbyist quizzically.

“Her clomping around in those heels.”

Clompy returned to the group as they were still laughing. Only to have them stop laughing, look around awkwardly and engage in an awkward silence.

“What’s so funny?” asked Clompy.

 “Nothing,” replied one of the others.

 “You had to be there,” added another.

 Eventually it came time for another cocktail. Clompy held up her phone. Or was it the lobbyist, or even knockoff, I wasn’t sure at this point. The funny thing in our culture is how similar we all seem. A different pair of yoga pants or cargo shorts doesn’t make you different, it just makes you more of the same.

“Amaretto sours?” I asked. “Of course, I know how to make those.”

I walked away and made six of the drinks which I delivered in two trips. When I set the second batch down the women were laughing. Then they stopped abruptly. Then they looked around at each other in an awkward silence. Then they looked at me.

“We’re sorry,” said Clompy. “We were laughing at an inside joke.”

Leaving me with these thoughts.

-It’s all fun and games until the jokes on you.

-Only when geese are on the ground are they called a gaggle, if they are flying, they are a skein, a team, or a wedge. If they are flying closely together then they are known as a plump. 

-If your group’s conversation settles on the one who has just left, rest assured it does so when you leave the group too.

-“Great people talk about ideas, average people talk about themselves, and small people talk about others,” once commented business leader John C. Maxwell.

-“Where do I deposit all this money?” so said Andy Cohen founder and host of the Real Housewives TV franchise. Reportedly.

-Don’t believe everything you read.