Friday, May 28th, 2010
87

Negroni Season

IT'S ALWAYS NEGRONI SEASON SOMEWHEREIt's been a long time since we've heard one of Evelyn Everlady's horrifying true stories about The Worst Boyfriend in the World. So before we leave you for the long weekend, and to wrap up our welcome to summer series, she's baaaaack. Why? Because now it is Negroni Season. Think of this as a reminder to drink and date responsibly this weekend.

It was the spring of 2005 and I was living with the man that I, a bit stubbornly perhaps, had decided was the love of my life. The thing about choosing to live with a rapidly-approaching-bottom alcoholic is that there are just so many ways to distort reality and find seemingly logical explanations to make your slowly spiraling out of control life look and feel somewhat reasonable (just ask Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse!). This is true even though you aren't the one who is drunk all the time.

So, anyway, when I wasn't Googling "codependent" and "enabler," I was busy coming up with increasingly bizarre ideas to set the train back on the tracks. Like when I tried to institute a thing called 'ober Sundays.' That's right, Sober Sundays. It was exactly what it sounds like. And was, awesomely, a giant failure once I figured out that the Gatorade bottle the Boyfriend always had with him was, in fact, mostly vodka with perhaps a splash of Lemon-Lime. By the time May rolled around, I had given up trying for anything as simple as Sober Breakfasts.

I also decided around this time that I was no longer interested in drinking. Just trust me on the grossness of sleeping next to someone whose overnight sweat was probably 80 proof. (That said? The 2010 version of me looks back on this non-drinking era of mine and laaaaaaughs). We were at an impasse: I had stopped drinking and didn't want to be around him when he was drunk, and he wanted to be drunk all the time.

And then Kimberly started showing up.

But let me back up: a year earlier there was a stretch of time when I was sleeping quite regularly with the Boyfriend, however he was not yet officially my boyfriend. I can't really remember if I was aware of this fact because it was all swept up in that dangerous first flush-of apple picking and singing songs in the car and holding hands and chasing lobsters and oh-my-god-you-think-so-too conversations that went inanely on till dawn. You know. So I didn't know that the not-yet-my-boyfriend-but-sure-as-hell-seemed-to-be was also sleeping with another New York City-based lady-let's call her Kimberly-on alternate weekends. I unfortunately discovered this after he moved to town and into my apartment.

I first sensed something was amiss when she came over for chili and to watch the Superbowl (both she and the Boyfriend were rooting for the New England Patriots, which I now recognize as very dire foreshadowing). I was rather taken aback when she burst into tears at the end of the night.

Now here's what I knew about Kimberly: she and the Boyfriend had worked together for a few summers, and one of those summers involved some sex and maybe something more, but as far as I knew this was all ancient history. Her being in my apartment and eating my chili was as a friend-plus conventional wisdom is that super cool girlfriends don't get jealous. So there we were eating chili, and complimenting each other's shoes and hair and stuff. But then she started to cry and the Boyfriend helped her collect her things and escorted her to the subway. When he came home, he hung up his coat and started to do the dishes without saying a word, and then feigned surprise that I was so curious about it all.

After some prodding I learned about the still-sleeping-together business and how when Kimberly learned he was moving to New York, she was under the impression that they were going to be together and was slightly put out to hear he was moving in with some other woman that she had no idea existed. During the many (many) hours I would replay this conversation, turning it over and over again looking for its silver lining, I admitted I felt a little badly for Kimberly.

"You won," the Boyfriend said.

Let the record show that I was so far gone at this point that I was actually-and yes, kind of smugly-comforted by this. But I didn't exactly follow the boyfriend's logic that he should continue to hang out with Kimberly, as friends of course, since it was the least he could do. When I started to raise some objections, he took the position of new-to-New-York-can't-deny-him-friends-stop-being-so-insecure-and-controlling, and guess what? He convinced me.

We all have parts of our personality that we'd like to lead behind the barn and beat senseless with a shovel, right? Well here's one I'd really like to bash in-the part of me that decided the best course of action would be to befriend Kimberly. If we became friends, I believe the thinking went, then maybe we'd all start hanging out and I wouldn't feel so left out or threatened. Because those two sure did love to drink together. And then, drink some more.

"We're just drinking buddies," the Boyfriend was fond of saying.

As for my relationship with Kimberly, we developed a fairly cordial and passive aggressive email relationship. I helped her write a cover letter for a job she applied for, she recommended a good hair stylist. We touched base about what to do for the Boyfriend's approaching birthday. We were very, very careful with one other.

So Memorial Day weekend rolled around, and all the telltale signs added up to mean that an epic bender was underway. I hoped that the Boyfriend wasn't about to be fired (again). He had gotten work tending bar at a fancy SoHo restaurant; before his shift he showed up outside my office building smelling like a homeless person and inexplicably wearing a Superman t-shirt. We argued-who knows about what-and he went off to work.

Usually he got home around 2 a.m. That night I was awakened at 3 a.m. by the phone, and the Boyfriend slurring nonsense. Something something about meeting up with friends, be home soon. He sounded more terrible than usual, and trailed off, hanging up in mid-sentence. I was now awake enough to be worried as it rolled past 4, and then 5 a.m. Would he get punched in the face when he inevitably was an asshole to the wrong person? That had happened. Would he get arrested? That had happened, too. But what if he was killed? What if he passed out in the gutter somewhere? And were there even gutters in New York City to pass out in? And so on. I tried calling and it all went straight to voicemail. I gave up on going back to sleep and smoked all the cigarettes in the apartment till it was morning. Still no sign of him. I called his best friend who was kind, gentle. "He'll be o.k.," he said. "He always is. How are you?"

Two hours later I was back at work. His cell still went straight to voice mail. I emailed Kimberly a short note asking if by chance The Boyfriend had happened to be out with her last night. Maybe he had passed out on her couch? It wasn't easy-okay, it actually physically hurt to have to write her-but, you know, desperate times. I hit send before seeing that I had just then received an email from Kimberly. It was super chatty, picking up the threads of one of our previous conversations. It didn't mention anything to do with the Boyfriend or the night before. Super embarrassing! I quickly emailed her back, apologizing for the previously sent message, explaining that I shouldn't be so worried and ha ha ha, he always landed on his feet, didn't he?

Fifteen minutes later she wrote me back. "Actually, he is asleep on my couch. It's Negroni season, and you know he makes the absolute best Negronis ever, so we may have had a few too many and he slept here. Sorry you were worried."

I'm not proud about how any of the rest of this went down. I broke one of my own cardinal rules and snooped through the Boyfriend's email. I learned that Kimberly had already forwarded my original email to him with a note that read, 'I'm sorry, I had to tell her.' My mind rebelled past the idea of the Boyfriend cheating on me, and kept returning to this Negroni Season business. I wasn't even sure if I knew what a Negroni was—how could it have a whole season? I sat in my boss's office, who was a real grown-up, who wore blue blazers and aftershave, and told him everything. Did he know anything about a Negroni Season? He looked down his glasses at me. "Only a total boozehound whore would even dream up such a thing as Negroni Season," he said.

Not. Helpful.

When I returned home, the Boyfriend was there, tail between his legs, awaiting punishment. He had emailed and called a few times that afternoon saying how sorry he was, and I had ignored them all. I asked if he had sex with Kimberly and he said no. I didn't really believe him. But I was so tired! And so fed up. Oh, and I had drank a bottle of wine with a friend after work, on an empty stomach, no sleep, zero tolerance mixed with high emotional turmoil.

"Hey," I said. "I know. Let's go drink Negronis." The Boyfriend looked at me, in that hey-crazy-lady, no-sudden-movements kind of way.

"I'm really really sorry I put you through so much worry," he said.

"I HEAR IT'S NEGRONI SEASON," I said. "Let's go drink some fucking Negronis!"

He cleared his throat. He fidgeted and blinked a few times. "Um….so…I think you might be really mad at me?" he said. "Maybe we should just stay here and talk this out."

"FUUUUCK THAT," I said. "I just want to drink some motherfucking Negronis! Whoo-hooo! It's NEGRONI SEASON! I LOVE Negroni Season! It's the BEST season of all! FUCK FALL!"

The Boyfriend now looked sort of panicky.

"Neg-ron-i Season! Neg-ron-i Season! Whoooooo!"

"O.K. I get it," he said. "You're totally right to be mad. But what can I do besides apologize?"

"HEY, we're wasting time talking when it's NEGRONI SEASON! We should be drinking Negronis during Negroni Season! NEGRONIS! NEGRONI SEASON! YAY! I'm FUN, I can go out and drink NEGRONIS. Especially when it's NEGRONI SEASON!!!! NEEEGRONI!"

This went on for quite a while. I became louder and more adamant about how a) it was motherfucking Negroni season and b) I was super "fun" and could drink Negronis till dawn. Blah, blah, drunken blah, you don't know shit about me, buddy, I love Negroni Season. I wait all year for the Negroni.

He finally gave up-I'm sure he needed a drink. We stumbled across the street and he ordered me a Negroni. It was disgusting. I drank it fast. I drank another. And maybe one more? I think I might have tried to pull him into a bathroom to make out with me. It was all terribly messy.

"SEE?" I slurred. "I'm SUPER fun. I'm, like, all UP in the Negroni."

And then we came home, and I went straight to the bathroom and threw up for about an hour-nasty, Campari-vermouth-gin smelly poison. And then I cried. Big, heaving, pukey tears.

"I can't do anything right," I said. "I can't even drink Negronis. And it's Negroni Season."

Perhaps the most amazing part about all of this is that we did not break up that night, or anytime soon after. We were together for another three years! But anyway, for those who are interested in such things, Negroni Season is upon us. Enjoy!



Evelyn Everlady is the pen name of a young professional woman in New York City who has moved waayyyy on and can laugh about all of this now. A Negroni, typically, is one part gin, one part Campari, one part sweet vermouth and pretty much all disgusting.

Photo by robotpolisher from Flickr.

87 Comments / Post A Comment

oudemia (#177)

Oh, this was wonderful. I'll be very sorry, though, if Negronis are ruined for you forever.

(There is kinda a Campari season, but not a Negroni one.)

sunnyciegos (#551)

I particularly enjoyed the well-placed dig at LindeCuse!

johnpseudonym (#1,452)

So very sorry.

kneetoe (#1,881)

God, that "another three years" went down like a really rotten Negroni.

oudemia (#177)

I know? Where is the rest of this series? More please.

kneetoe (#1,881)

Yes but can I take it?

Bettytron (#575)

This is almost hilarious, but in a really heartbreaking way. Excellent piece, and I second the request for more.

Mar (#2,357)

Yes, I could read a book of these.

I would also love to read more, but feel guilty about it, knowing that would likely mean you had gone through even more shit.

jolie (#16)

This gets my vote for the third Awl-to-book deal (in my fantasies Bry goes after Lehmann). Also: I am *never* allowed to complain about my alcoholic ex ever again.

SO sorry that you went through this.

For what it's worth, though, this is Margarita Season. Anything that combines sour, mouth-drying campari with bitter, tongue-curdling gin might as well contain some eye of newt and a few grams of strychnine.

oudemia (#177)

[I hold my finger to your lips.] Don't speak! Don't speak!

Baboleen (#1,430)

Just substitute the names of people and drinks and you have told the story of my twenties.

Grant G Brown (#3,366)

And I'm sure there was some nice guy, the non-alcoholic shoulder to lean on, silently pining away while you pissed off your youth with a "charming" loser. That was a chunk of my completely wasted twenties.

shostakobitch (#1,692)

substitute "drinks" for "drugs" and this is me now, in my twenties. but self-awareness isn't self-possession is it?

Baboleen (#1,430)

Not in my case. I knew I had problems for a long time before I did anything about it.

Baboleen (#1,430)

Yup. He was co-dependent too

Shall we make this four? Heeeeey, I believe we have ourselves a meeting.

…. Fuck.

David (#192)

"BF" to her: "Heeeyyyyy. I know how much you like brown. Let me smear this on you."

petejayhawk (#1,249)

Thanks for this. I now feel like I'm the BEST BOYFRIEND EVER!

Ladies…

Tuna Surprise (#573)

Your words say 'best boyfriend ever' but your avatar screams the type of boyfriend that leaves her alone at events that are really important to her because you need to catch some random, meaningless game.

I won the Best Boyfriend Ever award many moons ago. My prize: bitter loneliness for two years straight.

petejayhawk (#1,249)

@Tuna: My avatar lies. It's just a game.

HelloTitty (#830)

@RTS Two years? Amateur.

I'm sure I'm not telling you something you don't already know…but…

I want to feel sorry for you and all, but this seems mostly to be your own fault.

Bettytron (#575)

You don't really understand how abusive relationships work, do you?

Fair enough, she did mention codependence.

Annie K. (#3,563)

Right, Betty, and "sorry" isn't the right word anyway. It's more like "sickish" and yeah, that could happen.

Grant G Brown (#3,366)

"one of those summers involved some sex and maybe something more"
Damn I'm curious what else there is past sex. I knew I was missing out on something. It's, like, fourth or fifth base, right? Something new the kids all do?

Sexting? I'ma guess sexting.

kneetoe (#1,881)

I thought "traded keys."

Is in on purpose that the blurry dude in the photo looks vaguely like Balk? (I'm choosing to believe, yes!)

Dorothy McGivney (#5,131)

"I wait all year for the Negroni."

Yes, more of this, please – another round?

Meghan Keane (#5,046)

The Negroni is a great looking drink. Especially when the bright red hue is accompanied by a big slab of orange. Unfortunately it tastes like gin laced bug spray. Even out of season.

HiredGoons (#603)

Well, compared to your ex I'm a regular Carrie Nation!

oudemia (#177)

I knew you were a Carrie.

HiredGoons (#603)

you!

Kevin Knox (#4,475)

Watch out for Z-Man!

untitled HD (#4,555)

more like Carrie Donovan

(love her!)

deepomega (#1,720)

Wonderful. (Terrible!) ((That overlapping venn diagram section might as well be labeled Things I Like On The Internet))

Ted Maul (#205)

This was really good. Is it wrong that I kind of want a Negroni now, though?

oudemia (#177)

I kind of always want a Negroni, and now, when drinking my Negroni, I will always think I wait all year for the Negroni.

koblin (#43)

the lesson here is clearly: never trust patriots fans.

also, this is amazing/hilarious/beautifully written. more please!

Matthew Lawrence (#4,252)

I thought every season was Negroni season. Crap.

garge (#736)

This is really good, and sad.

The negroni has become my favorite cocktail, but it is just the cocktail to make this so completely palpable.

But also? Where is Cherrispryte? Because I have been sick with infected gums and throbbing teeth and I can't drink or smoke or eat solid food or even read, and I come back here and everything is changed, there are even somehow entire posts about comments? and I just want to be held.

HiredGoons (#603)

she's on the bus.

garge (#736)

*hold me

HiredGoons (#603)

I don't… hug.

cherrispryte (#444)

hey hon! that sounds horrific. May I suggest warm salt water soaks, and The Pioneer Woman's mashed potatoes? Each serving is pretty much enough calories for the day – and there's no need to chew!

And I am still on the bus. Traffic was horrific. But now we are in North Jersey – which is also horrific.

If anyone would like to meet me at the bolt bus dropoff point in like an hour with a Negroni, I'd appreciate it.

garge (#736)

Thanks for the commiseration, cherri; the tragedy that is oral surgery aftermath can be a painfully lonely and painfully painful place. Thanks also for the mashed potato suggestion. I have been half-starved, and the dairy fat may also serve as a mood stabilizer!

I hope you eventually get off the bus and enjoy your nautical activities, a proper Memorial Day weekend!

Greg Dewar (#5,128)

wow. I mean, I'm sorry you had to go through all this…but you wrote about it with the right pace and tone to a) make me want to read it and click on all the ads and b) make me always make sure I never end up like that dude.

Abe Sauer (#148)

Take New York and make it, say, Fon du Lac, WI. Take "the apartment" and make it "the double wide." Take "at work" and make it "not at work." And take negroni and make it "cheap vodka" and you have yourself a white trash tale of mockable Levi-Johnston everyday Americana.

garge (#736)

Is Kimberly transferable?

skahammer (#587)

"Take New York and make it, say, Fon du Lac, WI."

After that step, at least call time-out or something.

belltolls (#184)

Terrific piece and it reminded me I once drank a gin and diet coke because those were the only two things in the refrigerator. Oh, New York! Oh, Youth!

Mar (#2,357)

When the only liquor left at the end of the night was vermouth, I used to doctor it with champagne and lemon juice, creating a 3 a.m. drink called Chamouth (pronounced "Shaaamooth!) We thought we were clever and respectable.

Maevemealone (#968)

You only have to change the job he had (when he had one) and the sports team and I could have written this. There was a Kimberly, I was not definitely friends with her though. Ugh, I need a drink to get the knot out of my stomach, overly identifying…

lgo (#5,220)

Terrific essay. The other day I admonished someone when they suggested serving mudslides at a party. I told them it was a "no" since they were not in season. Do I have a problem??

untitled HD (#4,555)

o/t: Boygriend and I have only $100 until tuesday. Is it more economical to buy only beer, or $6 vodka? We're having a kernel panic here…

oudemia (#177)

There are some lovely $10 rosés. Also, admire your eyebrows — in fact, I have your eyebrows, if Nature has its way.

KenWheaton (#401)

An Old Fashioned would never treat you like that.

Jeff Barea (#4,298)

Whens the next fake old author whose book I barely remember show up?

Yes, you are lucky to live in the Internat age to have the next greatest author who will still did an not be remembered yall at you.

Jeff Barea (#4,298)

How hard is to write died dude?

Jeff Barea (#4,298)

You are totally sucking at typing. AH HA HA HA HA HAAAAA

Mar (#2,357)

*call me.

HiredGoons (#603)

I live for this.

skahammer (#587)

That's it, clearly I need to start drinking. If it can make total dirtbags charming to the ladies, I can only imagine what it would do for me.

What beverages should I start with? How about gin? I've always thought I would enjoy gin.

HiredGoons (#603)

Hendricks; there is only Hendricks Gin.

There is also Plymouth.
Plymouth does when Hendricks cannot.
This is fact. Live it.

Jeff Barea (#4,298)

When did I say this website could go to sleep?

saythatscool (#101)

It's just you and me, Jeff. Everyone else went to bed. Want to play some tether ball?

carpetblogger (#306)

I'm here too! I have cards….

DainCurst (#3,377)

I just got home from work. And work says it's watermelon 'martini' season and no one's boyfriends likes them.

Bridget Callahan (#5,234)

You should never ever date a guy who gets drunk in a Superman t-shirt. Guys who like superman are dicks.

HiredGoons (#603)

I can personally attest that guys who like Batman are intelligent, sweet, and considerate.

skahammer (#587)

I believe it's actually your Batman undies — and your insistence that everyone admire them — which actually puts people off. Or so I've heard.

ProfessorBen (#1,254)

this made me giggle: a nice way to bounce up after the story…..thanks ska! (et al)

PS I like a spidey-man

jolie (#16)

Batpeople are far superior to Supermanpeople. This is fact and we'll not debate it.

Clip Arthur (#2,024)

You have to take it a step further, Bridget. The world of comic book heros guys like can be divided into two camps: Marvel men and DC guys. You see, Marvel comics have heros based in the real world and real lives; at least by superhero powers. DC is filled with caped a-holes who just are able to do things and are fairly flawless.

I'm sure we could debate specifics, but Iron Man (Marvel) & Batman (DC) are both rich kids who inherited their wealth, but Iron Man has more of a real world edge than Batman. Tony Stark at least could relate to booze and had problems dealing with it. What's Batman's problems/vices? Nadda.

Spider-Man is an orphan kid who studied science, lives in Queens and gets into hi-jinx. What's a good DC analogue to him? Nobody.

Which is all to say, I need to cut this convo short and will say that anyone proudly wearing any super-hero gear past the age of 25 can be considered retarded.

Also, Negronis are great. The only drink I can nurse since the taste is so bitter. Too bad this piece has to mix up a jerk with a great drink. Oh well!

Dave Bry (#422)

More more more more of these.

Jeff Barea (#4,298)

And where are my freaking comments? No, I do not want to have to click a bunch of places to find all of them. I want them in one place so I know what I did when I blacked out.

Someone tell Bernie Goldberg to tell that git Not Foster to tell Foster to tell Brian I think he's cute and do it freaking quietly cuz I still wanna hook up with Dr. Disaster.

Jeff Barea (#4,298)

LULZ. Not Foster or iPhone is pissed at me… HA HA HA H AH HAAAA

Jeff Barea (#4,298)

I should start a service called hotmail or gmail or imail and evade their useless attempts at trying traffic control or something rich people are still stupid enough to think they control…

roboloki (#1,724)

^^guilty pleasure

Chip Hitler (#5,615)

This really disturbed me-and for bizarre, quasi-masochistic reasons that I don't even fully understand. It just seemed to hit that awful place where breathless romantic ambition and abysmal sadness converge. I suppose that it'd be easy to dismiss it as the bitter memoir of a stupid thirty-something who cast her pearls at swine while dismissing "clearly better" suitors like, of course, me. But in a world increasingly informed by pop-psychology palaver from Today Show shitheads telling you how uncool it is to be bitter, it's refreshing to see someone tell the truth: Yes, she's bitter. Yes, it's a pathetic story. Yes, it hurts like hell. And no, she didn't save any face. And really, so fucking what? Bitterness is the natural residue of unrealized hopes. And contrary to our ostensible move-on ethos, bitterness is what often remains after 30-and not for the unfortunate few like this woman but for most of us. Most.

kjohns (#14,697)

One reason for our fascination with reading something like this is the 'train wreck' phenomenon. We don't want anyone to be hurt really, but we just can't help but stare at the bloody gory mess of it all. Almost every one of us has at least one 'train wreck' relationship in our lives that we are not particularly proud of. Mine was a 17 year abusive marriage, in which I was the one being abused (Yes, it really is true that some wives physically abuse their husbands!) Anyway, reading about someone else's bad relationship makes us feel that we are not alone in our pain and stupidity. And for all that crud about confession being good for the soul, given how long it has been since a new chapter in this tale has been posted, I guess reliving it proved too painful an experience for the authoress.
By the way, Negroni's sound simply dreadful, I think I shall stick to my favorite mixed drink, a Singapore Sling.

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