Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Proverbial glass ceiling, still? Really?!

Ok, I’m going to rant, but just this once I promise. As a result of yet another local liquor store employee acting like a kumquat, the purpose of this particular blog is to inform some (not all, just SOME!) of the males in the whisky world: You should not assume all women know little to nothing about whisky!  

I am positive the majority of men out there who love whisky have rarely been talked down to, dismissed or ignored like some women tend to be.  

There is nothing more insulting to me then listening to an employee of the local liquor store commission, or a product representative (YES a rep!) mispronounce the names of the bottles they are trying to impress me with (my favourite to this day:  Ocean-tock-uns). Cutting me off, overriding my enquiries and recommending bottles they think I would surely enjoy, instead of the ones I asked about?? You can't even pronounce Ledaig and you think it will be too "peated" for a woman, hunh?! 

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Oh and thank you to Mr. Dumbass bartender who put ice in the glass even after I said, on the side.  His reason: It was going to be much too strong for a little lady such as myself. Insulted, was he, that I returned it and asked for it neat a 2nd time...

Unfortunately, some of us are no stranger to these types of behaviors. It’s like trying to speak to a used car salesman: “Well looky here sweetie, it’s got a nice makeup mirror and plenty of space to put all your shopping bags darlin’!”  Sweetie?  Make up? Darlin’?  Seriously!?  My reply:  “Ok, Mr. Salesman, why don’t you tell me when was the last time it had a 30 point inspection? How are the axles and U joints on this thing. This particular model usually has issues with the transmission breaking down, what can you tell me about it?” That usually leaves them a bit red faced and staring at me blankly.  

Dear, dear gentlemen of the whisky loving world, a bit of advice: If you are at a whisky event and a gorgeous woman starts talking to you, take a moment and gage how much she knows before you go into “bravado and peacock mode”. Why not grant the benefit of doubt at least and realize that just because she has boobs (please don't speak to them as they don't have ears), high heels and a lovely dress on that she is NOT at this event for you pounce on her or because she was hired to look pretty and pour the drams?

Does every man do this? No thank goodness it is only a really small handful! However knowing full well the whisky world is still very much an old boys club in some circles, it still remains a complete mystery to me and a point of contention at times that women are so easily undermined simply because of our gender. 

So if you happen to see me politely smiling back at a man speaking to my boobs during one of these functions, know that I am fantasizing about a different place to put that nosing glass he is holding, but then again that would be wasting a perfectly good whisky, wouldn't it!

Gentlemen, keep this in mind if ever you get to meet me: I am an equal, I love whisky and I would ask for the same respect you warrant when you walk into a room. I am not a kumquat and neither are the majority of women who imbibe the lovely liquid we are all passionate about!

On the whisky trail, somewhere with boobs, in my high heels and pretty dress…



  1. Hear, hear, Johanne! I wish this didn't have to be said as often as it is, but unfortunately some male whisky drinkers haven't had the pleasure of meeting and drinking with like-minded women. And even some women—non-whisky drinkers—hold the same mistaken beliefs about whisky-drinking ladies. I was pouring Brenne this weekend and a group of three, two men and woman, came to taste. The woman's first comment was, "This is a whisky for girls," while the men were clearly enjoying it without comment. I couldn't call her out then and there but I would have liked to ask her what exactly she meant by "whisky for girls." That it has "feminine" characteristics? That the packaging is pretty? That only women could enjoy the drink, for some reason? And that, therefore, women couldn't enjoy something with a radically different flavor profile, like a heavily peated Scotch? These are the misconceptions that drive me mad and make me feel a bit defensive at times.

    1. Could not have said it better myself... It is hard sometimes not to get defensive, and in my experience that leads to "other" labels... ;)

  2. I haven't gotten the condescension but I've definitely gotten the stupidity. I recently asked about a Springbank at our "Specialty" whisky shop in downtown Halifax and I was asked if I meant Springbanks. No, I said, just Springbank, just Springbank.