Michael Jackson has a story of seduction, and a moral for all would-be seducers
The first year we shared bed and board, I greeted my girlfriend on Valentine’s morning with a glass of Champagne, scrambled eggs and smoked salmon. We raised a toast with the Taittinger, she enjoyed the eggs and loved the salmon, but none of it had quite the effect for which I had hoped. She stroked our cat (who was actually after the salmon), rather than me.In the year that followed, I came to realise that she would have preferred a cup of tea: a blend of malty Darjeeling with just a touch of fragrant, smoky, Lapsang. The good thing about women with red hair and green eyes – and therefore a suspicion of Irish blood – is that they are genetically predisposed toward malt. ‘The greatest drink in the world,’ she will purr, as though the notion had just come to her. At the time, she may be fondling a cup of rosie, a pint of Guinness, or a glass of usquebaugh. I take this as a teasing blend of eclecticism (in the choice of drink) and constancy (toward maltiness).As I grew to know her better (though I shall never wholly understand her), I realized that the seduction had better start the previous evening. A glass of Champagne before dinner would be welcome, though better served as a Black Velvet, with a dozen oysters. The clincher was the post-prandial malt.I have never believed that wine and brandy were somehow more feminine than beer and whisky. Why on earth should that be so? The restraint on beer is sometimes argued as a physical fact – women are too small to accommodate pints – but even the most slender of my female friends can do justice to an Imperial measure. Some argue that the fruity flavours of the sensuous grape are more feminine than the nutty notes of malted grain. I was once seduced by that thought, but she was not.‘How about a lemon-grassy Lowlander, a Bladnoch, perhaps?’ I ventured in those early days. Had Bladnoch been available in Burn’s days and nights, the lyrical Lowlander would surely have put it to sinful use, but it did not work for me (or for her, to be anatomically precise).While the Bladnoch was more than acceptable, it clearly did not hit the G-spot. Ah, yes, the G-spot. ‘A flowery Glenlivet?’ The Glens were most happily roamed, but with no Tom Jonesian finale. ‘A honeyed Balvenie?’ As nostalgically Scottish as Rupert Brooke was English. She murmured something about tea...Against my better judgement, I was trying to indulge a stereotype of feminine tastes. It was when we got to the lavender-ish Bowmore that her interest perked. In the words of Barbra Streisand, singing Fanny Bryce: ‘Try that once a little higher, dear.’ I applied a little Laphroaig, Then a lot of Lagavulin. Finally, the foreplay had to end. She begged for Ardbeg. I should have known all along. Wasn’t it Dorothy Parker who said: ‘Whisky makes me frisky’?
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