Are Men Afraid of Wine?

Tom Wark’s blog post today — Great Wine Literature…Or Not — reminded me that I’ve written a bit about wine in my thrillers as well (Good airplane reading, but hardly literature).

One of the very cool things about writing novels is the creation of people … offering them a life, background, emotions, hopes, fears and talents. Create a bunch of these people, then throw them into one situation after another and see how they react, change.

By the middle of a book, they begin to behave in ways I never imagined when I started. Just like real people, every contact with others and the environment changes them. Some doors open, others close. At a certain point, they must react in a given way or they lose their credibility.

Thus, in the following scene from Daughter of God (which was plagiarized by The Da Vinci Code), two women — one who is an expert in art and the other, an archaeologist — drink wine and wonder why it is that men seem to be afraid of its sensuous characteristics and must, rate it, rank it and analyze it to death.

Enjoy the scene.


Copyright 1999, Lewis Perdue,  all rights reserved.

Thalia closed her eyes and rolled the wine about in her mouth for an instant before swallowing. When she opened her eyes, she said: “One of the oddest things I ran into when I lived I New York City was the way Americans – especially some of the men – took all the fun out of drinking wine.”

Zoe tilted her head. “Odd? How?”

“I think they’re afraid of it,” Thalia said. “They have a problem with the sensuality of wine…sexuality if you will.” She swirled her glass and looked at the deep ruby liquid for a moment.

“They want to think about wine, not feel it. The feeling is the part that scares them to death so they de-sensualize wine by quantifying it: they score it with numbers, dissect it into acid and sugar components; they write endlessly about the winemaker, the weather, the inches of rainfall the vineyard got.

“They want to collect it, not just drink it. They have self-anointed priests and holy men — sommeliers, collectors and wine geeks — who speak a jargon that excludes the uninitiated.

“They have dogmas about which wines are good, which are not, which ones to drink with which food, which glasses to use – their fucking rituals put any established religion to shame. They have books and magazines that are like holy scripture that they all memorize.

“They worship the concept of the wine rather than the experience of drinking it – yadda, yadda.” She waved her free hand dismissively.

“They’re all like a bunch of Moonie cult drones. Problem is they get so wrapped up in all this left-brain, bean-counter bullshit that they never actually experience the sensuality, they never just let themselves feel the pleasure.

“What’s more, I think they do this on purpose,” Thalia continued. “They’re afraid of what they can’t quantify because quantification means control. I think this is what was at work in religion too. The fear of sensations, this abject terror over things you feel as opposed to those you can is why male-dominated religions evicted the Great Goddess — she was sensual, sexual.

“The guys needed to cut God down to size just as they do with wine. They had to make God into one gender – male — then anthropomorph him into an old white-haired geezer they could manipulate with rituals and sacrifice.

“Then they broke him down into his component parts, described the parts in nauseating scriptural detail written in words designed to be incomprehensible. Then they locked him away in a mystery where he’s only accessible to a privileged priesthood.”

Thalia paused to take a quick sip of her wine .

“You get all of this theology out of how guys don’t really enjoy wine?” Zoe asked in amazement.

Thalia shrugged. “It’s about experiencing the indescribable, about feeling rather than thinking and in that sense, wine and the Creator of our universe are a lot alike. They are both sensual and they both must be felt, experienced rather than understood or analyzed to death.

“Logic built Western Civilization, but logic cannot properly comprehend the infinite or the sensual. The Goddess was about creation – the world, life. Procreation is sexual and from the earliest days it has been a woman’s function, something men felt they had no control over. This was a problem. They needed to exert control and since they couldn’t really control their own urges, they decided to control the object of the urge.

“Most sex laws control the behavior of women and not men. Men transgress with a wink and a nod; women get pilloried, shunned or burned at the stake.

Over the ages, the male-centric religious spin doctors couldn’t handle the incomprehensibly sensual nature of the Great Goddess Creator, so they gradually marginalized her into a local fertility deity and turned sex from a pleasurable, spiritual experience into a dirty little act. It was about the only way their big heads could exercise any control over their little heads.”

“Quite a theory,” Zoe shook her head and then took another sip of the wine.

“Yeah, well I’ve had a few years to formulate my unified theory of putzes,” Thalia said. “But that’s not why I broke into the wine cellar. I want to hear about your forger friend.”

“Talk about a putz,” Zoe said.

“Too bad,” Thalia said sympathetically.

“No. Extremely good, actually.” Zoe smiled mischievously. She set down her wine glass and held her hands out like someone describing the fish that got away. “A putz about this big.”

Thalia laughed so hard she spilled wine on her dress. She wiped at the spill and when she caught her breath, said: “C’mon, seriously. Tell me.”

Zoe picked up her glass and after a sip of wine, continued.

Read the whole book on your Kindle: Daughter of God.

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