23 Feb 2011

The 2nd Bottle of Wine Argument

J Lohr Cabernet Sauvignon:
at 14% a good contender for the
2nd Bottle of Wine Argument
You’ve shared and enjoyed a good bottle of wine and you don’t really need any more to drink but...  hey, you're feeling good, relaxed, you could sit here all night chatting, so why not order or open another?

It’s usually half way through the second bottle that the accumulative effect of the alcohol makes one of you brave, rash or stupid enough to bring up something that would better be discussed in a more sober condition. A straightening of the spine, a narrowing of the eyes… if you listened carefully you’d probably hear knives sharpening themselves close by.  But you’re both blind and deaf to the signs of danger and you charge ahead.


NOT the 2nd Bottle of Wine Argument...
just the 2nd bottle of wine
Of course, the second bottle of wine isn’t always guaranteed to invoke an argument, but I have met a lot of couples who identify with it. My own most volatile experience of the phenomenon, which was compounded by a particularly dodgy moussaka (bad food always makes me grumpy), took place at an open-air restaurant in Heraklion, Crete and peaked when Tony said, ‘That's not an opinion!’ and I stood up, hurled the napkin holder across the table at him, and stormed off into the dark streets hoping I could remember where the hotel was. I did.

And, breathe…

I suppose all that's necessary is a moment of reflection  as one of you  pops the second cork. You could remind yourselves, silently, to keep the conversation light, and consider avoiding the following topics. But in my experience true clarity is a rare thing at the end of a first bottle, and it seems that once you enter ‘the valley of death’ there’s nothing you can do except to keep on riding until one of you falls off your horse.


Things to Steer Clear Of:
  • criticising the other one’s children
  • any comments or suggestions that the other one’s family members might be irresponsible, selfish or immature
  • any self-improvement tips
  • starting a sentence with 'It's probably not the best time to say this but...'
  • telling a woman not to get emotional
  • telling a man, ‘look who’s getting emotional now’
I could go on… but perhaps someone else can carry on with the list?


Writing Prompts
  1. Write about a time you said something then wished you could take it back.
  2. Write about a family argument.
  3. Free write starting with the phrase You were wrong about…