Sausalito, Aug. 5

I suppose it’s generally considered a bad thing when the hostess of the bar leaves for a break only to return and chirp, “Oh wow! You guys are still here!” with the genuine enthusiasm reserved for youth.

Does she know she’s being insulting and condescending? At this point in our lives, J and N (both men) and I aren’t deterred, but, in fact, take it as a point of pride that we know how to properly wile away an afternoon day-drinking. Having the freedom to do so. The luxury. It’s rare these days to find those with whom to share such proclivities what with kids and jobs and travel and responsibilities and the like.

And yet, the hostess’ comment makes me wonder about my own drinking habits as a woman and those I’ve encountered recently in books and TV. It makes me wonder about the casual alcoholism of women in general, seemingly “normalized” and ingrained into our modern identities.

The pouring of vodka into water bottles in Sharp Objects as Camille roves the streets of her hometown, Wind Gap, accosted at every turn by her traumas, literally carved into her skin.

The pounding of caffeine, bottles, and pills by the nameless narrator in My Year of Rest and Relaxation, drugging herself into a near perpetual state of unconsciousness in hopes of avoiding the inevitable: reality.

These women are aggressively grasping at something else to guide them out and away. And it’s their choice. They’re choosing to destroy themselves in the process and who’s to stop them? Who’s to stop me?

Is this the turn that modern feminism has taken?

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