Shirley Temples are a sentimental drink for me. I apparently downed eight of them as the flower girl at my Uncle Pat’s wedding in 1998. Feeling the power of my flower-girl status (and the sugar, let’s be real here), I twirled at the reception in my off-white dress, my 5-year-old frame nearly engulfed by tulle and chiffon.
“Why does the bow go in the back?” I badgered my mother throughout the event. “It’s a pretty bow, and I want to see it!” Fashion still befuddles me, for the record.
I was the expert Shirley Temple mixologist at my youngest sister’s birthday party one year. Never am I more hungry with power than when pouring grenadine into the fancy, special-occasion-only goblets.
That beloved, syrupy drink returned to the forefront this week, though I wasn’t raging like 5-year-old Taylor. “You’re going to go to this happy hour, you’re going to order a Shirley Temple and you’re going to meet some lovely people.” In the spirit of recovering from an ongoing illness, I’m taking some time off drinking. I’m studying for the LSAT. I’m training for my second half marathon. I’m listening to my body.
I went to the happy hour, skipped the more conspicuous pop option and went straight for a time-honored Shirley Temple. I met some lovely people, had lovely conversations and no one asked me why I didn’t have a beer in my hand (but I do miss beer).
It was one of those, “Quit worrying that other people are watching. They’re not. And even if they were, who the hell cares?” moments. All it took was a little happy-hour reluctance to remind me that alcohol isn’t synonymous with good conversation, I can drink whatever I want and I don’t owe anyone an explanation or anything else.
It’s Friday night, and I’m off to a happy hour with my friends. I’ll skip my usual Manhattan for a Shirley Temple. At least there’s still a cherry on top.